Money & Business

Saturday Mail Is Staying Put: What Associations Think

By / Apr 11, 2013 (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

With the U.S. Postal Service walking back its decision to cut Saturday mail, many associations have different ideas on what exactly should happen next.

Good news: Your Netflix discs will show up on weekends after all. The potentially bad news? The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is looking for a Plan B.

On Wednesday, the USPS, blaming pressure from Congress, walked back a long-in-the-works decision to cut mail to five days per week. However, that leaves a significant budgetary hole that needs to be dealt with in another way. Not everyone agrees on what the Postal Service’s next move should be.

More details, along with association reaction:

The decision: On Tuesday, the USPS Board of Governors met to discuss a congressional continuing resolution that restricted the Postal Service’s ability to cut back on its delivery days. As a result, the service decided to switch gears so as not to create complications for customers. “Although disappointed with this congressional action, the board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule,” the board said in a statement. “The board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time.”

Saturday mail delivery is a huge advantage that the Postal Service has. By eliminating Saturday service, all they’re going to do is accelerate the decline in volume that they have.

Happy it didn’t happen: The Greeting Card Association, which opposed dropping mail service, suggested that losing a day would worsen the problems USPS has with declining mail volume. “Saturday mail delivery is a huge advantage that the Postal Service has. By eliminating Saturday service, all they’re going to do is accelerate the decline in volume that they have,” the group’s George White told NPR.

Disappointed by the decision: The American Catalog Mailers Association, speaking to Direct Marketing News, said keeping Saturday delivery may lead to higher costs for its members. “We were one of the early supporters of five-day delivery,” said the group’s president, Hamilton Davison. “Our members say they’ll take one-day delivery if it translates into lower cost. That’s how much of an overarching concern cost is.” Davison said staying with six-day delivery will lead to heavy rate increases that could put the Postal Service “on a downward death spiral.”

Should infrastructure cuts happen? While the Direct Marketing Association does not have a formal opinion on cutting Saturday mail because its members disagree on what should be done, the group’s Jerry Cerasale told Bloomberg that some of the issues the Postal Service faces could be resolved by closing facilities. “The Postal Service still has excess capacity, a lot of processing plants that are going to be scheduled to close,” he said. “They can speed that up and get a lot of capacity out of the system.” The National Newspaper Association (NNA), on the other hand, opposes infrastructure cuts. “The mission of the Postal Service is in its name: It is service. Without reliable service, no price is fair,” said the NNA’s president, Merle Baranczyk, in a statement. That association’s members, largely small community newspapers, would struggle with wide-scale cuts.

What do you think the Postal Service should do to ease its monetary and infrastructure woes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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