Postal Service Confirms Cuts That Will Slow Mail Down

UPDATED 12/05/11 4:24 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — If you still mail a check to pay your bills, it’s going to take longer for them to get where they’re going starting in January.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the U.S. Postal Service on Monday morning announced major budget and service cuts.

As a result of the $3 billion in cuts, first-class mail that used to take just one day to deliver will now take two to three days. Stamps will also rise in cost by 1 cent to 45 cents, starting next month.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

The cuts would force the closure of 250 of the nearly 500 mail processing centers around the country, as well as some 3,700 local post offices this coming spring.

Several Chicago processing facilities will be affected. The cuts are expected to close the Irving Park processing center, at 11560 W. Irving Park Rd. near O’Hare International Airport, as well as the Fox Valley and Gary, Ind., processing centers.

Operational changes are also expected to the Main Post Office at 433 W. Harrison St.

But the workers at those facilities will not lose their jobs. They will be reassigned to other locations.

At the Post Office at 540 N. Dearborn St. Monday morning, many people were lined up dropping off letters and boxes. But that does not reflect the overall situation at the Post Office, which is facing bankruptcy and needs to cut its budget dramatically.

This means slowing down the delivery schedule, and thus, check payments, Netflix DVDs and other time-sensitive mail will arrive a day or two later than usual with the change.

Such a thing has not happened since 1971.

Kylia Kummer, a small business owner who is a regular at the Dearborn Street post office, said, “I mail a number of different packages to different countries around the world on a really regular basis.”

Kummer owns Lavender in Brown, a shop that specializes in handmade clothing, jewelry, accessories and home goods.

She ships many of her products through first class mail, but with the changes coming to mail delivery next year, she said she’s “a little worried, because that – the price affect – will definitely affect the amount of money that I have to charge for the packages.”

Mark Reynolds, spokesman for the Chicago district of the post office, said the changes are being driven by a lack of revenue and volume.

“In 2006, we handled 213 billion pieces nationwide. Now that number’s down to 170 billion,” Reynolds said.

Even though the growing use of email, social media, smart phones and other technology for communication is a large part of what has led to the declining use of the Postal Service, Reynolds said postal officials are not worried more people will turn to the Internet because of slower mail delivery.

“No, I don’t think we’re totally worried about that. The changes in itself aren’t going to drive people further,” Reynolds said. “What we are trying to do is put ourselves in the position to be profitable again.”

Even for those who rely so much on the Internet, they’re willing to use the postal service a little more regularly.

“I’ll continue to mail things and if it has to be two days later, three days later, I’ll still come here and do it, because you’ve got to support them,” said Tyler Herrin.

In addition to the postal facility closings, a total of roughly 100,000 postal workers nationwide could lose their jobs. That number doesn’t affect Chicago area workers. They would be re-assigned to other facilities.

Speaking to reporters in Chicago after addressing a meeting of the Illinois Farm Bureau, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Monday that he had mixed feelings about the cuts.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Durbin accepts the inevitability of changes at the Postal Service, especially with email taking so much of the communications business away.

But he fears for people and businesses that will be affected by the cuts, even in his hometown of Springfield.

“I’m not happy. I think Illinois gets hit a little too hard here, but I think we are naïve to believe that there will not be significant changes in the Postal Service,” he said.

Durbin said it’s clear the post office needs a new business model for the 21st Century, to help stave off bankruptcy; so things like slowing first class delivery a bit might be necessary.

However, he said he’s concerned about the closing of mail processing centers, especially since one of the centers that could close is in Springfield, where Durbin lives.

“That’s one of them they’re talking about and I worry about that, because if you called (Illinois) Secretary of State Jesse White’s office, he’ll talk to you about the millions of things that they mail out of Springfield … every year,” Durbin said. “And now they have to be shipped down to St. Louis on the postal trucks.”

He also said he’s concerned about talk of possibly ending Saturday mail delivery.

