New postmaster general’s cost-cutting measures may delay mail a day or more

Business journalist Devin Leonard’s book, “Neither Snow nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service,” was published in 2016. The 288-page book tells the centuries-long story of USPS from its beginnings under Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster general, through the era of digital communications. (USPS illustration)

WASHINGTON (WKBT) — “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” has long been the creed of postal workers, but their new boss appears to be saying, “Not so fast.”
Indeed, mail deliveries could be delayed by a day or more under new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s spartan plan to rein in costs.
The plan eliminates overtime for hundreds of thousands of postal workers and says employees must adopt a “different mindset” to ensure that the Postal Service can survive the coronavirus pandemic.
If postal distribution centers are running late, “they will keep the mail for the next day,” Postal Service leaders say in a document obtained by The Associated Press.
The changes come a month after DeJoy, a major donor to President Donald Trump, took over the sprawling mail service.
The changes are aimed at “making the USPS fundamentally solvent which we are not at this time,” the agency says in a memo titled “PMG Expectations and Plan.”
The memo cites deep revenue losses from a decade-long decline in mail deliveries that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated.
It suggests that an overdue “operational pivot” is needed to ensure the agency’s health and stability.
Postal Service officials, bracing for steep losses from the nationwide shutdown the virus has caused, have warned they will run out of money by the end of September without help from Congress. The service reported a $4.5 billion loss for the quarter ending in March, before the full effects of the shutdown sank in.
Single-piece, first-class mail volume fell 15% to 20% week to week in April and May, agency leaders told Congress. Losses will increase by more than $22 billion durring the next 18 months, they said.
Bills approved by the Democratic-controlled House would set aside $25 billion to keep the mail flowing, but they remain stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Congress has approved a $10 billion line of credit for the Postal Service, but it remains unused amid restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.
The agency is developing a business plan to ensure it will be financially stable and continue to provide reliable, affordable and secure delivery of mail and packages, USPS representative Dave Partenheimer said Wednesday.
Although the plan “is not yet finalized, it will certainly include new and creative ways for us to fulfill our mission, and we will focus immediately on efficiency and items that we can control,” Partenheimer said.