Despite backlash from U.S. Postal Service employees and some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the USPS is moving forward with its plans to close and consolidate mail processing facilities across the country.
This month, the agency will begin shutting down 82 mail processing facilities. This action is in response to USPS and Congress’ inability to stem multibillion losses, mounting debt and increase revenues.
It is one of several cost-cutting initiatives enacted by the agency in recent years, which has included closing local post offices, slowing hiring, and consolidating 141 mail processing facilities in 2012 and 2013.
USPS administrators say these measures have saved the agency billions of dollars. They also note that their hands are tied: they don’t have a buffet of options to choose from to decrease costs and increase revenue.
This latest round of mail processing closures is expected to be wrapped up by the end of this year. According to the agency’s inspector general, this will result in a $750 million annual savings.
However, it will affect 15,000 employees.
The union representing the agency’s workers says it will result in another consequence: hurting the agency’s promise to deliver quality public service.
“Few people seem to be aware of the devastating effect the plant closures would have on the nation’s mail system,” American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein said in a statement. “If the plants are closed or consolidated, it will mean the end of overnight mail delivery in this country.”
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