Postal service may cut hours, offices |

Postal service may cut hours, offices

Susan Wood

What neither sleet nor snow nor rain could stop, money might.

The U.S. Postal Service, battling slowing business and over $2 billion in projected losses this fiscal year, is exploring the possibility of ending some Saturday mail delivery and closing some offices, it announced Wednesday.

It’s too soon to tell which offices would meet the chopping block or whether the absence of weekend mail delivery would fly, Postal Service regional spokesman Peter Hass said from his Portland, Ore., office.

But the options represent an array of cutbacks the nation’s largest mail service is looking into, The Associated Press reported.

The Postal Service is putting together a study into the matter, so there are no specifics at this time.

Postmaster General William Henderson testified before the House Government Reform Committee to request changes to laws regulating post office operations. For example, it currently takes a year to alter rates.

Citing escalating labor costs, Hass thinks the unsubsidized entity should have the freedom to operate like a business without the imposed restrictions of a government agency.

It relinquished tax dollars 30 years ago, when it changed from the U.S. Postal Department to the Postal Service.

“That’s one thing the public is probably not aware of,” Twin Bridges Postmaster Alison Leonesio said.

To Leonesio, the crossroad represents a sign of the times.

“Right now we’re facing something every other business is facing. A lot of companies are going through this,” she said.

As for the elimination of Saturday delivery, the weekend day isn’t the rural office’s busiest. Mondays and Wednesdays are.

AP reports the American Postal Workers Union, which has 366,000 members nationwide, said it would vigorously oppose staff cutbacks to send the Postal Service into the black.

Leonesio is unsure what the public is willing to pay to send a letter first-class, but she’s almost certain the price of a stamp wouldn’t be the most pressing issue.

“We have never had complaints about the increases,” she said.

Customers do complain about the change, as they have to buy supplementary stamps to fulfill the postage requirement.

The price of a first-class stamp went up a penny to 34 cents in January. Postal managers plan to apply this summer for another rate increase to take effect next year, AP added.

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