Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe made the official announcement this morning that effective the week of August 5th, the Postal Service will change their delivery schedule to reduce delivery of letter, business mail and periodicals to a 5 day, Monday through Friday, schedule. They will however continue to deliver packages, mail-order medicine, and express mail on Saturday.
The move is meant to save the financially struggling, 237-year-old agency about $2 billion annually as it wrestles with the rising popularity of email and social media eating away at its core business of delivering mail. It’s also meant to counter the climbing costs of funding future retiree health benefits to its workers, as mandated by Congress, which oversees the independent agency of the government.
It remains unclear whether the USPS can unilaterally reduce service for first-class mail to five days from six days a week without congressional approval. Congress has resisted the idea, although it may be more open as it seeks to reduce spending. The Postmaster General seemed confident that Congress would agree to the move.
The change to five-day delivery is expected to save over 45 million work hours. This equates to about 22,500 postal jobs, but the agency will not resort to layoffs to make reductions. Instead, it could easily meet this by eliminating overtime, through attrition and by working with unions on buyouts.
The Post Office will still maintain its normal hours to accommodate customers.