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U.S. Postal Service finalizes plan to slow some mail deliveries

Stock MarketsAug 06, 2021 11:40PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: United States Postal Service (USPS) workers load mail into delivery trucks outside a post office in Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S. August 22, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook 2/2

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on Friday finalized a plan effective Oct. 1 to slow down some first-class mail deliveries as part of efforts to cut red ink.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy proposed in March to revise existing one- to three-day service standards to one to five days for first-class mail. USPS said on Friday that 61% of first-class mail will remain at its current standard.

USPS said in a notice published in the Federal Register current standards require it "to rely heavily on air transportation, using air cargo transportation carriers and commercial passenger air carriers."

Delivery standards will be slower for about 7% of periodicals.

Airplanes, USPS added, are less reliable than surface transportation and costs much more because of "weather delays, network congestion, and air traffic control ground stops."

The "addition of one or two days to current service standards for first-class mail and periodicals would enable the Postal Service to convey a greater volume of mail within the contiguous United States by surface transportation," it said.

While acknowledging "some uncomfortable changes," DeJoy defended the plan earlier on Friday at a board of governors meeting, saying it makes a commitment to deliver to "every address in the nation, six days a week, and strives for financial sustainability."

USPS on Friday posted a $3 billion quarterly net loss, with a 1.1% rise in first-class mail deliveries to 12.1 billion pieces. But "volumes remain lower than pre-pandemic levels and we expect continued secular declines," it added.

For the minority of first-class mail affected by the slower delivery window "the standard would only change by one or two days (with most of such volume experiencing a one-day change)," USPS said.

USPS added it has been unable to achieve existing "service performance targets for many years, and that these service failures illustrate the weakness of the current transportation model."

In June, the attorneys general of 20 states asked the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission to reject plans to slow down some first-class deliveries, saying allowing that to happen could harm local governments' ability to fulfill essential functions.

DeJoy unveiled a plan in March to cut $160 billion in predicted losses over the next decade with the changes in service standards a key part.

USPS has struggled with poor delivery performance over the past year, facing a huge boost in packages and staffing issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. It said Thursday that through July it delivered 89% of first-class mail on time, up 1.5 percentage points.

Starting Aug. 29, USPS will raise prices of first-class postage stamps to 58 cents from 55 cents. Price hikes are needed because over the past decade, mail volume has declined by 46 billion pieces, or 28%, while single piece first-class mail declined 47%, USPS said.

Congress is considering a plan to provide USPS with $46 billion in financial relief over 10 years, including eliminating a requirement that USPS pre-fund retiree health benefits for 75 years.

The agency has reported net losses of about $90 billion since 2007. One reason is 2006 legislation mandating that it pre-fund more than $120 billion in retiree healthcare and pension liabilities, a requirement labor unions have called an unfair burden not shared by other businesses.

U.S. Postal Service finalizes plan to slow some mail deliveries
 

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Comments (12)
Michael Davis
Michael Davis Aug 08, 2021 10:35PM ET
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Most of the employees are on vacation leave, sick leave, family leave or holiday leave and make 70k a year.
Matt Brackley
Matt Brackley Aug 08, 2021 12:37PM ET
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more signs of an economy turning inwards and a push to reassign workers to the state.
Waldemar Gau
Waldemar Gau Aug 08, 2021 9:24AM ET
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WKHS to the moon
ZS Beck
ZS Beck Aug 06, 2021 11:06PM ET
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Time to close them down for good.What a waste of taxpayer money.They never make or made money.
Bob Albright
Bob Albright Aug 06, 2021 11:06PM ET
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The postal service does not use ANY taxpayer money
Poor Standards
PoorStandards Aug 06, 2021 11:06PM ET
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They aren't supported by tax payer dollars, and they aren't supposed to make a profit, just like the army isn't. Your complete confidence in your complete ignorance is why this nation's in trouble.
Elvis Durant
Elvis Durant Aug 06, 2021 10:48PM ET
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oh wait......Employment recovery was at a "FAST PACE" This morning.............🤦🏽🤦🏽🤦🏽🤦🏽🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣😈😈😈😈
jason black
jason black Aug 06, 2021 10:38PM ET
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Love the comment from resident leftist here Me Comment that shows the ignorance of the left "If US taxpayer money wasn't used for any mail deliveries your 1st class postage would be $2.45 for a standard one page letter., so don't complain."....so leftists argument is that if we do not pay billions in taxpayer money we would have to pay $2.45 to mail a letter? That is a deal that I would love to take. Most people do not mail many letters. You are basically subsidizing cheap junk mail. Also, you forget that plenty of private businesses could then come in and compete.
Ernie Keebler
Ernie Keebler Aug 06, 2021 7:58PM ET
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Again, why is DeJoy, a crooked fill his own pockets off of the postal service and republican mega million donor still running things into the ground?
Mike Mike
Mike Mike Aug 06, 2021 6:06PM ET
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Only trashes are allowed to work at usps
Bran Hollywood
Bran Hollywood Aug 06, 2021 5:26PM ET
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those absentee ballots sure showed up on time. Go figure they won't even let me post this
Bran Hollywood
Bran Hollywood Aug 06, 2021 5:26PM ET
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those absentee ballots sure showed up on time
Bran Hollywood
Bran Hollywood Aug 06, 2021 5:25PM ET
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those absentee ballots sure showed up on time
Bran Hollywood
Bran Hollywood Aug 06, 2021 5:25PM ET
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those absentee ballots sure showed up on time
 
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