“I’m willing to put that on the table as a part of an overall solution. It hurts some areas and businesses more than others, so I think we need to try to work on an approach to it that may have some form of delivery available, particularly for commercial users where Saturdays are critically important,” Durbin said.

Everyday postal customers likewise had mixed feelings about the planned cuts and changes.

“I can understand why they might be having problems, with e-mail and everything; it’s more convenient to pay bills online and things like that,” said postal customer Samantha Ashley, “but I do think it’s important that we have the Post Office and that they continue to function, because there’s a lot of things that we just really need the Post Office for, and there’s a lot of really good jobs that are created by having the Postal Service, so I would have to see it cut significantly.”

“It’s people’s jobs at the end of the day, but I don’t know what to say about it,” said postal customer Tyler Herrin. “I use this Post Office all the time, so I’ll see a big difference. But I’ll continue to mail things, and if it has to be two days later; three days later, I’ll still come here and do it, because you’ve got to support them.”

The Postal Service is expecting a record loss of $14.1 billion next year amid steady declines in first class mail volume.

Small town mayors and legislators in states including Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania cited the economic harm if postal offices were to close, eliminating jobs and reducing service.

Small business owners in many other states also were worried.

  • Chivi

    You are kidding!! Slow mail down more?? The amount of items being mailed has fallen to a record low and they still cannot deliver on time. How is it you need all those people to deliver half of what was being processed in the past!! This is Bu!!U#(!#$P. We have to cut down you have to cut down. No favorites!! The USPS was always slow we will not feel a thing.

    • Steve

      “The amount of items being mailed has fallen to a record low and they still cannot deliver on time.”

      Yes. It’s common knowledge among the union rank and file that you should always slow the pace to a point which will increase the chances of getting overtime. This is just one of thousands of union tactics designed to increase wages and benefits, and drive the company slowly into the ground.

      • Different Scott

        Agreed Steve.

        But they serve one purpose wonderfully – driving businesses to Right-to-Work states like mine.

        I don’t use the USPS anyway, the private sector always has been and always will be superior.

      • LOTD

        @ Steve – great comment! Good to see some like-minded people posting on this.

      • Been There.

        The Union’s are the problem. I worked at a facility where the union boss literally stood around, when he wasn’t on the phone, and talked left-wing politics all day while I sorted around him. The black workers stood around talking while the white workers grumbled about the double standard. That plant is slated to close next month and I couldn’t be happier for the lazy slobs. They can all go to H#ll as far as I’m concerned.
        Next year, after all the closings, it’ll take twice as long to get a package somewhere. Use their competitors.

    • Zer1

      Unfortunately this is probably what has to happen. There is several economy issues and at this moment not many fixes/answer.

    • Scotpatriot

      Slow mail down- really- only in the government could you possibly think that being less efficient could save your employer money. INCREDIBLE.

  • Craig

    One or two days to two or three days? Who cares? This isn’t going to change my life at all. Whatever they need to do to turn a profit. 90% of what I get in my mailbox is junk anyway. As far as package delivery, with UPS, who even needs the postal service? Anyone who complains about this, just likes to complain!!

    • Jason S

      This is foolishness. You don’t have any idea what you’re saying. UPS is overpriced and has terrible service. A package that takes a week (7 days) to get across the country via UPS for $12 costs us $4.75 and arrives in three days with US Mail. We ship packages every day and we send 95% of them via US Mail. They’re faster and more accurate than both UPS and FedEx. Consumer reports did a study last year and found that US Mail was a better service as well. Check your facts before your spout your drivel. Believe me, if you didn’t have the post office delivering packages, your “free shipping” would be a thing of the past.

      • Keith C

        Strange, all my Amazon free shipping comes via Fed-Ex.

  • GJ

    Two to three days? So they’re going to speed up delivery?

  • David Wallace

    Maybe if they just got rid of all the unions, they could stop making cuts to service, that make it even more likely they will soon be irrelevant. The bloodsucking unions got them where they are now. Get rid of the parasites first.

