The Postal Service reiterated Friday that it needs Congress to pass legislation to help it stop the losses. Among measures the agency wants: The end of Saturday delivery of letters and some relief from its annual payments due to the health fund.
"Without comprehensive postal reform legislation signed into law, our hands are tied and we expect multi-billion dollar annual losses to continue," Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said.
The Postal Service said it faces a dangerous cash crunch. It must make a payment toward workers compensation benefits by October, leaving it at risk of not being able to pay its operating bills.
Overall losses came despite major cost-cutting. The Postal Service consolidated 104 processing plants, and its roster of career employees, who get full benefits, has fallen to the lowest level since the 1960s.
Unions have been pushing Congress to do away with the mandate on funding future health benefits. They said that absent the payment, the agency would have posted a $660 million profit for the third quarter.
"It makes no sense to degrade service or dismantle a network that is performing well and that provides Americans and businesses with the world's most affordable delivery network," said Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
At the last Postal Service board meeting, officials said they would investigate the possibility of hiking the price of stamps. The current price of a first-class stamp is 46 cents.A one-cent increase went to effect Jan. 28.