OUR VIEW: Saturday mail must stay intactOnce again, we’re hearing rumblings about proposals to end Saturday mail delivery as a cost-cutting move for the United States Postal Service.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Once again, we’re hearing rumblings about proposals to end Saturday mail delivery as a cost-cutting move for the United States Postal Service.
And once again, we wonder how this will all play out if it ever comes before Congress, where many members already are working to reassure constituents that mail delivery will continue through rain, sleet, snow and financial hardship.
We wholeheartedly are against a reduction of Saturday mail delivery, for a variety of reasons — some of which are selfish. It’s true that The Daily Republic is a great user of Saturday mail as a way to deliver its weekend edition, but we also worry about the effect such a cut would have on rural residents who rely on Saturday service for a variety of reasons.
Through various news stories, we have heard from several who worry that a reduction in Saturday mail service would be a hardship for those who do not live in a town or city. A report in The Daily Republic last June noted that Brent Fjerestad, head of a statewide letter carriers association, said carriers provide peace of mind by delivering letters, prescriptions and packages six days a week. Fjerestad said seniors, many of whom need six-day mail delivery for prescriptions, would be adversely affected.
And earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., introduced a congressional resolution calling on the U.S. Postal Service to maintain its current schedule, since a reduction on service would limit access to mail for certain areas and cut jobs for letter carriers. He said that “reliable mail delivery is like a lifeline to many of our seniors and others who count on the U.S. Postal Service to receive prescription drugs, Social Security checks and other important mail.”
Will Saturday service ever be eliminated? It’s possible, since the USPS is hemorrhaging money — some $3 billion per year.
That’s quite a financial setback, but simply dropping a day isn’t the best answer. Some members of Congress have suggested legislation that would reduce the agency’s commitment to fund its Civil Service Retirement System account after years of overpayment. Others have suggested changing the Postal Service’s contracting practices, or tighter oversight of the agency’s management practices.
We prefer internal changes before a cut in services, and we urge our congressional delegates to be cautious when attaching their name to any legislation that reduces delivery days out here on the prairie.