    • The Clintidote

      We need to crush all unions just on general principle, anywhere and anytime. They’re just corrupt, greedy, government-subsidized extortion rackets.

  • Erik

    How does delaying mail save them money? They should go ahead and raise the cost of first class letters to $1.

    Side note: To anyone who wants government running healthcare. This is what you have to look forward to.

    • The Bruce

      Erik, they’re not deliberately delaying mail to save money. They’re saving money by shutting down about 200 processing centers. The delay will just naturally occur because of this.

  • Robb

    The ought to do what other businesses do when the economy stalls…have a sale!

  • Fred Friar

    it is those bloted central processing centers that slows things down. , B4 them mail from Georgia to West Virginia was always 3 days now it is 4-5 plus news papers mails first class get piled up to the point sometimes we get 6-7 all at once. The more we pay the worse service becomes

    • Different Scott

      It is government ineptitude that slows things down.

      • Denny

        You know that the USPS has been privatized for years, right?

      • Richard Henkle

        @Denny You know that you’re wrong, right?

      • The Clintidote

        Denny, then why can’t FedEx deliver first-class mail?

  • DeHq

    Outsource to china will be the next step.

    • Steven Scott

      I thought my mail already went through China, en route to my home… which might explain why it takes a week to go 35 miles.. the junk mail fills my box 99% of the time.. or maybe the Chinese haven’t converted the sorting machines out yet to read English addresses… which might explain how my neighbors mail goes into my mailbox….

  • Chili Boots

    Criminal ‘Collaboration’ between Congress, and the USPS Management,
    has caused this, Stolen BILLIONS.

  • Doug Rose

    Darn it….now I’ll get all my Bills later and have to wait a few more days for my “Publishers Clearinghouse” Junk Mail……………..

    • Different Scott

      I bet the government isn’t going to wait a few more days about collecting the taxes you are paying for USPS though.

      • Denny

        The USPS has not funded by taxes since the 1980’s.

      • Richard Henkle

        @Denny This is mostly correct, they do get some tax payer money but only to offset costs that the USPS takes on for certain govt initiatives. So, yes they are supposed to operate with $0 profit or loss and no tax dollars.

    • Tim

      Take down your box if its that bad and you dont have to complian anymore.Oh forgot you might need the USPS

      • Been There

        That reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Cramer tries to stop his mail and gets dragged into the Postmaster General’s office. The General was played by Wilford Brimley, one of the funniest Seinfeld’s of all!

  • JoeKlip

    I have 2 Priority Mail packages that were late. It turned out these packages were sitting inside the USPS sort facility for a week WITHOUT anyone notice. This is despite the packages were wrapped with PRIORITY MAIL tape all over them. You think someone would care to find out why the priority packages were sitting unattended. Apparently, taking initiative isn’t part of union job description. Good riddance.

    • Doug Tull

      JoeKlip, I understand your frustration, but to say this happened because of “unions,” seems a bit unwarranted. I have mailed thousands of packages (2 on-line businesses), and only three transactions out of approximately 4,000, have ever not reached their destination. I”m not saying it never happens, but your anger at unions, is misdirected. People make mistakes–private employees, government employees, self-employed people. I might agree with you that typically a private business has more incentive to solve your problem, but my experience is that many folks at the post office care and want to do a good job. There are certainly some that don’t.

      • JustMe

        And what Post Office is it that YOU go to ????

        Secondly, you obviously have never worked for both a union shop and a non union shop because, friend, there is the utmost world of difference, like day-n-night!

  • Erick Sailor

    I sent a small PAckage from Longview, TX to Little Rock, AR via UPS. Cost was $11.21 and it took two days to arrive. After the item was repaired, it was returned via USPS Priority Mail. Cost was $22.79 and it took 15 days to arrive.

    • Tim

      Yeah right tell another lie someone might believe you

      • JustMe

        Here a couple of whoppers for ya, Tim:
        The USPS is an efficient business oriented company ran like a well oiled machine.
        The USPS only runs in the red because of new communications technology.
        The unions have nothing to do with the USPS problems.


