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APWU on Five-Day Delivery: Don’t Do It!

APWU Web News Article #071-09, June 22, 2009

The APWU has given a straightforward response to a USPS request for input regarding five-day mail delivery: “Don’t do it!”

“The American Postal Workers Union submits in the strongest possible terms our insistence that the Postal Service refrain from conversion to five-day delivery,” APWU President William Burrus wrote on June 18 [PDF]. “The consequences of the proposed change far outweigh the expected monetary benefits associated with delivery reduction.”

Burrus’ letter was in response to a notice from the USPS Vice President for Labor Relations [PDF], which said the Postal Service plans to complete a study of the concept within 60 days. “Our interest is in gathering, in this short timeframe, as much input from interested parties as possible,” the June 10 letter said; it asked for a response from the union just nine days later.

If five-day delivery is enacted, Burrus declared, “History will record this act as the first step in the dismantling of the United States mail system.”

A reduction in the number of delivery days will result in “negative changes to employee staffing and scheduling,” the union president noted. Although the changes are intended to reduce personnel costs, “Any service organization that reduces service invites its own demise,” he said.

“This decision is the worst possible response to unusual circumstances that have adversely affected mail volume,” the union president wrote. It assumes that the economy will not recover, and that mail will not serve as a viable medium for commercial activities.

“I strongly disagree, and advise that you don’t do it!”

Economic Downturn Spurs Consideration
The USPS first proposed reducing delivery from six days to five earlier this year, when Postmaster General John E. Potter outlined the Postal Service's options for solving its severe financial problems. The postmaster general told a Senate Subcommittee on Jan. 28, 2009, that declining mail volume, the severe economic downturn, and the requirement to pre-fund healthcare benefits for retirees had driven the Postal Service into an “acute fiscal crisis.” The postmaster general announced a series of cost-cutting measures and asked Congress to “remove the annual appropriation bill rider, first adopted in 1983, that requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days each week.”
[PMG's testimony – PDF] | [Burrus Update #03-09]


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