The U.S. Postal System’s Board of Governors has announced it will indefinitely delay its planned implementation of five-day mail delivery in the U.S. on August 5.
The board said restrictive language from Congress prohibits it from reducing the current six-day delivery to five days a week.
“Although disappointed with this Congressional action, the Board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule, the postal system governors said in a statement.
“The Board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time. The Board also wants to ensure that customers of the Postal Service are not unduly burdened by ongoing uncertainties and are able to adjust their business plans accordingly.
“The Board continues to support the transition to a new national delivery schedule. Such a transition will generate approximately $2 billion in annual cost savings and is a necessary part of a larger five-year business plan to restore the Postal Service to long-term financial stability.
According to numerous polls, this new delivery schedule is widely supported by the American public. Our new delivery schedule is also supported by the administration and some members of Congress.”
Max Heath, a Kentucky resident and retired newspaper industry executive who’s considered a noted expert on postal issues impacting the publishing industry, applauded the Postal Service’s decision.
“The Postal Service did the right thing…by canceling its plans for implementing five-day delivery August 5. Their prior announcement was a “squeeze play” on Congress to get them to allow it. But, Congress doesn’t bluff easily. They passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through September 30 recently with the rider on that appropriations bill requiring the same delivery schedule continue, as they have done since 1984.
“USPS will now wait for specific legislation allowing five-day delivery, if they can get it.
“USPS gets only token funding, with an appropriation for mailings for the blind and overseas voting. But this allows Congress to speak on behalf of this issue, and they voted to keep six-day delivery.
The National Newspaper Association, which I represent as Postal Chair, has pushed to maintain six-day delivery for a large segment of its members who care about it. We, along with a coalition of other mailers, have been successful since 2009. USPS is a quasi-independent government agency, but first and foremost a government agency with an obligation to provide universal service.”
To seek new cost reductions, the Postal Service’s Board of Governors said it has authorized postal system management to reopen talks with unions about ways to further reduce expenses. And the Governors said postal rate increases are possible as well.