U.S. Postal Service Set To Close Or Combine 229 Mail Processing Sites

The U.S. Postal Service has announced its next step in the belt-tightening process of trying to cut down on its costs. It will close or consolidate operations at 140 mail processing sites through February 2013, said a postal official.

Reuters cites USPS Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan who said that the closing or consolidation of those 140 sites is one part of a two-phase process. The second involves another wave of shutting down or combining operations at 89 additional facilities beginning in February 2014.

Facing a loss of $14 billion this year, the USPS had previously announced some drastic measures, including closing down a rumored 3,700 of its 32,000 post offices. That plan was recently replaced with one that would instead reduce hours at those locations, saving the USPS about half a billion dollars.

This all started in February when the USPS announced it would have to cut jobs, close post offices, get rid of Saturday delivery and raise stamp prices in order to save money. Those plans are on hold as the government furrows its collective brow over how to save the USPS using other measures.

U.S. Postal Service to close or consolidate 140 sites [Reuters]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Jules Noctambule says:

    At this rate, they might not need those generations of benefits they’ve been forced to pre-fund.

  2. krom says:

    The obvious solution is to eliminate the poison pill requirement passed in 2006 that requires USPS to pre-pay its retirement and health benefits for the next 75 years.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/09/28/330524/postal-non-crisis-post-office-save-itself/

    “[A]lmost all of the postal service’s losses over the last four years can be traced back to a single, artificial restriction forced onto the Post Office by the Republican-led Congress in 2006. At the very end of that year, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). USPS was forced to prefund health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years within 10 years, meaning that it has had to spend billions of dollars to pay for the benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something that no other government or private corporation is required to do. [I]f PAEA was never enacted, USPS would actually be facing a $1.5 billion surplus today:”

    Silly me for expecting the media to pay attention to that.

    In case you don’t know, the Congress at that time was run by Republicans. And Republicans abhor all (non-lethal) government agencies, including the one that delivers our Christmas cards. In case you didn’t know that either.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Damn youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu Evilbama!!!!!!

    • clippy2.1 says:

      I don’t understand how this comes up everytime the USPS is brought up, but when it comes to any action from Congress, or even mention in the media, its never brought to our attention. Seems insane. It seems akin to having to buy title insurance for your children when you turn 18, to be sure that when you have kids, they have insurance for their house title when they buy it. Completely insane!

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I wish my city would have been more concerned about the 2010’s back in the 1940 – 1970’s when the city’s economy and population was booming. Instead, they consistently underfunded the pension, made promises that were impossible to keep, didn’t maintain infrastructure, and stuck future residents with the bill.

        It’s tough to keep up with the legacy pension, health care, and infrastructure costs when our population is 60% of what it used to be.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      I’m just going to offer that you go and look at the CBO reporting on the funding status of the USPS’ portion of the future health benefits and pension funds.

      Hint, hint – even with this new law, they aren’t even fully funded on an actuarial basis.

      The sad thing about this point – people are upset that we’re forcing the USPS to truly do what it takes to fund the promises it’s made, unlike the government itself and most everyone else (pensions are going to be a time bomb). Instead of forcing everyone else to do fund what they’ve promised, we want to let the USPS go back to a bad practice.

      Oh, and note that I said “actuarial” – most pensions and health benefit funds assume their assets getting returns of 7+%… imagine if they lowered that estimated return to 5%, how much more they’d be underfunded.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “Oh, and note that I said “actuarial” – most pensions and health benefit funds assume their assets getting returns of 7+%… imagine if they lowered that estimated return to 5%, how much more they’d be underfunded.”

        My city just got hit with that bombshell. The current administration based the budget on projected investment returns of 9%, when the actual returns were closer to 4%, it left a $4 million hole in pension funding. As a result, a 1% sales tax was enacted and every household was sent an additional “temporary” emergency $100 tax bill last month.

        The newest emergency was when the budget assumed that health insurance rates would stay flat at renewal. It turns out rates were going up close to $1 million.

        Defined benefit plans only work with massive economic and population growth, coupled with short life expectancies. This is something that simply doesn’t exist any more. I wish my city would just bite the bullet and go into receivership. At some point, the entire city budget will have to go towards pensions if nothing is done.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      I don’t disagree that that part of the PAEA is causing massive issues, but to be fair the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 did much more than just create this one requirement. It was a comprehensive overhaul of the Postal Regulatory Commission and affected many other aspects of operations, including increasing accountability and transparency.

      Also, the House co-sponsors were 2 democrats and 1 Republican along with the 1 Republican sponsor. It was very much a bipartisan effort…and isn’t bipartisanship and compromise the most wonderful thing in the world????

      • StarKillerX says:

        Yep, because it gives the dems someone to blame if things go wrong!

        Seriously the whole pension deal is only a symptom of the larger problem and that is Congress micromanaging a what amounts to a multi billion dollar business.

        The solution to the problems of the USPS are simple, let the people paid to run the post office do their job without needing to run to Congress for approval everytime they want to turn a light on or off.

        • aerodawg says:

          The biggest issue is the USPS is neither beast nor fowl as far as the law is concerned.

          It’s supposed to be self sufficient like a business would be but at the same time it has to go begging hat in hand to the postal service commission to adjust rates, a process that takes forever.

          We to decide either to completely privatize the post office and let them set products and prices as cost and the market dictates OR that cheap first class mail service is vital to the national well being and bring it back completely under the gov’t umbrella and drop the self sufficiency requirement.

          I would like to point out the fact that several nations including Germany have privatized their postal postal service and are doing quite well….

    • Trick says:

      While your pretty little progressive link goes to great lengths to blame dem-evil-repukelicans, how about some truth to the matter? Shocking that anyone who reads “Think Progress” would be interested in the truth…

      Who sponsored H.R. 6407?

      Rep. Thomas “Tom” Davis (evil)

      Co-sponsors

      Rep. Danny Davis (D) – (blessed by god if there was one so only blessed figuratively)
      Rep. John McHugh (R) – (eats fluffy kittens for breakfasts)
      Rep. Henry Waxman (D) – (Strong-armed a Big Mac from Rush Limbaugh and gave it to a homeless man)

      BUT in 2006 the evil do-badders did the bidding of Satan himself, Supreme Court Elect Bush because they controlled everything from the Presidency to parking enforcement in downtown Carlsbad, CA.

      So who voted for H.R. 6407?

      Dec 9, 2006 – H.R. 6407 passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent.

      The facts are just too boring.

  3. AllanG54 says:

    Ah well, you never know what you have until it’s gone. Hopefully this won’t be the case with the USPS because there’s nothing that can replace it for the price.

    • unpolloloco says:

      Email! (Had to be said…)

      • Kuri says:

        I know you’re being sarcastic, but, well, until personal transporters are invented, we kinda need physical mail.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I could see a future where most correspondence is done electronically. If 1st Class Mail was handed over to UPS and cost $7 or $8 a letter, I imagine we could adapt and only send mail when absolutely necessary.

  4. Cat says:

    “When can you come to the Post Office?”

    “After 3 PM, and Saturdays”

    “Those are the exact hours we will be cutting!”

  5. redskull says:

    “Belt-tightening” is an ironic term to use for an organization that pays it’s workers $25 an hour or more.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      DAMN RIGHT! Everybody should be making server’s wages and they should have a tip jar on the counter! Lazy no good leeches!!!!!

      • Posthaus says:

        I know… i love how people expect first class service but don’t care, or sometimes even expect the people that give them that very service to be paid crap.

        Look, I get paid well, but I work my ass off and give my customers service above and beyond what is called for.

  6. icerabbit says:

    I always thought they should be able to save money by not delivering on Saturdays unless it is a special Sat delivery, and, looking at alternate delivery days in rural areas, just from a cost standpoint, it has to be a huge amount of hours & gas covering every single road every day, without much more than junk mail and utility & cc bills and some ebay packages.
    There’s nothing that comes in the regular mail that couldn’t be delivered the next day.

    • bdgbill says:

      I agree. Personally, I would be fine with something like, Monday, Wednesday and Friday delivery.

  7. nikalseyn says:

    I suspect the delivery of my mail won’t be adversely by much, given that it comes any old time of the day; is delivered to my neighbors and theirs to me; and often scattered on my lawn. However, one cost-cutting avenue I haven’t seen really mentioned is to drastically reduce the amount the USPS pays for it’s share of health insurance for employees. As it has been for decades, the USPS employee health care premium is far, far less than the exact same one for a federal employee at another agency. In other words, the USPS is picking up an larger share of the premiums for it’s employees than other federal agencies.

  8. StarKillerX says:

    Prefunding the pension is only a symptom or a much larger, and serious problem and that simply is Congressional micromanagement.

    If Congress wants to USPS to run effeciently then let the people paid to run the post office run it and get Congress, and all the political BS that comes with it, out of the way.

  9. PLATTWORX says:

    As someone who ships often, I do my best to avoid USPS as much as possible, but could not on two recent occasions. There is a large central post office within walking distance of my office. It’s huge, probably half vacant these days and actually has windows for 8 clerks and 4 in another location for passport processing. Or at least that is how it was built.

    Now, the passport windows have been closed for years and there are never more than TWO clerks on dury at the 8 available stations. Each “window” holds two clerks and they have actually drawn the gate down on two of them years ago. They are “mothballed” and never used no matter how busy the place is.

    Of the remaining four open windows, you get these two clerks. One at the slot all the way to the left, the other all the way to the right. I have stood in line with up to a DOZEN customers as these two clerks work so slowly it’s as if they are trained to maintain that pace. They don’t look up at the line, they make no visable attempt to speed up the service and other postal employees (some who appear to be managers) will walk by behind them and look at the line and keep walking… slowly as if they find it amusing to count the people.

    It took me 20 miniutes to mail ONE Priority Mail box this week. I always have my package sealed, addressed and even the shipping label with postage done. Since they have no slot or box big enough for me to self-serve and drop off a package.. I have to still stand in line for one of the two clerks to scan my box and say thank you. It takes 15 seconds at the window to scan my bar code and say goodbye.

    SO, over 20 minutes to send a package.

    UPS? Walk into the UPS store, walk up to the counter, hand someone a box IMMEDIATELY, get a receipt and a smile and leave. 1 minute.

    And the USPS can not figure out what’s wrong?

  10. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Our main PO has been spared, at least in the initial round of cuts. I hope they come up with something, because we’re the third largest city in our state and we need a damn post office.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Even in major cities they’re cutting services. My company is located in Boston and we just found out that the Boston branches are no longer handling corporate accounts/bulk mail and all bulk mail from offices around the city will have to be brought to a central processing center…..I imagine the sheer volume of what this one branch is going to need to handle is going to make the service far less reliable.

  11. tooluser says:

    Yay! Very good news!