Thousands of jobs at The United States Postal Service are on the chopping block as massive cost cutting plans have been announced, which include shedding nearly half of all mail-processing plants.
By 2013 fewer than 200 of 487 processing plants would be in operation it has been reported. The U.S. Postal Service also announced a “new reality” of snail mail.
In an effort to cut costs that could result in $3 billion savings per year, "We are radically realigning the way we process and deliver the mail," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. "With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic."
USPS will close about half of its processing and distribution facilities, reduce processing equipment by about half, get rid of some delivery trucks and lose 35,000 of its workforce. Officials said the agency hopes to avoid layoffs, instead relying on retirements and resignation to reduce employees over time.
“We are lucky. When every other American was getting pink slips, we didn’t. All businesses are experience financial losses, we are just reacting to ours now,” one New York postal worker told The Christian Post.
However, according to the Huffington Post, the post office has cut 110,000 jobs over the last four years. In its 2010 annual report, the agency said it had 583,908 career employees.
The overall plan also calls for closing 3,500 mostly-rural post offices. Delivery standards are decreasing for first-class mail. Instead of next day local delivery, local mail could take two days to get delivered.
Last year the Postal Service had revenue of $67 billion and expenses of $75 billion. If all goes to plan, USPS expects to be profitable again by 2015.
Although the USPS isn’t funded by taxpayer dollars, it still has to follow a host of Congressional mandates on its operations.
"Cutting costs is essential to saving the Postal Service and the 8 million private sector workers whose jobs rely on it," said Art Sackler, coordinator of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, an industry trade group. "The Coalition welcomes this important step and looks forward to the details. But what's needed even more are fundamental reforms only Congress can make."
Experts say the problem revolves around the fact USPS isn’t run like a business.
James I. Campbell, an attorney and consultant on postal policy said, “The law does not create a framework for the Postal Service that gives them sufficient flexibility to adjust to a changing market.”