Starting August, the U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it will stop first-class Saturday mail delivery.
The Postal Service reported a net loss of $16 billion in 2012, and it is struggling to find ways to cut costs. The change is expected to save the post office $2 billion a year.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Legeros spoke with customers and postal employees about the change.
“Simply because we’re losing money at a rapid rate, like $25 million a day, and the feeling is we can save about $2 billion a year by making this change,” said Ernie Swanson of the U.S. Postal Service.
Local post offices with Saturday hours will still be open, and mail carriers will continue to deliver priority and express mail as well as packages.
“Is there anything important that comes to your mailbox on a Saturday? No, not at all, usually junk,” said customer Barbara Bary.
Mail carriers told KIRO 7 the Postal Service should be looking for ways to expand and improve service, and not cut it.
“The whole shrink to survive mentally is not right. We need to be increasing revenue,” said Jo Ann Pyle of Letter Carriers Local 79.
Carriers claim Congress has to address what’s becoming the majority of the drain on dollars, a requirement six years ago that the Postal Service set aside money to cover future medical costs for retirees.
“It’s not needed, There’s already a tremendous amount of money that’s sitting there to pay those premiums,” said State Union President Bob James.
The letter carriers are also worried about jobs being lost with cuts in service, but the Post Service said it’s already spent six years trimming its work through attrition and a hiring freeze.
“So right now, we’re a pretty lean, mean organization, and I think we can absorb the differences in personnel without layoffs,” said Swanson.
According to Swanson, some of the state’s 11,000 postal workers may have to change their job descriptions or where they work as the service adjusts.
The letter carriers are wondering whether the postmaster general even has the authority to cut Saturday service. They told KIRO 7 he is trying to use a loophole in the law to get this through, even though Congress opposes the end of Saturday service.