The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reaffirmed previously announced plans to close 229 mail processing plants and eliminate 28,000 jobs, but the closures will be completed by the end of 2014, a year longer than previously planned.
In stretching out the closures, USPS leaders appear to have bowed to pressure from members of Congress concerned about job losses.
“We believe we can achieve all our workforce reductions through attrition,” the Postal Service’s chief operating officer, Megan Brennan, said in a webinar with reporters Thursday. The agency plans to offer an early retirement incentive, Brennan said, but she did not offer details.
The closures will be staggered:
48 plants by the beginning of September.
No closures from September through December, during the election and holiday seasons.
92 closures in early 2013.
89 closures in 2014.
In all, the cuts will leave the Postal Service with 232 plants, about half of its current network of 461 plants, a step that Postmaster General Pat Donahoe said is necessary to address plummeting first-class mail volume. In all, the reductions are expected to save $2.1 billion annually.
Under legislation approved by the Senate last month, dozens of plants would get a three-year reprieve from closing. The House has not yet acted on the bill.