Lawmakers Hope to Save Overnight Mail Delivery

Eric Risberg/AP

A bipartisan group of lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to preserve overnight delivery at the U.S. Postal Service.

The Protect Overnight Delivery Act -- authored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. -- aims to save overnight delivery by limiting the closure of mail processing facilities, according to a letter DeLauro’s office sent to colleagues to solicit co-sponsors. USPS has previously announced plans to limit overnight delivery options as part of a network consolidation plan.

“The elimination of overnight delivery standards and consolidating processing facilities will have a disastrous impact on local and national unemployment,” DeLauro’s office wrote in the letter. “With an unacceptably high unemployment rate, it would be particularly inopportune for the USPS to close these facilities.”

Proposed consolidation plans would cut 30,000 jobs, according to the letter. Currently, the Postal Service plans to close processing plants -- about 200 of its 417 facilities -- in an effort to better align its infrastructure with rapidly declining mail volume. The agency has also shed about 168,000 jobs in the last six years through attrition.

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have already signed on to co-sponsor the legislation.

The American Postal Workers Union praised the bill and encouraged its members to support it.

“If these delivery standards had the force of law, the USPS would be unable to close many of the mail processing plants that are scheduled for consolidation,” APWU president Cliff Guffey said in a statement. “This bill is good for the American people and good for postal workers. We urge our members to ask their U.S. representatives to support the Protect Overnight Delivery Act.” 

Clarification: The original version of this story said Democratic lawmakers planned to introduce the bill. The group also includes at least one Republican. 

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