Home > Postal Service Has a History of Seeking Five-Day Delivery


Postal Service Has a History of Seeking Five-Day Delivery to Cure Financial Woes
PostalMag.com, 6/25/2010
According to documents obtained by PostalMag.com, the USPS has a history of attempts to discontinue Saturday mail service to reduce postal costs. For example, a 1977 special study commission recommended a discontinuance of Saturday mail service that would have saved the Postal Service $412 million annually.
1968 Senate Hearings (PDF)
1968 Senate Hearings Part 2 (PDF)
1976 House Hearings, May (PDF)
1977 House Report (PDF)
1977 House Hearings, April-May (PDF)
1977 Senate Hearings, May-June (PDF)
1977 House Hearings, March-May (PDF)
1977 House Hearings, November (PDF)
1980 Report (PDF)
1980 Senate Hearings (PDF)
My Five-Day Experience, by Postal Pete

By Pete Countryman, Sectional Center Facility, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, 30 yrs USPS/APWU, 6/27/2010

On the day I was born June 12, 1957:

"Postmaster General Summerfield today outlined for Congress a series of cuts in postal service which he plans to put into effect July 1 if his department is not given more money ... The list, submitted at a closed meeting, was reported to include: Elimination of Saturday mail deliveries ... (and) closing of 2,000 small fourth-class post offices."

When I was almost five years old :

Feb 19 1962

The Kennedy administration has studied the discontinuance of Saturday mail delivery but fears any publicity might adversely affect its proposals for raising mail raise, Postmaster General J. Edward Day has told Congress ...
(Day) said the (post office) department estimated it could save $100 million a year by ending Saturday mail delivery.

When I was eighteen:

Nov 24 1975

With the United States Postal Service losing more that $250,000 an hour, Postmaster General Benjamin F. Bailar is considering further economic moves such as discontinuing Saturday mail deliveries .... The Postal Service ... ran up a $1.5 billion debt as of last July.

The year I took the postal exam:

March 29 1977

"The Commission on Postal Service ... voted 5 to 2 to recommend elimination of Saturday delivery, a step that would save $400 million a year ... Elimination of Saturday delivery is likely to be unpopular on Capitol Hill. Numerous legislators denounced the idea when the service said it was being considered a year ago."

and so it continued throughout my postal career:

Feb 7 1981

Saturday mail deliveries, Amtrak train service and urban programs, survivors of last year's spending cuts, face a new threat from President Reagan's budget ax, according to internal administration documents obtained Friday ... (The documents say), "The possible reduction of service to five-day delivery is a symbol of the seriousness of the fiscal austerity being imposed by reductions throughout the federal government.

December 15, 1987:

The Postal Service lost $223 million in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 ... Possible major effects ... include ... Seeking congressional permission to eliminate delivery on Saturdays ... closing 10,000 to 12,000 small post offices, primarily in rural areas.

October 16, 1992:

Postmaster General Marvin Runyon said Thursday that he backs continuing Saturday deliveries but wonders whether home delivery could be cut from six to four days a week...

His suggestion was to eliminate Tuesday and Thursday mail for home deliveries, keeping deliveries on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Business deliveries would remain six days a week.

April 9, 2001:

The U.S. Postal Service is thinking about ending Saturday deliveries -- and shutting down post offices in rural and remote areas, and raising the price of stamps even more ... because it finds itself in almost exactly the position the railroads were in after commercial jet travel became commonplace...

Something quicker came along: regularly scheduled jets. We said we loved the railroads -- but we headed to the airports. We gave the railroads our hearts, but not our money... This country will feel different -- diminished -- without Saturday mail.

But the country already feels different. Fax machines, privately owned overnight delivery services, and -- most significantly -- the huge growth in e-mail have transformed the way that we write to each other.

December 31 , 2008:

After thirty years of service I take the early out and talk of five day delivery resurfaces.


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