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End of USPS Saturday Mail Delivery Leaves St. Michael Post Office Uncertain

Some of the carriers are concerned about losing hours, while area businesses say the change won't have much of an impact.

 

The announcement today by the United States Postal Service to discontinue Saturday delivery of first-class mail leaves the St. Michael U.S. Post Office in a phase of uncertainty.

"We just found out today as well," said Michelle Mattsen, Officer In Charge at the St. Michael branch. "We're not quite sure how that's going to work."

The change in the delivery schedule will be effective the week of Aug. 5, 2013 — first-class mail will only be delivered Monday through Friday from that point on.

However, mail addressed to P.O. boxes will continue to be delivered Saturdays, and post offices currently open Saturdays will continue those hours. Mail sent "express" instead of "first-class" will continue on Saturdays. Packages and parcels are also not affected — they will also be delivered Saturdays.

"Recent strong growth in package delivery (14 percent volume increase since 2010) and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days per week," said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO, in a written statement.

Mattsen said the change could affect the substitute postal carriers out of the St. Michael branch. Regular carriers work shifts five days a week, and substitutes fill in for the sixth day, which sometimes falls on a Saturday.

"Some of the subs are worried about losing hours," she explained. "I don't know exactly how it will play out."

The postal service attributes the change to ongoing financial challenges. It expects to save costs through this change by approximately $2 billion annually. In the past fiscal year, the postal service had a financial loss of $15.9 billion, according to a USPS document.

"By any measure, that is unsustainable," the USPS stated. "It's unacceptable."

The USPS says it is expected to operate like a business, but without the flexibility of a private sector business. All revenue comes from postage sales, and the postal service needs to make $20 billion in cost reductions to survive, according to information presented at a press conference Wednesday morning.

"We take no tax dollars," stated the USPS. "We want no tax dollars."

It also states that the response to halt Saturday delivery meets America's "changing mailing habits."

"We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings," said Donahoe.

Peter Nowacki, Minnesota's postal service spokesman said "it's too early to determine the impacts to individual post offices," in an email to St. Michael Patch. "Customers will only see change in that they won’t get their usual mail on Saturdays. Several national surveys have indicated about 70 percent support for this action."

Melissa Lins Harrison, founder and chief executive officer of Allée in Albertville says the change may not have a huge impact on her business. Allée is a marketing and creative services company.

"Though we do send things via 'snail mail' on occasion, most of our invoicing is done online or via email as are client contracts," Harrison said. "I think what it'll boil down to is more planning on the part of everyone. Change takes a while to get used to, but pretty soon it'll be the same as we know 'no mail service on Sundays' to be."

Academic All Star Tutoring of Albertville echoed the little impact on its business.

"Just like many of you, so much is done over via email and the internet these days," she said. "However, it may have a trickle down effect on many of us because postal workers will be losing hours and spending less."

St. Michael area residents Korey Avery and Chris Dorrity said to them, it's "one less day to receive bills," they wrote on St. Michael Patch's Facebook page.

Becky Hackenmueller wrote, "Saturday's mail is usually forgotten until Monday anyway, so it won't make much difference to us."

Some community members say they understand the postal service needed to make some cuts, while others wondered the how it would work out in times there's a heavier reliance on the post office — such as when sending Christmas cards.

"I just think that once it happens, many people waiting for that check, that gift, anything sent USPS, will wish it hadn't stopped on Saturdays," wrote Jenifer June. "I can't tell you the countless times getting my mail on a Saturday, made my weekend!"

Mattsen of the St. Michael post office says the change doesn't mean post office operations will stop for the weekend.

"The post office never stops, even if we're not delivering — we run seven days a week," she said. "The mail is always moving. Mail always has to get out, one way or another."

