Postal Service Accelerates Partial Closure at 53 Processing Plants

Mail is processed at a center in San Francisco. Mail is processed at a center in San Francisco. Jeff Chiu/AP file photo

The U.S. Postal Service has accelerated plans to shut down processing operations at 53 facilities by one year, according to a letter the agency sent to a postal union.

USPS will cease to process mail at the plants by the end of 2013, instead of 2014, the agency said in a letter to the American Postal Workers Union. The Postal Service has sped up the schedule because it can save money “while still maintaining the interim [processing] service standard,” the letter said.

“The Postal Service continues to face one of the most difficult challenges in its history,” USPS wrote. “The current economic downturn and continued Internet diversion has led to historically large deficits. As a result, the Postal Service is not receiving enough revenue to sustain the cost of its processing and delivery network.”

APWU decried the announcement, saying the acceleration will harm employees, communities and the Postal Service itself.

"The Postal Service is on the brink of cutting service in a way that will permanently damage our treasured institution," APWU President Cliff Guffey said in a statement. “This would be a tragic mistake, and it is unnecessary.”

USPS said the consolidations may lead to some employee reassignments, which “will be made in compliance with applicable law, collective bargaining and Postal Service regulations and policies,” an agency spokeswoman said.

The facilities will remain open for retail service, vehicle maintenance and other operations.

The new consolidation schedule comes after the Postal Service accelerated the closure of 18 additional plants earlier in 2013, APWU said. 

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