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Entries in U.S. Postal Service (24)

Wednesday
Feb062013

USPS to Cut Mail Delivery on Saturdays

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays, but will continue to deliver packages six days a week.

While post offices that open on Saturdays will continue to do so, the initiative, which is expected to begin the first week of August, will save an estimated $2 billion a year.

The service reduction is the latest of Postal Service steps to cut costs as the independent agency of the U.S. government struggles with its finances.

The USPS announced in May it was cutting back on the number of operating hours instead of shuttering 3,700 rural post offices.  The move, which reduced hours of operation at 13,000 rural post offices from an eight-hour day to between two and six hours a day, was made with the aim of saving about $500 million per year.

The cutback in hours last year resulted in 9,000 full-time postal employees being reduced to part time plus the loss of their benefits, while another 4,000 full-time employees became part time but kept their benefits.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug222012

Over Production of Commemorative Stamps Costs USPS $2M a Year

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The United States Postal Service is on track to lose $15 million this year and one reason is bad planning.

The USPS bet big that a stamp commemorating the TV show The Simpsons would be a mega seller.  The agency ordered one billion Simpsons stamps, but only managed to sell 318 million of them during 2009 and 2010.  That left a surplus of 682 million stamps at a cost of $1.2 million.

Similarly, the Postal Service ordered 500 million "Flags of our Nation" stamps, but only sold 120 million of them during 2010 and 2011.  That led to a waste of 380 million stamps and $716,000.

If the USPS were to cut back on the over production of such commemorative and special issue stamps, it could save roughly $2 million a year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Senate to Vote on Postal Service Reform Bill?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For months, the Senate has attempted to pass a reform bill that would help the nation's ailing postal service.  And now, it looks like Tuesday could be the day lawmakers move forward with the legislation.

The U.S. Postal Service sorely needs help -- it's $12 billion in debt and faces the potential to run out of money as soon as the fall, agency officials have said.  The agency has had a 21 percent drop in mail over the last five years, faced with declining volume due to changing technology like email and bill payments online that has meant new challenges.

The Postmaster General has agreed to delay necessary closings of the anticipated 3,600 post offices nationwide until May 15 in order to give Congress the opportunity to help with legislation.  With that deadline less than a month away, the changes Congress make will change the face of the USPS and will directly impact how customers get their mail and how much they pay to send snail mail.

The bill up for consideration in the Senate, by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-ME., is a major but measured piece of legislation.

It preserves overnight delivery and importantly maintains a six-day delivery for mail, widely seen by some as one of the simplest reforms to save the postal service.  The bill requires two more years of studies to determine whether to switch to five-day delivery would be viable.  It would help the institution modernize to meet the technological challenges they have been facing by calling for the appointment of a “chief innovation officer” to find new ways to bring in postal revenue.

The bill would cut in half the number of mail processing centers the USPS currently wants to close -- from 252 to 125.

The bill would also slow, if not stop, many post office closings by forcing the agency to consider the special needs of rural communities and undergo additional layers of regulatory approval.  For instance, the Postal Service might have to downsize rather than close facilities, or factor in whether rural residents might have poor Internet service or have to travel longer road distances should a post office close.

In the meantime, the Postal Service would get a cash infusion of roughly $11 billion, basically a refund of overpayments it made in previous years to a federal retirement fund.  The agency could use the money to pay down debt and offer buyouts to 100,000 postal employees.

On Tuesday, the Senate will vote on a slew of amendments, including one that would limit government conference spending and calls for more transparency for conference spending.  Aides believe that the final vote on the post office bill could come as early as Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is pursuing their own legislation, as well.  The House committee on Oversight and Government Reform is currently crafting its own bill.  The GOP’s edition would block no-layoff clauses in labor agreements, and create an appointed commission to help the USPS scale back costs and move towards a five-day delivery week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr182012

Congress Unsure Whether to Toss Last Lifeline to Postal Service

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Capitol Hill lawmakers only have a few weeks to decide whether to save the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service.

Judging by some comments made Tuesday, the prospects don't look good for the post office as we know it.

There is talk about an $11 billion cash infusion so that the USPS could delay the close of processing centers and underperforming post offices, as well holding off suspending Saturday delivery.

In turn, the USPS would offer buyouts to 100,000 long-time employees, reduce various perks, including future retiree health benefits and raise the price of first-class postage to 50 cents.

Congress has until May 15 to make its decision, the deadline Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe gave before he starts mass closings and a possible end to six-day delivery service.

Sen. John McCain sounded like he was all ready to pull the plug during Tuesday's hearings.

The Arizona Republican said, "Instead of doing as some did when the Pony Express was replaced by the railroads and try to prop up a failing industry, let's find a graceful exit."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr172012

IRS Tax Day 2012: A Lonelier Post Office

Where did all the people go? This post office in NYC used to be packed with last minute filers on tax day. Not so much any more. ABC News(NEW YORK) -- For the United States Postal Service, tax deadline day is hardly as fun as it used to be.

“In the old days it was tax night parties and people standing outside grabbing the mail as you drive by,” said Connie Chirichello, a spokeswoman for USPS in New York.  “Things have totally changed.”

They’ve changed because most taxpayers are filing online.  For the week of April 6, the most recent for which data is available, 87 percent of taxes filed were done so electronically.

