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Decision regarding closure of USPS facilities postponed


JANUARY 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Decision regarding closure of USPS facilities postponed


REGION, December 22nd- The decision of which post offices and mail processing centers throughout the United States will be closed or merged has been postponed until at least mid-2012.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) made the announcement on December 9th. Thousands of workers employed by the USPS across the nation expected to hear whether they had a job or where their job maybe located on that date but instead were told the decision would be postponed until at least May 2012.

On July 20th, the USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe stated it is possible 15 to 20 years from now mail delivery could be cut to three days a week because of dropping demand and economic losses.

Because of the decline in mail volume, mostly caused by the recession and the shift of people to the internet to pay bills, the USPS over the past four years cut its staff by more than 110,000 workers and reduced their cost by $12 billion.

However, Mr. Donahoe said more cuts are neccessary and two unelected groups were created to take steps to cut costs and reduce services. One of the groups has been generating lists of post offices and facilities to be closed. The other to serve as financial overseers with the power to alter or nullify collective bargaining agreements and/or make other operational decisions to reduce expenses.

The labor organizations that represent the workers have been waiting for the announcement of what post offices and mail processing centers would be closed.

There are around 487 mail processing centers throughout the nation, including the Lehigh Valley and Scranton.

It was expected the USPS would announce the Scranton mail processing center would be closed and the work moved to the Lehigh Valley facility in Bethlehem Township.

The major reason the USPS loses money is because of legislation that was passed in 2004 that forces future workers pensions be funded 75 years in advance, meaning pensions of workers that are not even born yet must be funded before 2014. The USPS estimated that the post office department would have made a profit in 2010 if not for the provision of the pension issue.

Also, the union’s believe they have become a “target” of the anti-union rightwing of the Republican party because the USPS now employing more union workers than any other employer in the United States.

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