By COREY DADE
The U.S. Postal Service stepped up its campaign to end Saturday deliveries to help stem losses, but the move met with skepticism that signals an uphill battle for approval by regulators and Congress.
Postal officials sought support for a broad restructuring from a gathering in Washington on Tuesday that included big postal clients, congressional aides and postal workers’ labor representatives. Without the restructuring, the agency potentially faces $238 billion in projected losses in the next 10 years, Postmaster General John E. Potter warned.
The recession has worsened the Postal Service’s financial condition, and mail volume continued to fall as more letters and documents are sent electronically. It saw a 13% drop in volume in the year ended Sept. 30, more than double any previous decline, and lost $3.8 billion.
The agency has reduced its work force 25% in 10 years, Mr. Potter said, but “must now make changes to its business model.”
The Postal Service wants authority to change delivery schedules, raise prices and control labor costs. Congress must approve the elimination of Saturday mail delivery and lawmakers haven’t been receptive.
Any changes to employee work schedules need to be negotiated with postal workers’ unions. Labor leaders Tuesday came out against the plan.
The loss of Saturday delivery would deal a blow to the biggest postal clients, companies that mail ads to consumers.
“Almost all of direct marketing is done when it’s relevant and timely. If it reaches you three days later, it’s not timely,” said Linda Woolley, chief lobbyist for the Direct Marketers Association.