JoJo February 06, 2013 at 08:51 PM
This move had better save the oodles of money they claim it will, or the next step will be complete closing of Saturday service. THEN let's see people complaining of loss of hours. (welcome to the real world, dear postal workers!) And personally, I think it's about time. The budget has needed slashing for years.
STMA Parent February 06, 2013 at 08:59 PM
I don't think I will see a difference anyway, it seems like I never get mail on a Saturday, so I think my carrier is already skipping my house. Even if it did arrive, can't do anything with it until "office hours" anyway.
Snow Dude February 06, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Those of you wanting the mail to "make your weekend". Get a PO box, mail still being delivered to PO boxes & post offices currently open Saturdays will continue those hours.
M. Zachman February 07, 2013 at 05:58 PM
It sounds like the only people going without are the mail route people. When cost containment measures are implemented - aren't they across the board? Why are the same number of post office people going to be working on Saturday? Why is the Saturday staff not cut to the minimum needed? Have overtime hours been denied? Maybe this is "why" the Post Office can not REALLY cut their budget!!
JoJo February 08, 2013 at 04:33 AM
M Zachman, you ask VERY good questions. That is exactly my concern. Will the manager/supervisor (or whatever they call the head of each post office) be willing to actually cut back? Sure, cutting delivery will in theory save billions. But that relies on actual cut-backs. I think we'd better be careful to not get distracted by the question "will it inconvenience you to not get mail on Saturdays?" Because the real question is, will this move actually save the serious money it needs to save?
Bex February 08, 2013 at 02:43 PM
This move will not save serious money. In fact, if the numbers in the article (provided by the post office) are accurate, this change won't save much at all. According to the article, "It expects to save costs through this change by approximately $2 billion annually. In the past fiscal year, the postal service had a financial loss of $15.9 billion, according to a USPS document." which means if the numbers stay approximately the same, they will still have a loss of approx. $13.9 billion... and: "...the postal service needs to make $20 billion in cost reductions to survive...". So, they know they need to make 20 billion in cuts but they make 2 billion in cuts. They might not take taxpayer dollars but their math is definitely government math.
Liala Helal (Editor) February 08, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Bex, this is just the latest thing the USPS is doing to reduce costs. To save money, last year they announced they are closing or consolidating about half of their mail-processing centers — mostly in rural areas. They also reduced the standards for first-class mail, depending on location. It used to take 1-3 days, now it takes 2-3 days for some mail, based on where it's going. I imagine they will be looking at cuts elsewhere to be able to get up to the $20 billion in cuts.
Leah February 10, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Great! If they cut any more workers at the post office, I will be waiting in line longer and getting a even ruder postal worker to help me. Good riddance!!!
Bex February 10, 2013 at 02:28 PM
My comment was in response to JoJo's last comment that said "...the real question is, will this move actually save the serious money it needs to save?". It won't. The fact that they announced they are closing/consolidating means nothing until they actually close/consolidate. Maybe they already have. And they should be looking at where else they can make cuts. At any rate, the post office has been having financial problems for years and they should have been doing more than they have been doing to make ends meet. If they had, maybe the St. Michael Post Office, and many others, wouldn't be facing cuts that will most likely put even more people out of work.
Lou Zmuda February 10, 2013 at 03:26 PM
This is all about destroying public union jobs and privatizing mail service. One particular political party is bent on getting rid of the US Postal Service and allowing UPS and FEDEX to take over our mail system for profit. Meanwhile the other political party is oddly allowing this to happen. Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and post Roads". Where is the outrage from those who claim to be defenders of the constitution in regards to this matter? There are many who want to see government services privatized. Perhaps this is why some politicians slash budgets and staff of certain government agencies and programs. They are set up to fail so that when said agency or program fails, those who are pushing for privatization of government can quickly point to these failings, to further support their push for privatization....Privatize the gains, socialize the losses.
keith braiedy February 10, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Maybe it is time for the postal workers to work 4= 10 hour days. M,T and Thur, Fri. No overtime and we will cut another day of driving postal vehicles and this would be a great savings in gas, wages and teller service at the branch's.. I see to many postal vehicles were the driver is resting in the cab. Our last driver retired and was consistantly having breaks below the hill and after serving our association and we the public are paying for down time ?? Keith
JoJo February 10, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Keith braiedy, I'd certainly entertain that idea, just to get the post office running in the black again. Excellent! ("Maybe it is time for the postal workers to work 4= 10 hour days. M,T and Thur, Fri. No overtime and we will cut another day of driving postal vehicles and this would be a great savings in gas, wages and teller service at the branch's...") Lou, you are picking a political fight out of just plain facts. This isn't about labor unions. This is about a gov't entity which has been poorly run for decades. And as a very politically active individual, I can tell you that I have heard NOTHING about trying to close down the post office, on either side of the aisle. You are grasping at straws. These drastic cuts need to be made before the entire thing fails...and then you get exactly what you say you don't want: privatized mail service only.
JoJo February 10, 2013 at 09:15 PM
There have been some leaders within the United States Postal Service who have for MANY years been trying to make cuts to get the USPS back on track financially. In the past, even the recent past, these efforts are met with screams and horror stories, and the legislators trip over each other as they run to the press conference microphones to empathize with small town America and promise "we won't let the big bad Republicans (no matter who makes the suggestion, it's the R's fault) close down your slice of Americana, your beloved post office!" Never mind some areas have two or three within a few miles of each other. And never mind that it's about to go broke.

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