35,000 Pink Slips Are In The Mail For USPS Employees

As we wrote back in September, the U.S. Postal Service was looking at closing more than half of its mail processing centers around the nation, which was predicted would translate into around 35,000 lost jobs. Last night, the USPS finally announced that while some of those centers have survived the executioner’s blade, the number of layoffs will remain about the same.

In all, 223 of the 264 processing facilities that had been considered for possible closure or consolidation will be affected. See the full list of facilities (PDF) here.

These closures mean that 30,000 full-time and 5,000 “non-career” positions — covering everything from mail handlers to mechanics to maintenance employees to managers — will no longer be needed.

There is no general timeline for when the layoffs and closures will actually take place, though the existing moratorium prevents USPS from closing any facilities until May.

As for those buildings that will be shuttered entirely, the Postal Service says it will decide on a case by case basis what it does with the property.

All of these closing, consolidations and cannings are part of USPS’ plan to pull itself out of the debt quicksand in which it’s currently trapped. It’s claiming that all this trimming down will result in more than $2 billion in cost savings.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. CharlesFarley says:

    I wonder how long it will take to get these out in the mail?

    • Jake Bechtold says:

      Actually, they’re going to be sending these out via email (*insert rimshot*) :-D

    • MeowMaximus says:

      And I wonder how may of these employees will actually be fired once the union has its say? My money is on “None”.

      • novajosh says:

        I thought Congress does not even allow postal employees to be laid off, so it might just be early retirement for them all.

  2. clippy2.0 says:

    Because I care about my home state, interesting that both of the NH ones looked at we’re not approved for consolidation. Does that mean they are not closing any in NH?

    • yurei avalon says:

      Hopefully not, Nashua doesn’t have enough post offices at it is. Two locations to serve 80k people is just obnoxious. I’m staring at the box on my desk that I need to mail out in dread while I consider how long the lines are, on a Saturday especially which is the only time I can go. Stupid international packages…

      I’d just send it Fedex through work if I thought it wouldn’t cost the recipient any brokerage fees.

      • Guppy06 says:

        The only thing the Click-N-Ship page at usps.com can’t do for international shipments is First Class International, which can’t be used if it weighs more than 4 lb anyway. Better yet, you’ll get a discount over the retail price of postage. Additionally, if you’re worried about weighing the package, all the flat-rate envelopes and boxes for Priority and Express Mail can also be used for international shipments.

        Otherwise, does your local post office have one of the Automated Postal Centers?

        • ChuckECheese says:

          Most of the post offices in Phoenix removed the postal centers. Dunno why. I’m guessing to protect postal-people jobs.

  3. newmie says:

    They just need to raise the price of mail to 60 cents a letter or more. Anyone who thinks UPS or FEDEX, or anyone else will do that job for less is nuts. They won’t do that job at all. Maybe if you pay $5 per envelope.

    • EnergyStarr says:

      it would be easy for FedEx and UPS to compete with this price; IF they were legally allowed, which they are not.

      • RandomHookup says:

        They are using USPS to deliver many of their packages. I don’t think FedEx/UPS want to compete in this market because they’d have to deliver to every address daily and they have stockholders to think about.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          Yeah, I can’t imagine any private entity fighting over the contract to deliver mail to every address for a flat price, regardless of how rural an area is or how far the mail is going.

      • Powerlurker says:

        The minimum price to send a letter by UPS or FedEx is far higher than the statutory minimum.

      • gttim says:

        You need to look up “universal delivery.” It is a requirement for the USPS. No corporation would ever undertake that at prices anywhere near what the USPS charges. Nor at 10 times the prices.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      No, they need to rescind the law that requires them to fund their pension obligations 75 years in advance. There is no reason they should have to fund pensions for workers who haven’t even been born yet.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        I keep seeing people say that, but I would rather just look at the GAO’s report on the USPS’ portion of their pension and healthcare obligations – taken together they still are not fully funded on an actuarial basis. That in and of itself is a bit of a shell game, as they can assume 7% returns on assets to cover future liabilities, even if real returns have been 3%.

        So we’re having the USPS fund much more than the industry average, yet they are still underfunded. What does that say about the industry? I’d rather force everyone with pensions to fund more accurately and use more accurate estimates rather than continue bad behavior. This is one of the few places that I think the government needs to increase regulation and enforcement.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          It will be interesting to see which crashes first — municipal and government pension obligations or the overall health care system.

          • TuxthePenguin says:

            I hadn’t thought to see which does first.

            Might want to throw in higher education. By most metrics, that’s a bubble too.

        • tinmanx says:

          I work for in the public sector and opted not to join the pension, everyone has been telling me how dumb I am for not joining. Seeing all this pension talk in the past few years, I’m beginning to think the move wasn’t as bad as everyone tells me it is. Who knows if there will be a pension 30 years from now with the rate things are going.

          • goodcow says:

            It depends which state you’re in.

            NY state pensions are constitutionally protected and, theoretically at least, pensioners would be ahead of the line to collect against muni-bond holders.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Why not convert from a defined benefit pension to a defined contribution system?

        • Liam Kinkaid says:

          Why not thrust them (and Congress, while we’re at it) into the 401(k)/403(c) marketplace like the rest of the American public?

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            Yes, why not?

            Is there a single company or government agency with a defined benefit pension system that is actually solvent, without relying in ridiculously high projected returns, and overall market or population growth?

            I’m not terribly happy with this issue — My city just issued a “temporary” tax increase to cover a $4.5 million dollar hole in its pension budget because it relied on a projected 12% growth in its investments.

          • AEN says:

            New congressmen are in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) already – which IS a glorified 401k system.

    • Thorzdad says:

      Unfortunately, USPS can’t just raise their rates whenever they need. They have to get Congress’ approval for any rate increases.

    • jamar0303 says:

      You’ve got to be kidding me. I can send mail from CHINA to the US for that price.

  4. eezy-peezy says:

    I wish they would fire some of the clueless counter clerks, like the one who gives me the third degree when I would mail something Media Mail. “Is it a book?” “What kind of book?”

    Also she did not believe Media Mail was a part of Parcel Services, so when I had a DC slip filled out with Parcel checked, she would cross it out, draw in a new check box, write “Media” next to it, and check it.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Fortunately I now print all my postage online and don’t have to deal with counter clerks anymore.

    • SabreDC says:

      Actually, not all books qualify for media mail. The clerk was right in asking you. If the book you send contains any type of handwritten notes (i.e. used academic textbooks with highlighting in them) or any type of personalization, it technically does not qualify for media mail. However, unless the post office is completely empty and the clerk is bored, they will take your word for it rather than flip through the pages. But they still have to ask.

  5. wren337 says:

    1) 3 days a week delivery. Every post office has one M/W/F delivery zone, and one T/Th/S delivery zone.
    2) Significantly increase the “bulk mail” rate, to the point that the volume of junk mail significantly decreases, and the remainder is profitable.
    3) Profit??

  6. millacd says:

    i find it funny that so much whining goes on in this country about the postal service. It is not nearly as corrupt, slow, inept, or expensive as other countries. I personally find it miraculous that I can send a letter from south carolina to freakin hawaii for 45 cents. they send millions of letters and packages every day. its not like some of them aren’t going to get lost occasionally. I’ve never had anything of mine lost though. raise the prices, its not like people need to pay bills with stamps. direct billing and paying on the internet are two free ways around that.

    • Darury says:

      So to shorten your response: Stop complaining and be glad it’s not more corrupt? Or “it could be worse”?

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      This is true. I’ve lived in several European countries and believe me, we should count our blessings as far as the postal service is concerned. It’s reliable, cheap and fast in comparison. I was living in Italy when the Italian Postal Service got so far behind in mail delivery (in some cases packages were YEARS behind) they gathered old undelivered mail, bulldozed it all into huge mail mountains, and set it all on fire so they could “start fresh.”

      In Rome, if you were sending a letter or package out of the country, you mailed it from the Vatican. If you were in northern Italy, you drove to Switzerland, Austria, or France to mail anything.

      The middle European countries weren’t much better. And they were all expensive.

  7. dolemite says:

    Of course Tea Partiers will be cheering. It’s never a good thing when good paying jobs are permanently lost in our country. They are a dying breed as-is, no matter if it’s government or private sector. Who cares if we lower the unemployment rate if they are all minimum wage jobs? What kind of purchasing power do they have when insurance is $900 a month and gas is $4-$5 a gallon.

    • fsnuffer says:

      So what you are saying is the USPS scaled their workforce to handle a volume they thought would be 20% greater that did not materialize and they should just keep the excess employees sitting around doing nothing?

      • exit322 says:

        I read it more as “I just hope no one celebrates that we’re losing 35,000 jobs” than a plea to keep jobs that are redundant.

      • voogru says:

        That’s the only fair thing to do, you know? It’s the governments job to create jobs for everyone.

        The next step is to ban all forms of heavy machinery so that manual labor has to be used instead.

        We’ll start with combine harvesters.

  8. mikedt says:

    As much as I hate seeing 35k people lose their jobs – especially in this economy – this was a long time coming. I have something like 9 post offices within a 5-6 mile radius of my home. That’s just insane.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      If you’re in Montana, yeah, that’s ridiculous. If you’re in NYC, that’s probably a little low.

      • bhr says:

        Not really. I’m not far from the OP here, and I drive by 3 just going to the gym. And these aren’t post offices, but processing centers anyway. The reality is that a job like that works more efficiently with greater volume, so 100 people at 4 locations can be replaced by, (guessing) 250 at one location.

  9. nikalseyn says:

    The USPS is top-heavy with managers and under-represented by anyone with common sense and ability. They still pay high government wages; continue to offer very low premiums to employees for their health care; give out huge bonuses to high-level supervisors; and sign contracts with the unions which forbid layoffs. Then, to add insult to injury, they want to stop Saturday delivery because it “costs too much.” I suggest Congress make it legal for a private company to deliver first class mail, the same as they can legally deliver packages. Let a company like FedEx or UPS or someone new show these government goof-offs how to run a business. The USPS has become what teachers in public schools are: overpaid and under-worked government employees.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      Actually, that’s what’s happening. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. This requires the USPS to fund their pension and future retiree health care obligations 75 years in the future. No other government entity is held to this requirement. This $5 billion hit puts the USPS squarely into the red, when it would have been profitable otherwise.

      I can only imagine that the congressmen involved in this bill have a sweetheart deal with private carriers to spin-off the USPS once it is “insolvent” enough. These private companies will not have the same mandate that the USPS has, namely to deliver to every address. The private companies will take only the profitable routes and prices across the board will go up without having the USPS to compete with.

      The only people to benefit from private companies taking over mail delivery would be the private companies and their bedfellows in congress. The American public will be the ones getting fleeced.

    • Scuba Steve says:

      Oh you. So clever.

    • tooluser says:

      For a while I had a mailman who weighed 400 lbs. Really. I don’t know if he expeired on the job, quit, or what, but he’s no longer around.

    • colonel62359 says:

      What’s wrong with stopping Saturday delivery? Canada Post (and Purolator/UPS/FedEx) only deliver Monday-Friday unless you pay an exorbitant fee for a weekend delivery…

  10. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Is this another one of those “nudges in an encouraging direction”?

  11. DrMcFacekick says:

    “All of these closing, consolidations and cannings are part of USPS’ plan to pull itself out of the debt quicksand in which it’s currently trapped.”

    Didn’t we all come to a unanimous decision that this “debt quicksand” is because of the USPS having to fund their pensions out for the next 75 years? And yet every comment before this is accusing the USPS of being an out of control agency full of bureaucratic ineptitude? Did I miss a memo somewhere?

  12. keith4298 says:

    With any luck – they’ll get lost in the mail.

  13. scoosdad says:

    Fortunately for those receiving the pink slips, they assigned Newman to deliver them.

    They’re all in a storage bin in Jerry’s basement by now.

    • RiverStyX says:

      “I’m still collecting checks, I’m just not delivering mail.”

      “Well, get it out of my storage. It’s illegal.”

  14. mszabo says:

    I thought the Postal Employee’s Union has been getting no-layoff clauses into the employee’s contracts for a while now. So Is it really 35K layoffs, or just 35K people who will sit around drinking coffee all day until they retire?

  15. sherrietee says:

    I don’t get mail delivery. I have to go to the post office to collect it. (fortunately, it’s only about a third of a mile from me) Maybe if more people had to collect their mail rather than have it delivered it would be less of an expense?

    • Guppy06 says:

      The USPS pushes PO and cluster boxes when they can, but people don’t like them. Apparently curbside or door-to-door delivery is considered part of the American Dream of Homeownership or some such.

      Personally, I prefer the cluster boxes; my mail is under lock and key, including any parcels.

  16. juggler314 says:

    I have some neighbors who have two different relatives that work for the USPS…anytime a discussion of closing anything related to the USPS comes up they disagree simply because they don’t want anyone to lose a job. I’m not even sure how to respond to that (so I keep my mouth shut…).

    • CharlesFarley says:

      It is just like talking to a City of Chicago employee. Their world view is that it is the city’s obligation to provide the most number of jobs possible vs. the city’s obligation to provide services which requires employees to fulfill at a level of employment that is comparable to the private sector.

      Example: Streets and Sanitation refuses to upgrade to a more modern garbage truck that require fewer people to man it b/c fewer people on the truck means less patronage jobs which means less power for those in control.

    • kenj0418 says:

      Suppose that the cuts would all be by attrition. Not that its particularly likely, but at least you might be able to get them to discuss the issue on its merits instead of on protecting their friends’ jobs.

  17. captadam says:

    As big of a supporter of the USPS as I am, I see that these cuts are just killing the level of service, which is further decreasing the amount of business they do.

    Case in point … I work at a college that uses the local post office boxes for its students’ mail. I was preparing a mailing for all seniors, about 450 in all. We wanted to send the mailing using the nonprofit organization rate. However, mailing it in that way can take a few days. Because the post office boxes were all located in the same building as we would be dropping the mail, I asked whether the mailing could be distributed within the office rather then sent to a central sorting facility 50 miles away and sent back. Of course, it could not be done that way.

    So, in order to get mail from the window in the post office to boxes a few yards away, it first had to make a 100-mile round trip. Genius.

    • Powerlurker says:

      FedEx does a similar thing. An overnight letter to one town over will go through Memphis first.

    • RandomHookup says:

      It’s not like the mail is traveling alone. That truck would be going there regardless of whether or not you mailed these. Efficiency sometimes overtakes effectiveness.

      • captadam says:

        450 envelopes. Five yards. Five days.

        That’s not efficient for the customer. Moreover, those kinds of turnaround times further decrease mail volume in an environment that’s already bad for the USPS.

    • oblivious87 says:

      This really isn’t always the case. Most post offices will have a box for “Local Mail” which they will process in house rather then sending to their nearest sorting facility. In fact, I haven’t been to a post office who didn’t have this option, so I’m not sure what is wrong with your post office.

      The sorting machines that scan the mail are simply amazing. These devices can sort dozens of pieces of mail in a few seconds. Each piece of mail is then placed in a bin based on a route. Longer routes, get more bins so all the mail can be easily sorted by hand by your postal worker.

      Even though it might make more sense to drop off a box of mail a few miles away at another post office, a truck is already running between the sorting facility daily, so while you might save a day on the mail by pre-sorting it manually at the post office, anyone else who isn’t local will end up having a longer delay because they have to be pre-sorted. Plus the machines make far less errors then humans and run at a higher pace.

      I don’t know about you, but the bulk of my outgoing letters are going out of town, and I’d assume this is the case for most users, so it makes more sense to go the route of having everything go through a sorting machine and having the daily trips do the work rather then adding another route between local offices.

    • Guppy06 says:

      Um… who did you talk to, and how long ago was this? Sounds like it should have been allowed as a DDU mailing to me.

      • captadam says:

        The local postmaster, three weeks ago.

        … This office eliminated local mail sorting a year or so ago. All mail, including local mail, must go to a central facility. No exceptions–not even for a large mailing with a permit going to the local zip code.

        The bigger issue, I think, is the seeming arbitrary nature of postage regulations. A lack of good service encourages organizations to communicate in ways other than USPS mail.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          In a similar vein, on the news this morning I heard that all mail-sorting centers in Tucson would be closed, and the mail will be sorted in Phoenix sorting centers. The Tucson metro has a population of just over a million people, and it’s about 120 miles from Tucson to Phoenix. I don’t see how this will save money.

        • varro says:

          That’s actually the same centralized sorting that UPS uses – all the packages go to Louisville, through the sorting facility, then back…

    • Not Given says:

      I can’t mail things in the same town, they have to send it to a sorting facility 130 miles away then send it back. They used to have a separate box for local mail they could cancel the stamp and put it in the boxes or sort it for the different routes. I started paying things in person or by bill pay.

  18. dpeters11 says:

    I’ve pretty much switched to a PO Box, and I even get an email that I’ve got mail so no wasted trips. Of course there are not enough to give everyone one, but marketing them (and being able to accept most UPS/Fedex packages on your behalf) could drive some business to them where they don’t have to come to you.

  19. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    One of our large postal processing centers is closing, and it’s the one where my local post office sends/receives mail. So now the mail that was processed in a center about 30 miles away will go to Harrisburg instead. The processing center they’re closing as a high efficiency rate, and the one in Harrisburg, not so great.

    Selfishly, all I could think of was “I wonder how long my Netflix DVD’s will take to get to my house?” Currently, when they mail them from the Harrisburg facility, I get them the next day. I’m thinking this isn’t going to be the case from now on.

