March 20, 2009
U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today sent a letter to John E. Potter, the Postmaster General of the United States, urging him to consider the impact on small businesses of reducing the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) delivery week from six days to five. Snowe cited the potential negative consequences such an action could have on America’s roughly 27.2 million small businesses.
“America’s small businesses depend on reliable and consistent service from the USPS, and they could suffer significant setbacks by a shortened mail delivery week, such as lost sales, order backlogs, and job cuts,” said Senator Snowe. “While I understand the Postmaster General’s desire to reduce costs, it is imperative that his actions not have a detrimental effect on consumer spending or the small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy.”
Postmaster General Potter announced the possibility of shortening the USPS’s delivery week in late January, citing his agency’s potential $6 billion deficit this fiscal year and the difficult economic climate. The United States Postal Service, which is the nation’s second-largest employer, is the only mailing service that delivers to every address in the country.
The text of the letter is below:
Mr. John E. Potter
Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer
United States Postal Service
Dear Mr. Potter:
In light of your recent announcement that you are considering cutting postal delivery by one day per week, I am writing to request that you consider the potential harmful impact this action could have on America’s 27.2 million small businesses.
A six-day delivery week is essential to ensuring that our nation’s small businesses are able to reach their customers in an appropriate and well-timed manner. According to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) website, on average the USPS delivers to 9 million businesses each day your trucks are operating. As Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I am concerned that reducing your delivery week by one day may have devastating consequences for mail-order and internet-based businesses, newspapers, and the millions of small companies that utilize the USPS for timely mail delivery.
In my home state of Maine, thousands of businesses – large and small – depend on reliable and consistent service from the USPS. From retail clothing and outdoor specialist L.L. Bean to the dozens of Maine fishermen and lobstermen who ship fresh seafood across the world – and companies in between – Maine businesses simply must have access to a postal service that can deliver on a regular basis. These firms could all suffer significant setbacks by a shortened mail delivery week, from lost sales, to order backlogs, to job cuts.
While I understand your desire to slash costs and your overall concern given the tremendous economic crisis our country is facing, it is imperative that your actions not have a detrimental effect on consumer spending or the small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. I hope that you will keep me informed of your findings as you weigh the consequences a shortened mail week would have on our country’s small firms.