Officials: U.S. Postal Service in 'big trouble' - News, Weather & Sports

Officials: U.S. Postal Service in 'big trouble'

(NBC) - The U.S. Postal Service is in big trouble. It's strapped for cash, billions in the red, and will probably fall short on a big health insurance payment due next month.

What does it mean to you?  Local post offices could soon close its doors for good and the agency is considering cutting all mail delivery on Saturdays to save money.

The postal service continues to become victim to the latest in mail delivery - email.  Mail carriers note they are delivering fewer letters to a growing amount of homes, causing the service to lose money.

"The Post Office has to adjust to this or go the way of the horse and buggy," says Sen. John McCain.

The agency will end this year $7 billion in the red and won't make a $5.5 billion retiree health insurance payment due September 30.

"Somebody's [going to] pay, aren't they? That somebody's [going to] be the ratepayer or the U.S. taxpayer," Sen. Tom Coburn.

The Postmaster General is looking at more cost-cutting, even if it includes the closing of nearly 700 facilities.

"I need a place to come at lunch time to drop off my mail. It's very inconvenient. I would have to go way across town," says Zanetta Berard of Baton Rouge, LA.

"America loves them. We want to keep as many as we can, but we cannot just sell stamps in those outlets," responds Postmaster General Jack Potter.

However, one senator says all those changes amount to less than 1 percent of operating costs, and postal worker unions are at odds over whether to reduce that massive insurance payment.

"Funding a 75-year liability over just 10 years just isn't feasible," says Fredric Rolando of the Letter Carriers Union.

"This is a mean-spirited amendment that undermines the collective bargaining process," adds the AFL-CIO's William Burruss.

The U.S. Senate is looking at temporarily reducing that insurance payment, but there's big disagreement on how much to cut because the inspector general, regulators and the government are all using different estimates on how much health costs may rise.

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