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.”

  • 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.