A senator who oversees the Postal Service says the agency's decision to suspend its pension contributions is a warning that the post office is in severe trouble.
Tom Carper of Delaware says unless there's quick action, "the Postal Service as we know it will cease to exist in the very near future."
The post office said today that it will stop making the $115 million payment that it's been making every two weeks as its share of the postal employees' pension fund. It's a move aimed at saving cash for an agency that was $8 billion in the red last year.
A postal spokesman says the move shouldn't have any effect on current retirees -- because there's currently a surplus of nearly $7 billion in the agency's Federal Employee Retirement System account.
The troubles faced by the post office are due in large part to the recession and the switch of a lot of mail business to the Internet.
And the mailing industry is voicing concern about the future of mail delivery -- saying that the Postal Service is "hanging by a thread," along with what it says are millions of private-sector jobs that depend on the mail.