Friday, February 24, 2012

Postal Service to cut 35,000 jobs


The U.S. Postal Service announced new plans yesterday to consolidate or close 223 mail processing plants, putting 35,000 jobs at stake starting in late May or June.

The move would save $2.1 billion and is part of the agency's broader effort to save $20 billion in the next three years.

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

The agency was reaching out to employees on Wednesday, officials said. Not all of the workers affected by the plant closings will lose their jobs. Many will be offered posts at other processing plants miles away or even in other states. Some will be urged to retire.

"This is an important part of the network consolidation," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe (pictured) said in an interview with CNN Money. "Some employees will retire. A mail clerk may want to become a letter carrier. We know how to move people and find landing spots."

The plant consolidations are the latest in an array of controversial cost-cutting measures under consideration at the Postal Service. Also on the table are slashing Saturday service,delaying delivery of some first-class mail, closing post offices and hiking the price of a first-class stamp by a nickel to 50 cents.

The Postal Service says that it faces $18 billion in losses by 2015 if nothing is done.

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