It means fewer of the financially strapped post offices around the country have the customers or the resources to stay open until midnight to accommodate procrastinators.

In California, for example, the Postal Service says there are 22 post offices with extended hours, about a quarter of the number open late in the past.

“[Taxpayers] were going to the post office to mail their return at 11:30 at night and over the last 15 years it has changed,” said Chirichello.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr132012

Half of US Mail Facilities No Longer Needed, Study Says

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new study on the United States Postal Service shows the mail network is having a hard time keeping up with slimming down as more people turn to texting and email.

Released by the Government Accountability Office, the April study highlights the amount of excess in the mail system.

For example, the GAO says the Postal Service has 461 processing centers, but 223 of those centers are no longer needed.

It operates 8,000 mail processing machines, but the amount of mail has dwindled so much that they no longer need 3,000 of those machines.

Of the 154,000 postal employees, up to 35,000 could be let go because there is not enough mail for them to handle, the study concluded.

This excess is a result of the decline in areas such as First-Class mail volume and automation improvements in mail sorting.

The USPS has saved $2.4 billion since 2006 after starting their initiative to eliminate excess facilities and operations.  However, in the same year the gap between USPS expenses and revenues has grown.  It was predicted in February that net losses will reach $21 billion by 2016 despite actions to reduce excess cost.

The December 2011 proposal by the USPS to change overnight delivery service and move to a five day delivery schedule is currently being reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission.  The USPS hopes to save $22.5 billion by 2016 if the proposal is approved.

The report stated the USPS had no comment on the findings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb242012

US Postal Service to Consolidate 200+ Processing Centers

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After completing a five-month review of 264 mail processing centers, the U.S. Postal Service announced on Thursday it will move forward with plans to close the majority of them later this year.

The agency, facing financial losses of up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, said 223 facilities will be consolidated all or in part, while six will be put on hold for further evaluation.  Thirty-five others will remain open for the time being.

[CLICK HERE TO SEE WHICH FACILITIES ARE SLATED FOR CONSOLIDATION]

The consolidations are expected to occur sometime after May 15 and will cut approximately 35,000 positions, according to the USPS.

"These changes are a necessary part of a larger comprehensive plan developed by the Postal Service to reduce operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 and return the organization to profitability," the agency said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan232012

US Postal Service Ups Rates of First-Class Letters and More

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an effort to stay afloat, the United States Postal Service raised rates on Sunday for the first time since 2009.

As of now, it costs a penny more -- 45 cents -- to send a first-class letter and three cents more -- 32 cents -- to send a postcard.  Charges for letters sent to international destinations are also higher, costing either five or seven cents more depending on where they're being delivered.

[CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RATE CHANGES]


Of course, these price increases alone won't be enough to save the USPS from possibly going belly-up by this summer.  There are plans in the works to close thousands of post offices and hundreds of processing centers, which will affect tens of thousands of jobs.  The end of Saturday deliveries is also a possibility.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec142011

USPS to Hold Off on Post Office Closings Until May

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With massive layoffs and closings looming, the United States Postal Service has given itself a reprieve.

The USPS was prepared to shutter 250 mail processing plants that would have resulted in 28,000 layoffs beginning at the start of next year but with the clock ticking fast, the agency said it would hold off on any action until May 15.

This moratorium would presumably give Congressional lawmakers more time to find ways of reforming the post office so that first-class mail and Saturday deliveries would not be affected.

Still, with the USPS losing billions every year, agency officials say Washington's plans have to be bold and decisive.  Up to now, that hasn't been the case.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, who is leading the effort to save the post office, challenged his fellow lawmakers on Tuesday "to put up or shut up."

Durbin said, "If you don't like what the postal service has put forward (to cut costs) by closing processing facilities and post offices and eliminating jobs, then come up with a better approach.  It's a challenge we need to accept, and this agreement with the postal service gives us that opportunity."

Meanwhile, unions, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, praised the temporary reprieve and expressed hope that Congress would come up with a solution to the crisis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec052011

USPS Expected to Announce Cuts that Would Slow Service

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesUPDATE: The downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service will mean slower mail delivery starting in the spring.

“We have to do this; we have to make this change in order for the postal service to become financially viable,” said USPS vice president of operations David Williams, who added that more than 500 postal processing centers are being closed, and postal workers encouraged to take early retirement.

“We need to have 20,000 fewer employees,” Williams said.

The closures would mean that mail has to travel farther to be delivered so people would no longer be able to expect next-day delivery in nearby communities.

The postal service also plans to close thousands of lightly-used post offices.

Since 2006, Williams said, demand for postal service has dropped, leading to idle equipment, personnel and space.  He says those expenses are unsupported by customer demand.

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(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Postal Service is expected to announce Monday measures that would slow mail delivery for the first time in 40 years.

Slammed by email competition and buried by massive payments for health care and retirement benefits, The Washington Post reports that USPS officials plan to cut costs by closing approximately 250 of the postal service’s 460 mail processing facilities -- an estimated savings of $3 billion annually.

Come spring, forget next-day delivery; first-class mail will reportedly take two to five days to arrive, instead of the current one to three days. The delays would mean slower delivery for everything from paychecks to mail-order prescriptions and DVD rentals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio