Struggling U.S. Postal Service To Close Centers

The U.S. Postal Service is considering closing more than 250 mail processing centers across the country due to its struggling fiscal budget to cut costs. Officials say the facilities will be reviewed over the next three months. With a total of 487, the closure is more than half of its existing centers nationwide.

USPS spokesman Victor Dubina, says the agency could start announcing in March which locations will close. It is also considering the closure of 3,700 local post offices nationwide. Officials say that it plans to change its “service standard” for delivery of first-class mail.

The new standard would be delivery in two to three days and that “on average, customers would no longer receive mail the day after it was mailed.”

All the cuts come as the postal service is projecting a record $10 billion loss this fiscal year amid a drastic drop in the amount of first-class mail. The service has blamed the Internet, as well as the weak economy, for the drop in mail volume. Volume has dropped by more than 43 billion items over the last five years.

“Closing all of the approximately 250 facilities on the nationwide list would save $3 billion a year and cut about 35,000 jobs,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

The USPS employs over 574,000 workers and operates over 218,000 vehicles. It is the second-largest employer in the United States after Wal-Mart, and the operator of the largest vehicle fleet in the world. The USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality.

The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The cabinet-level Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin’s operation and transformed into its current form in 1971 under the Postal Reorganization Act.