Friday, February 24, 2012

US postal service to cut 35,000 jobs as mail plants close

Source: Press TV

The U.S. Postal Service, which predicts an annual loss of $18.2 billion by 2015, plans to eliminate 5.4 percent of its workforce by closing almost half its mail-processing facilities to decrease costs.

The service plans to shut 223 of its 461 mail-processing plants by February 2013, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a telephone interview on Thursday. The closings will cut about 35,000 jobs, said David Partenheimer, a spokesman.

The service is shutting post offices and seeking congressional approval to end Saturday mail delivery as more people use the Internet to correspond and pay bills. Mail volume fell 6 percent in the quarter ended Dec. 31 and may drop 14 percent by 2016, led by declines in first-class mail, the most profitable, the Washington-based service said this month. Bloomberg


The labor cuts will occur through attrition, said David Partenheimer, a spokesman. The service will eliminate about 30,000 full-time jobs with benefits. It will cut about 5,000 temporary positions, which include contract and part-time work and don't carry full benefits.

The Postal Service is in debt due to declining first-class mail volumes and a congressional mandate to prefund retirement healthcare benefits.

Nearly every state is impacted and would lose a mail processing plant, according to the Postal Service list, which includes 14 in California, 12 in New York and 9 in Illinois.

Mail processing plants closures can yield a particularly devastating toll on communities. A plant in Tulsa, Okla., slated to be consolidated, employs nearly 600 employees.

The consolidations will affect four processing centers in Maryland: Cumberland, Easton, Gaithersburg and Waldorf. The Virginia sites are Lynchburg, Norfolk and Roanoke.

The cutbacks also mean the Postal Service would no longer be able to guarantee overnight delivery of some first-class mail.

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