WASHINGTON, DC — National Newspaper Association (NNA), a community newspaper organization of over 2,000 members, today filed its formal opposition to the United States Postal Service’s proposal to end Saturday mail delivery. NNA has intervened on behalf of its newspapers in a proceeding before the Postal Regulatory Commission, which will issue an advisory opinion later this year on ending Saturday mail.
The final decision on six-day mail delivery will be made by Congress, which has reaffirmed Saturday mail requirements annually for nearly 30 years.
The Postal Service has requested the PRC’s support for five-day mail service. In a petition to the Commission, it said the end of Saturday mail would mean:
•No street delivery of mail will occur on Saturdays;
•No mail pickups, including blue collection boxes, will occur on Saturdays;
•No weekend processing of mail in plants, except for Express Mail and some advertising mail will occur over the weekend;
•Post Offices will remain open; and
•Measurements of service performance will be reset to reflect the changes.
USPS said it expects to save $3.1 billion a year from the cutbacks. It is projected to lose over $7 billion in the current fiscal year.
“NNA is a long-time supporter of the Postal Service and it encourages its members to use the mail for delivery. We firmly believe that the solution to its financial woes will not be found in such an extreme cutback in service. We know that many small newspapers publishing Saturday issues will be deeply affected. We also believe the slowing of bill payments to small businesses will affect Main Street America at a critical time in our economy,” Kaechele said.
The Postal Service has underestimated the public’s concern about the change, Heath said.
“I know that USPS has persuaded itself that a lot of Americans believe Saturday delivery is dispensable,” Heath said. “To the extent that is true, it is not a good sign for the future of our nation’s universal service if people do not care whether the mail arrives. Fortunately, I believe the polls are misreading the public’s mood on this topic. As the old song said, ‘You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.’ This change will affect the delivery of medicines, home movies and timely bill payments. People who already are cutting into grace periods for credit card payments are going to see an impact on their credit scores. Moreover, the small businesses like our newspapers and their advertisers will see a new sluggishness in bills going out and checks coming in. That cannot possibly be good news in this economy.
“The needs of those who pay the bills, mailers, need more consideration. If mail volume declines more than projected, there is no way back.””
Heath said NNA firmly supported the Postal Service’s request for restructuring of some retirement fund expenses and believes a refund for overpayment into pension trust funds should be seriously examined.
“This change is more of a high stakes gamble, with a lower payoff, than experts can see so far,” he said. “It is impossible to accurately predict the unintended consequences that will flow from this move. Ending Saturday mail should not be considered until better alternatives have been exhausted.”