WASHINGTON (February 6, 2013)—The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it’s going ahead with plans to start five-day-a-week delivery in August.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the agency's financial condition is urgent, and the change will save about $2 billion a year.
Under the plan, letters would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday.
Packages would still be delivered on Saturdays.
Mail would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays, and post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open.
The Postal Service has been pushing for a shift to five-day delivery for several years, but Congress hasn't approved the move.
Congress included a ban on five-day delivery in its appropriations bill, but because the federal government is now operating under a temporary spending measure, rather than an appropriations bill, Donahoe said the agency believes it can make the change itself.
He said the agency is asking Congress not to re-impose the ban when the spending measure expires on March 27.
The move accentuates one of the agency's strong points.
Package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010.
The delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of e-mail and other Internet use.
Fredric Rolando, the head of the letter carriers union says the plan to end Saturday delivery is a "disastrous idea."
Rolando said the move will hurt "millions of customers," particularly businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery.
He also said it goes against the will of Congress as expressed over the past 30 years.
But Donahoe, countered that research indicates that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs.