Postal Service to Begin Closing Plants This Summer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with a multibillion-dollar cost-cutting plan that would involve closing nearly 250 mail processing centers. It says it can no longer wait as Congress remains deadlocked over how to help.
At a news briefing, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the agency's mail processing network became too big, given declining first-class mail volume and mounting debt. It will now consolidate nearly 250 plants as originally proposed, including 48 this summer, but will stretch out the remainder over a longer time frame in 2013 and 2014.
Earlier this month, nearly half the Senate had written letters to Donahoe asking that he hold off on closing any mail facility until Congress could pass final postal overhaul legislation. The Senate last month passed a bill that would halt many of the closings. The House remains stalled over a separate postal measure allowing for more aggressive cuts.
Under the modified approach, up to 140 processing centers will be consolidated by next February -- roughly 48 in August and about 90 next January and February. Closings would be suspended during the Postal Service's busy election and holiday mail season. Another 89 closings would occur in 2014.
The consolidations are initially expected to reduce postal staff by 13,000 and save the struggling mail agency roughly $1.2 billion annually. By the time the full round of cuts is implemented by late 2014, the post office will have 28,000 fewer employees with estimated annual savings of $2.1 billion.
There are currently no plans for any Missouri processing centers to close, according to the U.S. Postal Service website.