    • Kestris says:

      We have a Netflix distribution center here, right now it takes 1-2 days. Now it’ll take 2-3 days for turnover on DVDs.}:/

  20. carlogesualdo says:

    I wonder how long it will take to make this happen – if ever. How long have they been talking about reducing the delivery week to five days? YEARS. If they had taken action instead of talking it to death, they might have been back in the black by now.

  21. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Hopefully my postie is on that list. He misses our street once a week, puts mail in the wrong boxes, is foul tempered, and goes for the g-force accelerating his truck and braking hard at each post box. I miss my old postie.

  22. ARP says:

    It says the mail processing centers are being closed, not the actual post offices. So Congress hard at work protecting their reelection by not closing any PO’s in their districts, even if they should be.

    So they can’t close PO’s, they can’t raise rates, they have to prefund their pensions for 75 years, and they have to charge a flat rate for letters going anywhere in the country. And you think they’re just being inefficient?

  23. dush says:

    They just need to not have to over fund health care for 75 years out.
    Come on Congress. Stop spending so much money and needing to bilk the Post Office.

  24. DrPizza says:

    I’m amazed at all the whining that has gone on about the post office – whining from clueless individuals on both sides of the issue. Fact: the amount of “important” mail per household has been declining as more and more bills are sent online, and paid online. BUT, God forbid the post office management make a sensible business decision such as ending Saturday deliveries (the postal union is also against this because it would cut jobs.) Or the even better suggestion earlier – every other day deliveries, alternating days.

    And only an idiot believes that a private company would be able to take over the services of the USPS. Don’t believe me? Deliver 1 envelope to every house in my town for 45 cents per envelope. You’d lose money just paying for fuel for the vehicle, not to mention paying someone hourly.

  25. Southern says:

    Wouldn’t matter. Most of the offices being closed are those that brought in sales of LESS THAN $27,500 a year (Many of them had incomes of less than $50 per day), but have expenses of over $100,000 per year.

    I don’t care how much you raise the price of stamps, you’re not going to cover that kind of gap.

    If you can close that Post Office with little impact to the surrounding community (such as having a nearby store double as a post office, as many already do), then go for it.

    Yeah, it sucks that 35,000 people get laid off, but if the Post Office doesn’t remain solvent, then in the end it’s going to be taxpayer money paying their salaries.

  26. cworet says:

    At the local post office which is mainly rural route carriers the following happens:

    - Priority Mail is always late to the post office and the carriers have to go back and redeliver, which is compensated back in the carrier in time and mileage.

    - First class mail is sometimes not all there so the carriers again have to go back and redeliver at the and additional cost.

    - The USPS has folks that go out to the individual post offices and check to make sure there is no mail/items on floor and that carriers have NO personal effects in their case. IMHO this is a BS position created for some union idiot that serves no real purpose. That is the job of the postmaster at each location.

    - There is no way that employees can make valuable changes to the procedures that are so ingrained.

    - Rural route carries are not highly paid and compensated for vehicles that they own and maintain. The USPS conducts a “mail count” once a year to determine each route’s time and mileage. This is done during a two week period that is between the big volume days, ie SS check’s, utility bills etc.

    The USPS methods and practices would fail if a private biz did the same thing.

  27. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Yep, our main PO is on that list.

    I guess the THIRD LARGEST CITY IN THE STATE isn’t good enough to have a post office. Also, thanks SOOO much for making it harder for me to find a job, now that a whole bunch more people are flooding the market!

  28. Kestris says:

    One of those mail processing centers up for closure is my town of Roanoke, Va. Which means our mail will reroute to be sorted in Gtreensboro, NC. Which sucks for the people of Lynchburg, as their mail is already routed to the Roanoke sorting facility. The thinking is by June that it’ll be closed. So much for the unemployment rate starting to drop.

    http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/305340

  29. CreditSense-CreditRecovery says:

    Off the top of my head I can think of 3 better business models for the Post Office. Clearly however, another 35,000 job seekers added to unemployment does not bode well for economic recovery.

  30. edrebber says:

    Most of the workers are delivery boys, stock clerks or cashiers and they make at least 50K per year plus benefits. No other industry pays these types of workers such a high salary. If the post office didn’t have a monopoly on delivering mail to mailboxes, they would be out of business.

  31. RiverStyX says:

    Starting to feel the chilling effect two weeks after this article was written, just got my first complaint today that one of my deliveries was lost in the mail – despite having a tracking number and everything. Be careful when shipping, buy insurance for anything expensive.