GUEST COMMENTARY: Five-day mail delivery will save USPS $2 billion

2013-06-18T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Five-day mail delivery will save USPS $2 billionBy Bernice Grant nwitimes.com
June 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A recent article regarding the U.S. Postal Service’s proposal to move to five-day delivery of mail and six-day delivery of packages begs clarification.

A change to six-day package and five-day mail delivery is one of several components of the USPS five-year plan to return to financial stability. We anticipate this change will achieve annual savings of about $2 billion once fully implemented. It is a necessary part of closing what could be a $20 billion budget gap.

Contractually agreed upon processes are followed in regards to employee impacts. The estimated impact in this case would be between 20,000 and 25,000 nationwide. The workforce reduction will be achieved through attrition and reassignment. The Postal Service has a proven track record of working with affected employees, having reduced more than 193,000 positions since 2006 without layoffs.

Our carriers are heroes to us all, and they will remain the “eyes and ears” of the community, even when they deliver packages on their routes on Saturdays.

It is important to remember why we are proposing this change as well as several others. Overall mail volume has declined by 25 percent from 2007 to 2012. Single-piece first class mail — the kind where you stick a stamp on an envelope — has declined by 37 percent in that same period. How people use the mail has changed, and the Internet has affected that. Our growth market is packages. In fact, we have seen a 14 percent growth in packages over the last two years. It makes business sense to adapt to the market, just as every other industry has had to do.

We know the American public understands and supports this proposal. Postal Service-conducted surveys and those of other organizations found the American public overwhelmingly — more than 80 percent in some instances — supports the move to five-day mail and six-day package delivery.

We are doing everything we can to adapt to changing customer preferences and declining mail volumes. We continue to use the tools available to us under existing law to grow revenue and reduce expenses. It is prudent that we do so if this nation is to have a strong, viable and financially sustainable Postal Service in the future. We have also laid out a plan to Congress on how we can return to solvency through a comprehensive approach — an achievable road map to restore financial stability and preserve affordable mail service for the American public.

Bernice Grant is district manager for the U.S. Postal Service's Greater Indiana District. The opinions are the writer's.

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