When the U.S. Postal Service announced months ago that it would end mail delivery on Saturdays, critics of the plan said the agency didn't have the authority to make that decision. When the Postal Service insisted repeatedly that it would end Saturday mail delivery by August, critics again said the agency didn't have authority to make that decision.
This week, the Postal Service conceded that it does not have the authority to end Saturday mail delivery, and will reopen negotiations with unions in an attempt to lower labor costs.
The agency also said it will consider raising mail prices to help offset continued financial losses that have been mounting for years. The Postal Service still says it needs to make changes in its delivery schedule, but acknowledged it cannot do so without the approval of Congress, which controls the agency's budget.
Lawmakers from across the country argued that cutting Saturday delivery would be a burden to numerous businesses and other organizations, including newspapers, that depend on receiving and sending mail six days a week.
North Dakota residents, local and state politicians and our congressional delegation also argued that cutting a day of delivery would be especially harmful to those in rural areas of North Dakota, where driving to the nearest post office to pick up mail wouldn't be reasonable, given the potential distance between offices. We're glad officials from the Postal Service took the time to visit North Dakota and meet with concerned residents, giving the officials a first-hand look at the challenges presented by reducing mail to five days a week in rural America.
We hope the Postal Service is finally able to create some reasonable methods of cutting costs and raising revenues without continually falling back on cutting Saturday delivery.