NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 16, 2013

Postmarked for change

End to Saturday mail call on horizon

Enjoy that visit to the mailbox today. Come August, that Saturday ritual will likely be a thing of the past.

The U.S. Postal Service announced this month that it would soon be ending Saturday first-class mail delivery in hopes of saving $2 billion annually as it struggles to survive in an increasingly hostile economic environment.

What kind of impact the change will have locally, however, is still anyone’s guess.

Representatives from the Newburyport and Amesbury post offices deferred comment, referring questions to the USPS regional office in Rhode Island, where spokeswoman Christine Dugas said it was too early to tell what the change could mean to individual post offices.

“There is really no answer to what is going to be the impact on the local post offices,” Dugas said. “We won’t know because it will depend on who decides to retire, who moves to other post offices, so it’s early to say that there’s going to be any particular impact.”

Dugas said the USPS expects the initiative could impact more than 35,000 employees across the country, but that the reduction in the labor force would be conducted through attrition and not through layoffs.

“That is not unusual for the postal service; we’ve eliminated 193,000 positions through attrition since 2006, so that’s not new to us,” Dugas said. “When someone retires, they don’t hire someone new to replace them.”

While Saturday mail delivery will cease in August, the Postal Service will continue to deliver packages and prescription drugs on Saturdays, and the mail will still circulate so customers with post office boxes will still be able to get their mail on weekends. The Postal Service’s package delivery service has been one of its few bright spots over the past few years, with a 14-percent increase in package delivery volume since 2010.

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