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No More Saturday Mail? Postal Service Plans Cuts

The Postal Service is in the midst of a major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail-processing operations. Since 2006, it has cut annual costs by about $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000, or 28 percent, and consolidated more than 200 mail-processing locations, officials say.

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Q: What has been the reaction to the plan?

A: It has been met with vigorous objections from farmers, the letter carriers' union and plenty of lawmakers.

Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich called it "bad news for Alaskans and small business owners," who he said need timely delivery to rural areas.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she was disappointed, questioned the savings estimate and worried that the loss of Saturday service might drive customers away.

"The Postal Service is the linchpin of a $1 trillion mailing and mail-related industry that employs more than 8 million Americans in fields as diverse as direct mail, printing, catalog companies, magazine and newspaper publishing and paper manufacturing," she said. "A healthy Postal Service is not just important to postal customers but also to our national economy."

Despite that opposition, the Postal Service clearly thinks it has a majority of the American public on its side. The service's market research indicates that nearly 7 in 10 people support the switch as a way to reduce costs, Donahoe said.

And two Republican lawmakers said they had sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate in support of the elimination of Saturday mail. It is "common-sense reform," wrote Rep. Darrell Issa of California, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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Q: Can the Postal Service really make this change?

A: It thinks so. Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages â¿¿ and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully has appealed to Congress to approve the move.

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