Senators Seek to Protect 15,000 Postal Jobs

Elaine Thompson/AP

A group of lawmakers is urging colleagues who are drafting spending bills to prohibit the U.S. Postal Service from moving forward with its plan to close 80 more processing facilities.

The Postal Service announced last month that in January 2015 it would begin the previously delayed second phase of its “network rationalization” plan. Twenty-two senators -- nearly all Democrats -- called for a one-year moratorium on the consolidations in a letter to their colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee, saying the closures would hurt both postal customers and employees.

The senators said the closures would result in the loss of 15,000 postal jobs. The group included Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee members Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has authored a postal reform bill that focuses on growth initiatives rather than cuts; and Republican Appropriations Committee member John Hoeven, N.D.   

“At a time when our middle class is disappearing, the loss of . . . good-paying Postal Service jobs will harm our local communities and economies,” the senators wrote.

An HSGAC postal overhaul bill, which passed the committee in February, would place a two-year pause on any plant closures. Baldwin and Tester voted against that bill. The Postal Service has shuttered 141 processing plants since it began phase one of its streamlining plan in 2012.

On Friday, USPS published a final rule laying out the changes to delivery service standards that would result from the closures. The American Postal Workers Union said the changes would permanently end all overnight delivery, but a USPS spokesman told Government Executive the agency still expects to deliver 20 percent of first-class mail in one day.

In addition to service cuts, the consolidations have led to mail arriving later in the day. This, in turn, has kept letter carriers out after dark, a potential safety risk

The Postal Service has dramatically reduced the size of both its physical footprint and workforce in recent years, though it has not yet had to force anyone out. The agency will likely have to start laying off employees soon, however, and is hiring a manager to oversee the reductions in force.

In their letter, the lawmakers asked that any omnibus appropriations bill or continuing resolution for fiscal 2015 delay all plant closures and changes to service standards.

“This one-year moratorium will give Congress the time it needs to enact comprehensive postal reforms that are necessary for the Postal Service to function effectively in the future,” they wrote. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.