Postal-reform legislation with broad-based support is gradually taking shape in Congress, Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman told last week's meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Council (MTAC), according to PostCom Bulletin.
"In response to question as to what the USPS has compromised on in the legislative discussions with its stakeholders, Stroman said that 5-day delivery was one of the things the USPS dropped and that other things that used to be on its list are no longer there," said the bulletin, which is only available to members of the multi-industry Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom).
Congress members made it clear that getting approval for five-day delivery was "a politically difficult hurdle to overcome," the Bulletin quoted Stroman as saying. Postal officials dropped their Saturday plan in hopes of getting what they really need from Congress -- reform of so-called "prefunding" of retiree health benefits and of postal pensions.
In March 2010, the U.S. Postal Service released its Action Plan for the Future that called for ending Saturday deliveries, along with several other changes intended to prevent the agency from going bankrupt. Dropping Saturday deliveries would add $2 billion annually to the USPS's bottom line, postal officials claimed, though critics charged it was underestimating potential revenue losses.
Responding to concerns about delivery delays for critical items like mail-order pharmaceuticals, postal officials relented and said package delivery would continue on Saturdays. But Congress still didn't bite and continued to include a six-day delivery requirement in its annual budget.
The boom in e-commerce-related mail, including Sunday delivery of Amazon packages, has made curtailment of Saturday delivery an even harder sell.
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