Archive for Thursday, September 15, 2011

Postal Service proposes cuts in processing centers

September 15, 2011, 11:23 a.m. Updated September 15, 2011, 3:24 p.m.


— The financially troubled Postal Service said Thursday it may close more than 250 mail processing facilities across the country and plans to reduce service standards for first-class mail in an effort to cut costs.

The steps are part of a broad effort to cut costs for the agency that lost $8.5 billion last year and is facing ever more red ink this year as the Internet siphons off the lucrative first-class mail and the stagnant economy holds down the growth of advertising mail. Over the last five years mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion items..

"We are radically realigning the way we process and deliver the mail," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic."

Postal officials said 252 mail processing facilities across the country will be reviewed over the next three months for possible closing. Currently there are 487 such offices. That's in addition to about 3,700 local post offices also being reviewed for closure. Closing the mail-processing facilities could affect 35,000 workers.

Locally, residents of Lecompton have voiced concerns that the post office there is vulnerable, but it is neither a processing facility, nor is it on the postal service's list of 3,700 possible closures. The town has been without a postmaster for three years, and mail carriers now report to Perry. But in an August town hall meeting, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins assured residents she would do all she could to spare the post office. Processing facilities in Topeka, Colby, Dodge City, Hays, Hutchinson, Liberal and Salina will be considered in the study.

In addition, the agency said it plans to reduce current delivery standards for first-class mail. Such mail is now supposed to be delivered in one-to-three days depending on how far it has to go. That will be changed to two-to-three days, meaning mailers could no longer expect next-day delivery in their local community.

Officials said that could have some impact on commercial mailers but individual customers are not likely to notice the change. They promised to work with businesses to help solve any problems the change might cause.

The closings and service changes could save the post office as much as $3 billion annually and are part of an effort to reduce annual costs by $6.5 billion. Other savings are being sought through requests that Congress allow the post office to eliminate mail delivery on Saturdays and change or eliminate an annual $5.5 billion payment the post office is required to make into a fund to cover future retiree medical benefits.

Last year the Postal Service had revenue of $67 billion and expenses of $75 billion.

"Cutting costs is essential to saving the Postal Service and the 8 million private sector workers whose jobs rely on it," said Art Sackler, coordinator of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, an industry trade group. "The Coalition welcomes this important step and looks forward to the details. But what's needed even more are fundamental reforms only Congress can make."


Liberty275 6 years, 7 months ago

Don't forget, kiddies, always look for the union label!

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh, I don't know, ole Liberty275. That U.S. Postal Service is pretty bloated at the top. The 2nd highest paid Federal Public Official........2nd only to the President is one Postmaster General: Patrick R. Donahoe:

See that there? "Annual Base Salary" is code speak for he got him plenty of perks.....

kshiker 6 years, 7 months ago

$245,000 in salary to run a $65 billion a year company. In my opinion, he probably deserves a little more compensation.

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

The mail carriers; mail handlers; etc. are the ones who need more compensation. It's the best postal system in the world. Name a better one, if you can. The reason it's the best in the world is not because of the management "culture", either: Fraught with patronage; nepotism; and all the other great aspects of the wealthy.

kshiker 6 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps they would be paid more if the unions would not make the organization employ 35,000 workers that are not required for the continued operation of the service. As usual, the unions are sucking a previously successful operation dry.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

A number of years ago I owned a bar. Postal workers were some of my best customers. They spent 2-3 hours each there. All on the clock, I might add.

deec 6 years, 7 months ago

I see nothing in the article that says the post office was forced to hire 35,000 unneeded workers. I see a reference to 35,000 people losing their jobs because there is a decline in mail being processed. How is this the fault of the union?

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

The bravado and arrogance of the wealthy shine nicely in Kansas, a right to get the shaft state.

However, Kansas workers shall continue to be under the jackboot of posters like kshiker until they once and for all organize.

Him that has gets, eh, kshiker?

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face -- forever."

kshiker 6 years, 7 months ago

That is exactly what we need in Kansas. More union thugs running around threatening businesses who do not use union labor. Thank heavens Kansas is a right to work state.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. If anything he is severely underpaid for what he does...

bevy 6 years, 7 months ago

You guys forget - it's o.k. to make that much money if you're the CEO of a for-profit corporation. But if you do similar work and your employer is the government, it is automatically worth a lot less, and you should grovel to the rest of the country for "sucking off the government teat."

Sharon Aikins 6 years, 7 months ago

Ironically, I use first class mail on all my internet sales and USPS doesn't have printing of that online. I have to use PayPal and it costs a lot more, or else use an online postage service. If they want us to use 1st class, they should make it more accessible to us.

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