US Postal Service closing half its distribution centers

The US Postal Service announced today that it will close 223 of its 461 mail-processing plants by February 2013 in order to cut costs, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

USPS is facing an annual loss of $18.2 billion by 2015, and the closings will save the agency about $2.5 billion a year, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told Bloomberg Businessweek. Some 35,000 jobs will be shed through the process.

"Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation," Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan said in a news release today, the Boston Globe reported.

Affected workers began receiving details on Wednesday that their mail-sorting plants were closing, the Washington Post reported. While the postal service will start turning the lights off in mid-May, Donahoe told the Washington Post that the agency wanted to give workers plenty of time to plan.

“Some people will retire, some may become letter carriers, some maintenance employees may be vehicle mechanics, depending on how things work,” Donahoe said. “We are still awaiting some decisions from a legislative perspective that may lead to some changes. But if we don’t get legislation, we would have to start closing locations.”

According to the Washington Post:

Legislative action is expected to begin next month when the Senate begins consideration of a bipartisan reform plan that would permit USPS to close thousands of post offices, end Saturday mail delivery and recoup billions of dollars paid into federal and postal retirement accounts.

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