Five day work week would have little effect on local post office

Residents expecting a package in the mail may have one more day of waiting if Congress does not give the U.S. Postal Service a break.
Mid America Regional Spokesman Richard Watkins said on Tuesday the cost-cutting move would be in response to 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that directed the postal service to set up a pension account for current and future postal office retirees. The act directs the postal service to deposit nearly $57 billion into a pension account. Watkins said that last week Postmaster General Jack Potter told Congress that the postal service needs more time.
“We thought we could make it,” Watkins said. “In a good year it would be struggle, but we thought we could swing it.”
Watkins said the postal service is asking that the payments made into the account be spread out over a longer period of time.
“It would be like having a 30-year mortgage and paying it off in five or six years,” Watkins said. “ We’re not asking for a bailout, but something has to give.”
Watkins said moving to a five day week would be a last resort move by the postal service.
Richmond Postmaster Tammie Sullard said this is not the first time she has heard talk of moving to a five day work week, although she said the office window would still be open six days a week. Sullard said every time there is an economic downturn the subject is brought up.
She said the move would have little effect on most of the five carriers the office employs. She said none of them would lose their job, but one may have to float around to different offices.
Watkins said no matter what decision Congress decides to make, benefits for current and future retirees will not be affected.
Photo: Richmond U.S. Post Officer worker Bob Dingus sorts periodicals Tuesday afternoon at the Richmond post office. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)

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