Wednesday, August 5, 2009

USPS may close 1,000 post offices nationwide

The U.S. Postal Service is studying roughly 1,000 of its 37,000 post offices for possible closure, including ten in Louisiana, the latest cost-cutting step from an agency scrambling to deal with a projected $7 billion deficit this year and larger losses in 2010.

Of the ten possible closures in Louisiana, six are in Baton Rouge, and one each in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Shreveport and Alexandria.

The agency started its review earlier this year with approximately 3,200 post offices, and decided about 1,000 of them are “candidates for further review.” Postal managers say they will consider several factors in deciding whether to close those facilities: mail volume, proximity to other post offices and the potential savings in labor and utility costs.

“The Postal Service urgently needs to restructure,” said Phillip Herr, GAO’s director of physical infrastructure issues. “With regard to delivery operations, the Postal Service has more than 350,000 carriers, and delivery services represent the largest cost segment.”

Most experts agree the agency needs to cut its labor costs, which account for roughly 80 percent of its annual expenses.

The Postal Service has reduced delivery costs by consolidating postal routes over the last 12 months. Postal managers eliminated about 2,500 city routes, saving $1 billion over the next two years, and reduced the “mail count” that determines pay for rural mail carriers.

No comments: