The U.S. Postal Service announced plans to stop the delivery of Saturday first-class mail starting Aug. 1.
USPS will, however, continue delivering packages on Saturday, and post offices will remain open to distribute mail and sell shipping supplies. In addition, smaller-sized branches may operate at reduced Saturday hours.
According to USPS, eliminating Saturday first-class mail delivery will save the company $2 billion. With the rise of the Internet and online communication and commerce, USPS has faced financial instability in recent years. The company lost $15.9 billion in the past fiscal year and seeks viable solutions to counter its losses.
Research by the USPS and large-scale news organizations shows approximately 7 out of 10 Americans support the new mail delivery schedule as a way to alleviate the USPS’s dire financial situation.
USPS announced the plan without Congressional approval, prompting lawmakers to question its success. Congress has turned down previous attempts to do away with Saturday mail delivery.
Postal worker unions and lawmakers have proven to be against changes to the USPS system and may oppose the proposition.
USPS senior public relations representative Darleen Reid-deMeo said the company began testing this theory in 2009.
“We’ve looked at it operationally; we’ve talked to customers and large mailers,” Reid-deMeo said. “We know how much it costs to actually make the deliveries and we feel it’s the right thing to do to save money and to streamline our operation.”
Reid-deMeio said the cuts will affect around 25,000 jobs. She said this doesn’t necessarily mean that carriers will directly lose the jobs, but structure will change and people may choose to leave because they oppose the new system.
Reid-deMeio said more than 50 percent of employees are at or older than the retirement age.
USPS is alerting postal customers about the changes in advance so they can prepare for schedule adjustments.
“We announced this now that it will happen six months from now because we are going to be working with our employees, working with our mailers. We’re going to be reaching out to the costumers to try to help them adjust to the change,” Reid-deMeio said. “…We’re at the point now where this is just the first step in a series of actions we will have to take.”
Nursing sophomore Gilanne Del Rosario, is directly affected by the plan. Because Del Rosario’s father is a mail carrier, her family will feel the burden personally.
“It’s money that my family could use, hours that he will get cut and it’s just an inconvenience, especially when it comes to the holiday season when everyone is sending presents,” said Del Rosario. “I think it’s happening because so many things are available online and a lot of online companies use UPS instead of USPS, so it’s just not in demand right now.”
Several other SDSU students interviewed said the cuts will have no major impact on their daily lives because they primarily use email.