UPDATE: Post Office to Cut Saturday Mail Delivery; Union Denounces Move

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 2/6/13 @ 6 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- News the U.S. Postal Service plans to cut Saturday delivery of first class mail isn't sitting well with some customers.

"They're the one person I'm guaranteed to see on a regular basis," said Carol Shannon, a senior citizen who has come to rely on the routine. "They're always nice to hear me because I don't have company that much. That way, I can see them."

Patrick Donahoe, the postmaster general and CEO, says the agency will continue to deliver packages, mail-order medicine and express mail on Saturdays.

However, letters, bills, cards and catalogs will be delivered only Mondays through Fridays.

"The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach," Donahoe said. "It reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mail habits.

The cost-cutting move is slated to save the cash-strapped agency more than $2 billion a year.

Reaction to the news in the Tri-State was mixed.

"Every thing's electronic," said Daniel Pemberton of Ona, W.Va. "For me and my wife, we don't really use it much. Every thing's paperless."

Helen Casey lives at a senior high-rise apartment and knows how many of her neighbors rely on that daily activity.

"I watch people down at the building sit and wait everyday for the mail," Casey said. "They look forward to it This would be a big loss."

The postmaster general says it's just a sign of the times.

"The finances dictate it," Donahoe said. "If we had the same volume mail we had many years ago before people paid bills online, we wouldn't even be worried about this. We wouldn't even worry about the retired health benefits, but things change."

UPDATE 2/6/13 @ 1 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of the letter carriers union says it's a "disastrous idea."

Fredric Rolando is reacting to the announcement that Saturday mail delivery will come to an end in August.

Under the plan -- aimed at saving up to $2 billion a year -- mail would go to homes and businesses from Monday through Friday. Packages would still be delivered on Saturday.

Rolando says the move will hurt "millions of customers" -- particularly businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery.

He also says it goes against the will of Congress as expressed over the past 30 years.

But the postmaster general, Patrick Donahoe, says research indicates that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs.

It's not clear how the service will be able to eliminate Saturday mail without congressional approval.

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages, and it unsuccessfully appealed to Congress to approve the move. The postal service gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations, but it is still subject to congressional control.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says it plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays, but continue delivering packages six days a week.

In an announcement scheduled for later Wednesday, the service is expected to say the cut, beginning in August, would mean a cost saving of about $2 billion annually.

The move accentuates one of the agency's strong points -- package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010. The delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet use.

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