WASHINGTON (AP) -
The U.S. Postal Service reported a $1.9 billion loss for the first three
months of this year and pleaded again Friday for reforms to its troubled
The agency said the
loss for the quarter that ended March 31 matched the $1.9 billion in red ink
in the same period last year and marked the 20th time of the last 22
quarters that it posted a loss.
It came despite a
2.3 percent rise in its operating revenue and continued cost-cutting
efforts. Postal officials have said repeatedly that they need comprehensive
legislation that includes more control over its personnel and benefit costs
and more flexibility in pricing and products. Though various legislative
proposals have been advanced, Congress has not passed a bill with the
“The Postal Service
is working diligently to improve its finances by streamlining our network to
improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and increase revenue, which was
up $379 million over the same period last year - the third straight quarter
of revenue increase,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a
statement. “However, we will still incur annual inflationary cost increases
... and first-class mail volume continues to decline.”
Details in the
report for the second quarter of the budget year, compared to the same
period last year, included:
was $16.7 billion, an increase of $379 million or 2.3 percent.
before non-cash workers’ compensation expenses were cut to $17.9 billion
from $18.1 billion, a 1.1 percent improvement.
-Total mail volume
fell to 38.1 billion pieces from 38.8 billion pieces.
-Volume in shipping
and packages rose 7.3 percent.
declined 4.1 percent.
The Postal Service
is an independent agency that receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day
operations but is subject to congressional control. It has asked to end most
Saturday deliveries, a move it says could save about $2 billion annually.
And it’s seeking to reduce its congressionally mandated $5.6 billion annual
payment for future retiree health benefits.
requirement for future retiree health benefits accounts for the brunt of the
agency’s red ink.
and the agency has
defaulted on a number of the congressionally-mandated payments. Officials
note the solution to their financial problems is much larger than just
addressing the retiree issue.
“Some comments in
recent news reports suggest that all we need from Congress is help with
restructuring our retiree health benefit plan,” chief financial officer
Joseph Corbett said. “Nothing can be further from the truth. Our liabilities
exceed our assets by $42 billion and we have a need for more than $10
billion to invest in new delivery vehicles, package sortation equipment, and
other deferred investments.
“We haven’t been
making the retiree health benefit prefunding payments because we can’t,”
Corbett said, adding that if the retiree requirement was reduced, it still
wouldn’t give the agency any more cash to pay down its debt or put needed
capital into the business.
postal legislation ... will provide the necessary cash flows,” Corbett said.