PMG Jack Potter Wednesday shared with a Senate subcommittee the financial difficulties facing USPS caused by the current economic situation and asked for assistance in addressing these problems.

Potter requested legislative change to reduce the crippling cost burden imposed by the Postal Act of 2006 that requires USPS to prefund future retiree health benefits in addition to paying for current benefits. He stressed we have every intention of meeting our obligation to retirees, but just wanted Congress to stretch out the payment schedule. Last year, the combined $7.4 billion cost accounted for nearly 10 percent of the USPS operating budget.

The PMG also said worsening economic conditions may make it necessary to “temporarily reduce mail delivery to only five days a week.” He added, however, that a five-day delivery week would be a last resort and that it would take place only during periods of seasonal low volume when it would have the least effect on customers. He asked Congress to give the USPS Board of Governors the flexibility to make such a change.

The PMG’s testimony received nationwide media attention — focused primarily on the prospects of five-day delivery — but the real story is the Postal Service’s current economic situation and the need for some relief on retiree health benefit payments.

USPS will continue to focus on providing the excellent levels of service its customers expect, while keeping employees informed about actions the Postal Service will implement to meet its economic challenges.

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