The USPS started Saturday delivery service in 1863 but due to ongoing budget constraints it will come to an end starting in August. Saturday home delivery of letters and other first-class mail will no longer happen, but they will still deliver packages. The cuts come as the USPS was waiting for Congress to agree on legislation to overhaul the agency. The plan unveiled today is expected to save $2 billion a year. But in comparison to the loss of $16 billion the USPS reported in 2012, it’s merely a drop in the bucket.
The cuts will impact about 22,500 jobs, Donahoe said, but instead of layoffs he plans on offering buy outs, eliminate overtime, and rely more on the part-time workforce. There will be no changes to post offices that are currently open on Saturday and mail will continue to be delivered to PO boxes.
The biggest group that will be affected by these cuts will undoubtedly be African-Americans. African-Americans make up about 20 percent of U.S. Postal Service workers – and are the majority in some urban centers, representing 75 percent to 80 percent of the 5,000 letter carriers in the Chicago area, according to Mack Julion, president of the Chicago branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
North Carolina A&T State University Assistant Professor Philip Rubio, a former postal worker, wrote about the history of African-American postal workers in his book “There’s Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice and Equality”. He wrote that historically there has always been a surplus of African-Americans in the Post Office because it was one of the few jobs less prone to discrimination.
“It became a magnet for African-Americans who gravitated to the one place where they could take the test and they knew once they got in and became career employees, they were set,” Rubio said. By World War I, 10 percent of the Postal Service’s workforce was African-American.
The American Postal Service Workers Union said the decision to cut Saturday service only deepens the financial crisis.
“USPS executives cannot save the Postal Service by tearing it apart,” the union said in a statement. “The USPS has already begun slashing mail service by closing 13,000 post offices or drastically reducing hours of operation, shutting hundreds of mail processing facilities, and downgrading standards for mail delivery to America’s homes and businesses. The effects are being felt in cities and towns across the country.”