Guest column/Plan to cut mail delivery would hurt on many levels

The Postmaster General’s proposed plan to end Saturday mail is ill informed, and it may ultimately just discourage customers from using the United States Postal Service, reducing mail volumes even further and worsening its financial situation. The American people rely on the USPS six days a week. More than 21 percent of FedEx packages are delivered by the post office. The post office delivered 400 million packages for FedEx and UPS. The post office receives no tax dollars. The path to reform for the United States Postal Service should be comprehensive. The USPS needs a plan that strengthens the last mile delivery network, preserves six day mail delivery, provides relief from congressional mandates and explores new business opportunities and revenue streams. The Postal Service is an essential part of America’s infrastructure upon which all our communities depend. Instead of haphazardly cutting corners to cut costs in the short term, the Postal Service needs a plan that will allow it to evolve to meet the changing needs of a 21st century customer base. We need a viable long-term solution, and dropping Saturday mail service just isn’t it.

What some in Congress (and the PMG) advocate is for is a dangerous slash-and-shrink plan that will eliminate Saturday delivery and diminish the overall economic competitiveness of the Postal Service. We need a plan that will strengthen, not dismantle, the Postal Service. Just one day of delay can impact everything from family finances to the delivery of time-sensitive communications. The Postal Service’s last mile network is unmatched by any private delivery company, and moving to five-day mail would give rural Americans no choice but to forgo the mail for several days at a time. For small businesses where every penny counts, the Postal Service delivers more than just the mail. USPS offers affordable billing, shipping and advertising options and secures delivery of business communications, including confidential and financial documents.

Slowing down the mail by cutting a day of delivery will put small business owners at a competitive disadvantage by preventing them from conducting business in today’s 24/7 market. Many business and household customers choose the Postal Service for its reliable and competitive price options. In addition to forcing customers to use private carriers for Saturday letter delivery, if full-ervice Saturday mail delivery is canceled, Saturday package delivery rates are likely to increase as well. Letter carriers will no longer be visiting every address on their regular routes, so parcel delivery will cost more. Saturday mail delivery provides tens of thousands of middle class postal jobs. Approximately 22,500 full-time letter carrier positions will be cut if the mail is delivered one less day each week. As the largest civilian employer of veterans in the country, this group will be disproportionately harmed by a five-day delivery schedule. Americans who have served in our Armed Forces often struggle to find employment once their service has ended. Eliminating Saturday delivery risks further destabilizing the job market for the men and women who have severed our country with honor.

The above is only part of why Congress should get behind the efforts to save the postal service and not dismantle it, there are bills currently pending that address the issue. They are H. Res. 30. H.R.630, H. R.961 and S.316. Let’s put people before politics. I would ask that those that haven’t cosponsored these bills to please do so, for those that have thank you.

(Dyce, a resident of Hanoverton, is president of the Ohio State Association of the National Association of Letter Carriers.)