Postal Service to cut Saturday mail to trim costs

    10:55 AM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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    WASHINGTON (CBS) -- Get ready for some big changes in your mail service. After losing $16 billion last year, the Postmaster General will make an announcement later this morning.

    The plan to shrink delivery from six days a week to five would only affect first class mail. While packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still get delivered on Saturdays.

    Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn says the move will save the struggling postal service $2 billion a year. He says, "It's a proper business decision and good for the postal service and long run good for Americans."

    The Postal Service has lost $41 billion over the past six years as more and more Americans turned to private shippers, email, and online banking.

    To save money, the postal service slashed hours of service at about half the nation's 26,000 post offices and trimmed its workforce by 35 percent.

    But it wasn't enough. David Walker a former government watchdog is part of a panel looking at possible postal reforms. He says, "It won't come close to solving the postal service's problem. It's got to look at more fundamental changes in its infrastructure, its compensation costs, and its retirement obligations and also what it does and who does its business."

    But there's just so much the postal service can do without congressional approval. Despite years of begging by Postmasters General, Congress never passed a reform bill that would have given the postal service more flexibility to modernize and streamline its service.

    Sometimes the postal service makes these announcements because they're trying to force Congress to act. Is that what's happening here? Coburn says, "No, I don't think so at all. Look, they're in survival mode. You're not going to have any post office. I mean here's the alternative. They're losing $25 million a day. A day. They have to do something!"

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