United States Postal ServiceThe 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.

“It’s a responsible decision. It makes common sense,” said Patrick Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO of the postal service.

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.”

  • omfg

    i fear people won’t appreciate the postal service until it’s truly down and out.

    it’s both a cheap and incredibly efficient service we have. for a small amount of money, you have send a package around the world in a matter of days.

    but, i also understand that technology is making it difficult. but then again, they didn’t adequately prepare to compete against ups, etc.

  • Anonin

    I feel bad for anyone who’ll be affected and then part of me still feels bitter about how the USPS cared not one bit when i suspected one of their employers had stolen a package from me (and im not the only one victim of this apparently)

    I know this has nothing to do with the subject at hand but i know some offices could use a bit more consideration, stealing the publics mail isnt going to make them want to use you more often.

  • http://gravatar.com/tashman2012 TT

    I completely agree. We have all this technology but we have to appreciate the postal service. What’s the saying? You won’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone. Some people may be clamoring for the postal service to go away but how else will your mail get from coast to coast or country to country at an affordable price?

  • ChaCha1

    A similar thing happened to me. My checks or anything that looked like it was official was constantly being opened, and my complaint wasn’t taken seriously.

    I do feel for people who will lose money. I have two friends who work for usps.

  • dirtychai

    This will have an effect on many Black middle-class families.

  • apple

    i hope they never die! but i heard its in the constitution so it can’t.. i can’t go with ups and fedex because not only are they expensive, they toss your packages on the lawn and then act shocked when someone takes them. i love usps its what i use my store for, and for a cheap price i can get my mail to anywhere in the world in a matter of 10days

  • Jessica

    Ditto, I do appreciate USPS services and I feel for people who truly utilize those services–I believe they reported that P.O. boxes will still get mail, so that’s helpful for people who use that for their business mail if they run a business from their home.

    And I didnt even get mail today, so I’m all for the change!

    But I’ve had several bad experiences with their packaging services–leaving packages at the door when I asked them not to. Customer service wasn’t helpful at all. I agree that maybe USPS needs to work on providing better service, despite their financial issues. I avoid ordering from some places if they only ship through postal services when possible.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    That’s the ticket, when you are losing money cut services and send your customers to your competitors. I swear baby boomers are the worst business people ever.

    And another thing; for the life of me I’ll never understand why the postal service didn’t jump on email back in the day and have their own. They could have been racking in hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue by now.

  • Starla

    I have never lived in a place with Saturday service. I always wondered what it would be like to get mail on Saturdays, and then I was like at least I never have to get a bill on the weekend.

    People have to start becoming a bit more enterprising. The truth is many of us will need to have a side hustle of some sort. Whether selling handwoven baskets, making t-shirts, baking, or consulting. We would be foolish to put all of our eggs into one basket depending on that sole pay checque to survive. We gotta get creative and enterprising to survive with ease in this new world.

  • dirtychai

    I cosign everything you said in this comment. I asked a former boss of mine, who’s a retired postmaster, about the email thing a few years ago. His comment was “Oh, that never would’ve worked anyway.” Dude…

    I think that the issue with baby boomers is that they developed business models at a time when none existed. Now they cannot adjust to a competitive market and to a public that dictates how they like their services rendered.

  • Deb

    Maybe it should be privatized.

  • Kacey

    Sorry, but the USPS has been long overdue for a radical structural overhaul. It is an inefficient, unreliable organization filled with entitled, poorly-trained employees. This organization sat idly by while UPS, FedEx and a smattering of private delivery services overtook their business by offering superior services. As email and the internet quickly became dominate forms of communication, the postal service failed to adapt and innovate. Instead, service deteriorated, revenue shriveled-up, the budget got out of control and frequent increases in the price of stamps failed to fix their financial problems and only drove customers further away. If the USPS had been a private corporation it would have been out of business a long time ago.

    I hear what people are saying about the loss of jobs, but I’m conflicted – on the one hand I understand what a set-back the loss of jobs and revenue will be for the overall economic recovery, but on the other hand, I have no love for postal employees. They are often rude and disgruntled, and I suspect (like a few people above mentioned) that many are criminals.

    Anyway, they couldn’t read the writing on the wall and now they are paying for it.

  • Kay

    I saw this coming YEARS ago, but if the postal service totally shuts down, I don’t see how any good can come of it. It’s not only cheap and effective, but it has federal oversight. In a world where corporate giants can basically do as they please, including increasing costs on a whim, this would be bad for small businesses that rely on their more affordable local post offices to keep their operations up and running. Oh, and someone mentioned privatizing. That would be very, very bad. You know what happens when things get privatized? Say….like education? The service then becomes a commodity to be bought by the highest bidder and regular folks then get screwed over. Inequity increases until you have such an unbalanced system where there are those that have their pick of services and then a vast group of people who are underserved. That’s privatization in a nutshell.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    you are all wrong. the post offices troubles are NOT the result of competition or poor management. the problem stems from REPUBLICANS movement to KILL the postal service and force us all to private carriers. they want the MONEY. republicans in congress have placed restraints on USPS that make it unable to compete.

    republicans and conservatives are the evil that is slowly turning the US into a third world nation. no services and HUGE disparities in WEALTH. i hate them.

  • Luci

    I dunno… I’m over the PO anyway. They’re slower than the private couriers, and a pain in the ass to deal with when they have a parcel for you. (Why can’t they just put it in the lobby? Who do they think is home at 2:00 in the afternoon to receive boxes? I work, boo!) Plus, I’ve had several things stolen or ruined by them.

    It’s 2013: my bills are all electronic, so the only thing they put in my box is junk. When I order a package, everything other than USPS is better. I feel for the folks losing their jobs… but I just don’t know what the post office is doing for us anymore.

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