Facing a massive shortfall, the United States Postal Service is considering closing over 250 processing centres, which would slow mail delivery by a day and result in the elimination of 35,000 jobs.
Currently a first class letter is expected to be delivered 1-3 days after it is mailed. The proposed change would largely eliminate next day delivery for first class mail, with the new “service window” set at 2-3 days.
This change would affect over 40% of first-class mail — letters with stamps — sent nationwide. The new delivery schedule would save about $3 billion annually.
“We are forced to face a new reality today,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. “First-Class Mail supports the organisation and drives network requirements. With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic.”
Priority and express mail service would remain largely unchanged, the USPS said in a statement.
The postal service is running a $10 billion deficit in the current fiscal year ending that closes at the end of this month. Without intervention by Congress, the mail system will be unable to make a $5.5 billion health care payment due September 30.
Donahoe has called on Congress to allow the USPS to end Saturday mail delivery, close thousands of local post offices, and terminate its contract with its unions to allow it to lay off over 100,000 employees.
The “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” is meant to solicit public response, with the independent agency formally proposing the rules change this October.
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