Postmaster General to Murkowski: USPS Always a Defender of Bypass Mail

Senator Also Receives Assurance that Ending Saturday Service Won’t Mean Layoffs

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Senator Lisa Murkowski had a face-to-face meeting with United States Postal Service Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and used the opportunity to get answers to questions Alaskans have asked about the future of bypass mail and the Alaskan impacts of the post office’s decision to end Saturday envelope delivery.

Bypass Mail: After Murkowski defended Alaska’s bypass mail delivery service from potentially damaging proposals last year, she and Postmaster General Donahoe shared their relief that those proposals failed.  Murkowski asked Donahoe to continue to work with her to defend bypass mail this year.   Donahoe responded “We’ve always been a defender of bypass mail.  We understand how important it is.  If you need help defending it in Congress, though I don’t believe you will, we’ll be there with you.”

Saturday Delivery and Prescriptions: With Alaska’s unique geography and lack of the Lower 48’s millions of neighborhood pharmacies, the mail is the only way for many Alaskans to receive needed medication.  Noting her long-standing efforts to ensure this access continues, the Senator asked for clarity from the Postmaster General on whether medications—regardless of the type of envelope or package it’s mailed in—would still be delivered on Saturdays.   Donahoe informed Murkowski that medications mailed at the first class mail rate would continue to be delivered on Saturdays regardless of the type of packaging it comes in, including “first class packets and whatever people think of as a package”.

Saturday Delivery and Job Security: While Murkowski also believes that the USPS decision to end Saturday service is a way to “evolve to survive” in an age of e-mails and text messaging, she did express concern that the move would result in Alaskan layoffs, especially at a time when the economy is still trying to recover and Alaskans still look for good jobs.  The Postmaster General also assured her that there would be no layoffs as a result of switching to the modified Saturday delivery schedule.