The U.S. Postal Service’s plan to reduce delivery of first-class mail to five days — Monday through Friday — will impact 35,000 job positions nationwide, but facility closings and layoffs are not anticipated.
As part of the downsizing plan, slated to go into effect during the week of Aug. 5, package or parcel deliveries, a growth area for the Postal Service, will continue Monday through Saturday, said David Van Allen, Ohio Postal Service spokesman.
In addition, mail addressed to post office boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturdays, and post offices open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays, officials said.
The Postal Service expects to generate cost savings of about $2 billion annually once the plan is implemented. Information on how it will impact individual USPS facilities is not immediately available, Van Allen said.
Calls to several local Postal Service facilities for comments were referred to Van Allen. The National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 385 in Youngstown did not respond to a telephone call for comment.
The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of its package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits, Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and chief executive officer, said in a press release.
“We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings,” Donahoe said.
The USPS had advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. Recent strong growth in package delivery, however — a 14 percent volume increase since 2010 — and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days per week, Donahoe said.
Conversely, the Postal Service has experienced a 50 percent decline in first-class mail since 2006, Van Allen said.
“As consumers increasingly use and rely on delivery services — especially due to the rise of e-commerce — we can play an increasingly vital role as a delivery provider of choice, and as a driver of growth opportunities for America’s businesses,” Donahoe said.
The Postal Service made the announcement Tuesday, more than six months in advance of implementing five-day mail delivery schedule, to give residential and business customers time to plan and adjust. The USPS plans to publish specific guidance in the near future for residential and business customers about its new delivery schedule, Donahoe said.
Since 2006, the Postal Service, which receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations, has reduced its annual cost base by about $15 billion, reduced the size of its full-time career work force by 193,000 or 28 percent, and consolidated more than 200 mail-processing locations, he added.
The Postal Service has annual revenue of about $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail.