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U.S. Postal Service Plans to Close 250 Processing Facilities

The U.S. Postal Service, facing  financial losses that may top $10 billion by the end of the month, has announced plans to close hundreds of facilities that sort the mail as part of a four-year effort to cut $20 billion, slash hundreds of thousands of jobs and permanently reshape itself as a leaner organization, the Washington Post reports.

Speaking at a news conference in D.C., Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the postal service is trying to balance access with keeping costs down. The U.S. Postal Service says it may close more than 250 mail processing facilities and could also cut 35,000 jobs.

“The sobering reality is that first-class mail volume lost will not return,” said USPS Chief Operating Officer Megan J. Brennan. “People are communicating and paying bills electronically, and we project a continued decline.”In the past decade, deliveries of first-class mail — the most popular and profitable mode — have plummeted by nearly 50 percent. Postal officials said Thursday that they no longer need a coast-to-coast delivery network originally established to process first-class mail overnight, preparing envelopes, catalogs and packages that travel only a few ZIP codes away for delivery the next morning.

The USPS plans to review the fate of 252 of its 487 mail-processing facilities in the next three months in hopes of shrinking the number of plants to fewer than 200 by 2013. The changes would result in the elimination of 35,000 mail-processing jobs, part of a broader plan to cut 150,000 positions by 2015.

Feasibility studies of the processing plants are in addition to the possible closure of at least 3,700 post offices nationwide and a push for congressional approval of long-sought reforms.

Lawmakers are considering four competing bills that would generally grant the USPS the flexibility to end Saturday mail deliveries, close post offices based on market conditions and recalculate how much it pays annually into federal retirement, health-care and workers’ compensation funds. Although the USPS is a self-funding entity that doesn’t collect taxpayer money, it is the largest contributor to those accounts.

 

 

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