LETTER: Postal service making big changes to weather economic storm

Friday, February 27, 2009 | 11:02 a.m. CST; updated 9:34 p.m. CST, Monday, November 30, 2009

In response to the economic downturn, the Postal Service is taking tough but necessary measures around the country and in the Gateway District of central and northeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. Affordable service and long-term viability requires changes to operations, staffing, and facilities similar to what other businesses are doing in this tough economy.

That perspective is important. The Postal Service is a self-supporting agency, funded from the sale of postal products and services, not from tax dollars. Like commercial businesses, we are subject to increased costs and reduced revenue. We face competition from e-mail and online bill paying, and this past year, some of our biggest mailing customers in the financial, insurance, and housing fields, have struggled at unprecedented levels.  

The economic decline has had an historic impact on mail volume, which fell nationally by 9.5 billion pieces, resulting in a net operating loss of $2.8 billion after the Postal Service paid a law–mandated $5.6 billion to prefund retiree health benefit liabilities.

The Gateway District, with a 9.1 million drop in volume, did not escape this trend.

This stark reality requires action. We’re managing costs, increasing efficiencies, and optimizing our workforce through early retirement offers, the consolidation of mail processing operations, route reorganizations, overtime reductions and adjusting operational hours to match mail flow and customer use at post offices and plants.

We’re creating value for customers by adapting products and services to contemporary lifestyles and improving customers’ experiences in Post Offices, on, and by phone. We’re launching competitive shipping prices, driving technology, and using our delivery network in new ways.

These changes help secure employees’ jobs, allow us to weather this economic storm, position us to serve customers when the economy rebounds and support our mission of delivering trusted, affordable, universal service to America.

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