      • Erick Sailor

        Well Tiim, I do have the receipts. The mail carrier even commented about the lenght of time that it took.

      • Tim

        Erick do you have some ocean front property in Little Rock you can sell us too?

      • navybug

        UPS rates are cheaper. I mailed a box (18x12x12 and pretty weighty) today from a UPS store and it was only $13.51 and with standard shipping it will be delivered to a stae over by tomorrow they say! Even with priority mail it would not go that fast or be that cheap. Before you feel this person is telling you lies, go mail some boxes from both and then compare.

  • befitz

    So, as efficient, profitable companies race to automate and reduce workforce, the USPS has decided to reduce automation and maintain its already bloated workforce. Can a logical business rationale for this move be offered? I didn’t think so. Any obsolete business model that tries to improve itself by reducing service to its customers will be handed its head on a platter. Will anyone be surprised when the USPS is still sucking wind next quarter and beyond?

    • The Bruce

      Befitz, your analogy is either unfair or inaccurate. When those processing centers close down, the employees that worked in them will be laid off.

      The problem with the Post Office is that they charge less than the cost of actually delivering a letter/package (lump in salaries and benefits). Anytime you charge less for a product/service than it actually costs you to produce/deliver that service it’s a recipe for certain bankruptcy (case-in-point, GM and Chrysler). It’s only matter of time (how much time depends on how much cash reserves you have).

    • The Bruce

      Disregard my second sentence. I apparently skipped over a key sentence in the article.

      Wow talk about a government boondoggle. Labor costs account for nearly 80% of the USPS budget, yet they’re not firing one employee? If I were a government bureaucrat, I guess that would make sense.

  • Dan Kendall

    Everyone – please make an effort to stop using the US MAIL – altogether.

    Send Christmas and Easter “E-Cards” – make sure all your bills are paid online.

    Put ’em out of business. .

    • testplot

      how dare you knock the unions…. they are the snap shot of the federal gov as a whole….just as efficient and useful….. we have the king of thugger-re in the WH. and support coming from the home of the unions cheaters…. Chi town.

    • Tim

      Easier way dummy take all your mail boxes down. sorry i ment Dan

      • Ken

        Tim you are just postal, quit smelling you underware and realize that USPS is soooooo yesterday. Service at the large city postal offices suck and the employees let you know it. 20 peopele walking around with 50 people in line and 1 person working the desk. Take your OZ like world and KMA

    • love the post office

      what are you smoking guy?
      having the post office helps keep postal rates low.
      it’s called Competition. what do you think UPS rates would be without the post office providing the same service.
      Do you have any idea what it would cost you to mail a letter with UPS.
      dollars not 44 cents.

      • JustMe

        Obviously we’re not smoking the same stuff you are. Let me see… There is UPS, FedEx, DHL… I think that should about cover it. Those are the one that can certainly run rings around the USPS in both price and service.

      • The Bruce

        Excuse me, Mr love the post office, but the reason UPS and FedEx rates are what they are is because, under federal law, they’re not allowed to compete with the post office and have to maintain delivery prices set at a certain percentage (set by gov’t, rates vary) above what the post office charges.

        But, seriously, I honestly have no problem with the Post Office. I just think it isn’t necessarily managed properly. Obviously with the advent of the Internet the demand for their services has dropped dramatically. The problem is that they haven’t sufficiently paired down their workforce to match.

    • Been There

      If only it was that simple. They have borrowed $10 Billion from the US Treasury that we know about. Who knows how much the Dems in Congress have shovelled in through the back door.

  • TH3M0N5T3R

    It’s the cost of expensive union LABOR that is the Post Office’s problem. Cut the bloated salaries, bloated benefits, and superfluous positions. THAT is the “reset” that the Postal Service AND the US economy needs.

  • Mark

    Once all the baby boomers die off, the USPS wont have any customers anymore.

