During a press conference on September 15, 2011, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced plans to greatly reduce its current network of processing facilities. The number of processing facilities could be cut by as much as half, which equates to approximately 250 facilities. This would result in a 50% reduction of mail processing equipment and a possible reduction in workforce of up to 35,000 employees.
This move would save the USPS approximately $3 billion per year. The USPS is experiencing substantial drops in mail volume and revenue, and has been implementing a number of cost-cutting measures. Postmaster General Pat Donahoe cited in the September 15, 2011 press release, “Since 2006, we have closed 186 facilities, removed more than 1,500 pieces of mail processing equipment, decreased employee complement by more than 110,000 through attrition and reduced costs by $12 billion.”
Making these types of reductions would obviously have an impact on the level of service, so the USPS is also proposing to adjust the First-Class Mail® delivery standards from the current 1-3 day range to 2 to 3 days. The USPS published a Federal Register Notice on September 15, 2011, detailing the plans for the adjustment in the delivery standards.
Donahoe also noted during the press conference that this move is based strictly on the need to cut costs in the current financially challenging period the USPS is facing, and has no reflection on the dedicated USPS employees commitment to service.
Stay tuned for further developments regarding this announcement. This process will require a great deal of study and will undoubtedly become politically charged as members of Congress try to save postal facilities (and jobs!) located in their districts.
For all the details, visit the new USPS web page introduced just for this topic.