Newspapers among those affected by planThe U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it plans to end Saturday home delivery of mail, including newspapers and magazines, starting Aug. 5. Package delivery and mail to post office boxes would continue and post offices would remain open on Saturdays under the plan.
By: By Chris Olson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it plans to end Saturday home delivery of mail, including newspapers and magazines, starting Aug. 5.
Package delivery and mail to post office boxes would continue and post offices would remain open on Saturdays under the plan.
USPS Spokesman Pete Nowacki, of the Minneapolis office, said this move would save the Postal Service $2 billion annually once the plan is fully implemented.
“We have market research that shows about 70 percent of the people support switching to five-day mail delivery as a way to reduce costs,” he said.
Nowacki said Congress has a ban on five-day only delivery in its spending bills. Since the government is now operating under a temporary spending measure rather than an appropriations bill, the Postal Service could make the change itself.
“We’re going to ask Congress to not take any action to stop this (eliminating Saturday mail delivery),” Nowacki said.
“I really don’t think it’s a big deal,” said Jan Lees, owner of Country Clipper, a hair salon, in Buchanan, N.D. “We could skip Saturday delivery.”
Lees said it is important that Buchanan keep its post office open.
“If it means we get to keep our post office open, we could go without Saturday delivery,” she said.
Buchanan Postmaster Paulette Schumaker said she wasn’t aware any announcement had been made until a customer asked her about it Wednesday morning.
“One person asked me about it because he said he heard it on the radio or something,” she said. Schumaker said she received an email about an announcement that was supposed to take place Wednesday or Thursday, but she didn’t know what it was about.
Schumaker said eliminating Saturday mail delivery is not a new idea for the Postal Service.
“This has been part of the Postal Service’s plan for a while. Nothing has changed,” she said.
The newspaper and magazine industry may feel the impact most as it relies on the Postal Service for Saturday delivery.
“It will have a direct impact on subscribers used to getting their Saturday morning newspaper by mail,” Jamestown Sun Publisher Bruce Henke said.
“I think it won’t be beneficial, it’s just another step in less service being provided by the USPS,” he said.
North Dakota Newspaper Association Executive Director Roger Bailey said he has already contacted U.S. Sens. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., about stopping this plan.
“Congress will need to respond to this directive from the Postal Service,” Bailey said.
Bailey said of primary concern is eliminating Saturday delivery of mail will create a backlog of mail that postal workers will have to deal with on Monday.
“Then the backlog continues into the next week, back to Saturday, where it starts all over again,” he said.
Schumaker said she doesn’t think that will be much of a problem for the Buchanan post office.
“We’re already busy on Mondays, but it doesn’t take that much to get caught up,” she said.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com