  • Geechee

    Congratulations to the Postal Workers Union and your greedy, unsustainable pension demands. You union folks weren’t content to stop at destroying the public education system and the domestic auto industry, so now you can lay claim to having achieved the demise of yet another part of the American way of life. Can’t wait to see what sector you parasites target next.

    • Steven Scott

      sounds pretty truthful to me..

  • DP of MI

    Glad to see the Postal workers having to feel some of the pain. As far as slowing down the mail………….please…………get a grip…………I mail about 5 letters a year now that we have technology that doesn’t hold us hostage to the slow fat slob called a mail person.

  • Mike B

    All the negative comments on the USPS but yet how many of you support Obozocare?

  • Postal Service Confirms Cuts That Will Slow Mail Down « CBS Chicago | Eastaustinvoice’s Weblog

    […] Postal Service Confirms Cuts That Will Slow Mail Down « CBS Chicago. […]

  • howdycomthe great

    It is about time that the Government (such as it is), stopped this “drain”, and farmed out the mail to either UPS or FEDEX. Better, faster service, AND employees who “hustle” not loll around taking their time at work!!!!

  • Doug Tull

    I use the post office every week to run a profitable, small business. As for where the post office finds itself currently, it has everything to do with Congress’ requirement that fund like 70 years of pensions now. No other business has this burden. You all seem to hate your post office and post office workers in general. I’m not sure why. My mail carrier is a great guy and the folks at the local post office are friendly, fast and professional. Typical, right-wing, knee-jerk responses. Predictable and tired.

    • pyramid

      How do you know these people are right-wingers Doug? Is it because Communists are used to long lines and inefficient service so they would never complain?

      • Doug Tull

        Pyramid, Simple. Note the comments that are tried and true Tea Party, Fox News-approved talking points. The Grover Norquist drown in in the bathtub mantra. Take a look at Mike B’s, Erik’s and more comments if you have any doubt where they stand. The Post Office is private anyhow and helps many small businesses acquire new business and retain their current account base. It’s pro business and I can tell you that if many small businesses had to use Fed Ex or DHL, etc, they’d be out of business. Many Americans still depend on the mail. I use email, e-cards, the web, Pay Pal, on-line billing, but there’s still a need to have mail delivery. I guarantee you if the US Postal Service was shuttered tomorrow, you would see massive, costly fallout to the US economy.

      • pyramid

        Doug, so you’re saying if people use rational thought and have some sense of what business is about they must be conservative. I’ll take that as a compliment. Thanks.

  • George

    Raise the stamps to 50 cents, and let’s not hear anymore about it. No more raises, they either keep up, or close, someone will fill the void. If you think you can get it there cheaper, start a delivery service, or drive that birthday card all the way across the country and hand deliver it yourself. Fedex won’t deliver it for half a buck.

  • Someguy

    But not a penny cut from the postal pension plan, and no layoffs.

    • Doug Tull

      Are you kidding me? They are closing multiple facilities, no new hiring, working less employees more hours, and raising rates. They are where they’re at mainly because of unreasonable pension funding requirements made by Congress.

      • Been There

        When I worked at a facility, there was one gal who showed once a month and got paid for the whole freak’in month. Turns out she was banging a supervisor. I also know of a supervisor who was riding the time clock for her boyfriend. Nearly everyone in this plant had at least one family member working there as well, some had several. The first supervisor I mentioned had several, including one who was subsequently fired for lying on her job application. This supervisor actually had a 68 year old relative “hired” as a regular, but who had to quit because it was too strenuous, so then he hired her husband to take her place! One night, the man who was also around 70 was so pale in the face, I was sure he was going to drop dead. He quit soon after.
        The Plant Manager got his job because his dad was a PostMaster nearby. He got his wife a job as PostMaster nearby. They make $200,000 between them that I know about. Who knows how much they’re stealing.


    […] "As a result of the $3 billion in cuts, first-class mail that used to take just one day to deliver will now take two to three days. Stamps will also rise in cost by 1 cent to 45 cents, starting next month." (Link) […]

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