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USPS reaffirms plans to cut 28,000 jobs

Dec. 5, 2011 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
Customers wait in line Dec. 5 at a San Francisco post office to ship packages. The U.S. Postal Service has reaffirmed plans to close up to 252 of its 461 mail processing plants in the next year and slash 28,000 jobs from its payroll.
Customers wait in line Dec. 5 at a San Francisco post office to ship packages. The U.S. Postal Service has reaffirmed plans to close up to 252 of its 461 mail processing plants in the next year and slash 28,000 jobs from its payroll. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The U.S. Postal Service on Monday reaffirmed plans to close up to 252 of its 461 mail processing plants in the next year and slash 28,000 jobs from its payroll.

The move also includes scrapping its next-day delivery standard for first-class mail.

"The fact of the matter is our network is too big," David Williams, USPS vice president for network operations, said at a Monday news conference. "We've got to make adjustments today."

The studies of http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/study-list-110915.pdf">potential plant closures are set for completion late next month. While there could be minor changes to the list, most of the facilities on that list will in fact be shuttered, Williams said in an interview after the news conference. The projected annual savings of $2.1 billion are part of a broader push by USPS leaders to reduce yearly operating expenses by some $20 billion by 2015 to keep up with a continuing slide in use of first-class mail, its most profitable business line.

Most, if not all, of the postal workers whose jobs will be eliminated by the plant closings are covered by union contracts with no-layoff protections. Asked whether the Postal Service is considering offering buyouts, Williams noted that 157,000 career USPS employees are eligible to retire and said that "nothing is off the table."

Two Senate bills would impose new study requirements on the Postal Service before it could close mail processing plants.

Because the Postal Service has to act quickly to address its financial realities, Williams said, both of those measures "would tend to slow us down."

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