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How P.O. Cutbacks Affect Customers, Workers

SCRANTON — In a few months, the United States Postal Service will stop delivering your mail on Saturdays. It’s supposed to save the cash-strapped Postal service about $2 billion a year, but local post offices say the consequences for customers could be greater,

The post office on Stafford Avenue in Scranton has already been affected by the postal service’s financial troubles; the distribution center there will close later on this year. So, the news of no more Saturday deliveries didn’t come as a surprise to employees. They say it’ll just take even longer for mail to be delivered.

Out of a small office in south Scranton, the Make A Wish foundation coordinates kids’ wishes in 11 different counties. Their work needs to be done quickly and most of it by regular mail. So, when the Postmaster General announced that the postal service will stop Saturday deliveries, Make A wish reached out to all its volunteers to say deadlines are now tighter and the way they send mail may now change.

“Documents that we’d typically send via the postal service we will probably have to start sending UPS or Fed Ex so it gets there in a more timely fashion. That’s going to affect our bottom line because there’s going to be an increase of cost,” said Make A Wish regional manager Maggie O’Brien.

For the average customer, the postal service says not much will change. When the Monday through Friday delivery schedule goes into effect in August, you can still visit a post office on Saturdays to buy stamps, but your mail will sit there until Monday, adding a day or two to your delivery time.

“I think it’s OK because they need to cut back somewhere. And I guess that’s the place to do it, they have to start somewhere,” said Elizabeth Hilton of Moosic.

The move is supposed to save the USPS $2 billion a year but, Scranton’s local director of the American Postal Workers union says it may be the beginning of the end for the postal service.

“Basically, we feel like it’s tearing apart piece by piece. They’re constantly consolidating, they’re cutting themselves to shreds little by little,” said Kevin Gallagher.

Gallagher says folks in the northeast will actually be hit twice by USPS cuts this year. Before Saturday deliveries are eliminated, the mail distribution center also on Stafford Avenue will shut down and your mail will have to travel farther to the Lehigh Valley, in a shorter amount of time.

“You remember Western Union? I remember when I was a child seeing the businesses and that. i heard a commercial and i thought ‘jeez, I haven’t seen a Western Union in decades’. That’s my fear for the post office,” said Gallagher.

Saturday deliveries of mail will stop nationwide in the first week of August. Meanwhile, workers at the distribution center in Scranton will start phasing out operations next week. The 300 jobs there are in limbo.


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