Postal Regulatory Commission Heeds Murkowski in Recommendation for Saturday Mail Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Postal Regulatory Commission released its final Advisory Opinion on a proposal by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to end mail delivery and other postal operations on Saturdays.  USPS proposed these and other changes to address over $2 billion in annual losses. 

“The Commission did an excellent job reviewing both the potential cost benefits and impacts to Postal Service customers associated with the proposal to end most Saturday mail services,” Murkowski said.  “I am pleased that the Commissioners have taken seriously the negative impact the proposal could have on Americans who live in rural and remote areas of the nation, including Alaska.  I anticipate that the Senate will take their findings and recommendations just as seriously.”

On September 16, 2010, Senator Murkowski testified before the Postal Regulatory Commission to express Alaskans’ concerns about the negative impact the proposal would have on rural residents who rely on the Postal Service for such necessities as prescription medications that cannot be obtained in the many communities that lack a local pharmacy.  She also noted increased costs to consumers who would be required to rent post office boxes or pay extra for Express Mail to ensure necessary delivery on Saturdays, the loss of jobs in an uncertain economy, and her concern that the proposal would yield market share to for-profit companies. 

The Commission’s Advisory Opinion specifically referenced Senator Murkowski’s testimony and noted that “Rural and remote communities, including those in the non-contiguous states and territories, have unique mail requirements and arrangements with the Postal Service” and determined that, “The Postal Service did not evaluate the impact of the proposal on customers who reside or conduct business in rural, remote, or non-contiguous areas.”  Click here for the Postal Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Opinion.

“I am pleased that the Postal Regulatory Commissioners understood the serious concerns that I presented on behalf of rural Alaskans,” Murkowski said. “The Commission made clear its strong preference that any changes must ensure equitable service to all Americans, no matter where they live when Commissioners recommended, ‘the Postal Service, before implementing five-day delivery, create a plan that provides an acceptable level of service to rural, remote or non-contiguous areas that may be particularly affected’.”

Also today, the Postmaster General announced that the Alaska District, which supervises mail delivery operations throughout the state, will not be among those Districts chosen for consolidation.  The Postmaster General also announced a plan to provide early retirement incentives to eligible USPS employees in an effort to reduce costs and overhead.  Over the next year, the USPS anticipates laying-off up to 7,500 administrative and executive employees nationwide.

Attached is Sen. Murkowski’s testimony to the Postal Regulatory Commission in September 2010.