Citing its continuing financial troubles, the United States Postal Service disclosed June 30 that it plans to resume closing its large mail-processing plants next year.
Up to 82 plants were targeted to be shuttered beginning in January under a newly revised plan that was disclosed on the USPS website and in letters to customers.
“The Postal Service has recorded substantial losses over the last three years and continues to see steep declines in First-Class mail volume and revenue,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe in a video message to employees.
“As a result, we find ourselves with excess capacity in the network and few alternatives to reduce costs.
“Our operating costs are continuing to increase, and our debt and other liabilities threaten our financial viability,” he said.
Between 2012 and 2013, the USPS said it had consolidated 141 mail plants, saving an estimated $865 million a year with no worker layoffs.
It halted the planned continuation of the closings into 2014 as members of Congress continued to complain about the impact of the closings.
The new phase is projected to save another $750 million and should be completed by “the fall mailing season,” the announcement said.
It cited uncertainty over whether Congress or the courts will give any financial relief to the nation’s mail service. It also mentioned that the Postal Service’s losses in the past three fiscal years have totaled $26 billion.
The consolidations will affect 15,000 workers, and the USPS said it would make “every effort” to avoid layoffs.
“For now, I ask that you continue to do your job to the best of your ability and continue to work with your customers to assure them that the transition will be smooth,” the postmaster general told the workers.
“You have my commitment that I’ll continue to keep you informed as we work with you to make these transitions.”
Donahoe’s latest move came five days after the full House Appropriations Committee reinserted language in a 2015 spending bill that continues the congressional mandate of six-day mail deliveries.
That has been part of the federal budget since the 1980s, and it has been one of Donahoe’s key congressional requests. He said the Postal Service could save huge amounts by eliminating Saturday mail deliveries, but Congress appears unlikely to grant his wish.
In papers distributed with a list of the 85 targeted plants, the USPS conceded that the consolidations will slow mail service “slightly,” making the average first-class letter arrive at its destination in 2.25 days compared to 2.14 days.
Postal unions attacked Donahoe’s plan.
“This is a direct assault on service to the people of the country, on postal workers and on the Postal Service’s own network,” said American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein.
“We need a Postmaster General who will champion the Postal Service. Instead, PMG Donahoe is on a rampage to destroy it,” he said in a statement that reflected the growing bitterness between management and the unions.
APWU members would be most directly impacted by the closings, since most of their members work in processing plants.
The APWU president pledged to work with other postal unions and the public “to muster a fight-back similar to the recent campaign to protect six-day mail delivery.”
Some large cities will lose their mail-processing plants under the plan. Among them are Tucson, Ariz.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Gainesville, Fla.; Pocatello, Idaho; Lafayette, Ind.; Lexington, Ky.; New Orleans, La.; Norfolk and Roanoke, Va.; Lansing, Mich.; Springfield, Mo.; Asheville, N.C.; Akron and Dayton, Ohio; Queens, N.Y.; Madison, Wis.; and Tacoma, Wash.
The complete listing can be found on the U.S. Postal Service website at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/assets/pdf/ofn-consolidation-list-063014.pdf.
October 09, 2015 02:00 PMLinn’s managing editor Charles Snee reported the recovery of a block of three of the 1845 5¢ New York postmaster’s provisional stamp, once part of a block of 10 that was stolen from the Benjamin K. Miller collection in 1977. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman talks about the recovery of a block of three 1845 5¢ New York Postmaster’s Provisional stamps taken in an infamous 1977 stamp heist.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.