on Aug 18th, 2014 in Post Offices & Retail Network | 164 comments
 

It’s baaack.

Network consolidation will return in January 2015, a year after going on hiatus. The U.S. Postal Service announced recently that it would resume consolidations, closing up to 82 mail processing facilities. This second phase of the network consolidations should be done prior to the 2015 fall mailing season.

The Postal Service expects the changes to yield $750 million in annual savings and to affect about 15,000 employees. In 2012 and 2013, the Postal Service consolidated 141 mail processing facilities, resulting in cost savings of about $865 million.

Loyal readers of our blog will recall that the Postal Service put its network consolidation plans on hold in early 2014 while it reconsidered its proposed changes to service standards for First-Class Mail. (See our blog from earlier this year on the delay.) Phase two will affect the service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals as well, eliminating the overnight standard for most First-Class Mail. Periodicals service standards would range from 3 days to 9 days, versus the current 2 to 9 days.

The Postal Service says eliminating excess capacity through consolidation is one of the few options it has to cut costs. Consolidation will also allow the Postal Service to establish a “low-cost, technology-centric delivery platform necessary to serve the mailing and shipping industry for decades to come.”

Still, the planned consolidations are likely to rankle some. At least one postal union has already come out strongly against the plan, saying it will degrade service and lead to mail delays. It intends to vigorously fight the closures. On the other hand, industry has generally supported Postal Service efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, as long as service isn’t irreparably harmed.

We welcome your thoughts. Should the Postal Service continue with consolidations given the decline in mail volume and the potential cost savings? Or should the Postal Service first explore ways to use the excess capacity to provide services that might yield additional revenue sources, such as warehousing or other logistics services? 

Should the Postal Service continue its consolidation plan?

164 Comments


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The only thing that the PMG has managed to do is give the postal service negative reputation, close facilities unnecessarily,
reduced the workforce in an unbalanced manner, slashed customer service so badly that most people no longer TRUST in the UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE! DESTROYING the Postal service all together. The image of the postal service today is that nobody even wants to work for them. It use to be a job that had decent wages and retirement now you have to work 3-5 years with 0 benefits..Really???

Last year I moved across the state of Indiana from the eastern side to the west side. For over 35 years I have been mailing packages to Texas for Christmas and last year was no different except it took 2 weeks longer for my packages to go a shorter distance. After asking at my new post office I was told that my packages were sent to the mail processing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio for processing due to closures. How is this aiding in making the post office more efficient? This doesn't make sense to send it back east so it can be sent west! And people wonder why the post office is losing business?!?

Consolidating and closing facilities is not the answer. Our Postal Service was created in 1775 by an act of the Second
Continental Congress. From its inception, the men and women who have worked for the Postal Service have dedicated themselves to delivering the mail to every address in the country in a timely manner. Through hail, rain, sleet, or snow the Postal Service delivers. Each day I look forward to going to my mailbox and finding that my carrier has delivered my mail on time. I appreciate my mail carrier and I am glad that he is around in my neighborhood. The Postal Service is a an important part of the fabric of this nation. Linking our citizens together in personal ways. The carriers who deliver your mail are the eyes and ears to the community. When they deliver to each address, day in and day out, they become aware of who their customers are and are able to tell if something isn't quite right. I have read countless stories, of Postal Service employees saving lives and preventing sudden calamitous events from happening in neighborhoods across the country and its territories. Postal Service employees are very active in their communities and help with numerous charitable events. But the Postal Service is changing and with it the service and protections we now enjoy. Unfortunately, there is an element in this country that is driven by greed instead of doing what it right for the American people. A ruse is being played on the American people that the Postal Service is losing money. That is why the Postal Service must close and consolidate facilities and cut staffing. Don't be fooled! The real reason is that some members of Congress have been lobbied and are being bankrolled by private interest groups. They don't want to make changes to the Postal Service that would fix it. Stopping the 5 billion dollar a year mandated on the Postal Service to prefund requirement health care for 75 years, allowing new services like postal banking, or refunding billion dollar over-payments to the Office of Personnel Management for Postal Service retirement accounts. Most republicans and some Democrats in Congress want to take a long-standing public service and privatize it. That is why there hasn't been any postal bi-partisan reform legislation to fix the problem. They want to bring the Postal Service to its knees and have the American public believe that closing and consolidating facilities is the right thing to do. Ask yourself this, do I want a privately owned Postal Service where its workers will not make a decent wage to raise a family on and have no benefits or workroom protections? Do I want a cluster box on every street where I have to go to get my mail or pay a high fee to have my mail delivered to my home address? Do I care who delivers my mail or do I want a trusted Postal Service government employee who will protect the sanctity of my mail? I think you get my point. We need to let our elected officials know that we don't want to dismantle the United States Postal Service but keep it intact so we can enjoy the services we have come to expect.

Some of the plant closures make no sense. My favorite example is Norfolk VA. Six of the top ten demographic areas in Virginia are in the Norfolk-Hampton Roads-Virginia Beach area. The idea of sending that mail to Richmond will not appeal to anyone who has ever sat in traffic on I-64. Are we really going to tell a huge chunk of Virginia that USPS doesn't care about service to their area?

I work in the rocky mount nc plant.200 miles from the coast.all coastal mail came to us.now its going to Raleigh.a majority of the time they are sending the mail to Greensboro..on the heavy days and Mondays after holidays it is being sent to Tennessee.we are sending mail 9 hrs away from where it used to go..cost savings I don't think so

The USPS top level management is driving business away. All we do is service so they close offices or shorten window hours. We take up all of the blue collection boxes so the customer does not have convenient access. And every other form of service is reduced or "studied" for elimination. They (USPS mgmt.) say 85 % of cost is labor. Perhaps that is true. With and structure like it has. Postmaster; Deputy PM: 40 Vice presidents and approximately 100,000 EAS management level employees all receiving a salary and benefit package over $100 thousand per year. The VP make $199,000 plus benefits so someone do the math on this.

The congress should end the requirement by George Bush to prefund the retirement funds for your employees! Then the plan to privatize would be stopped in it's tracks and the PO would be in good shape again.

The Postmaster General is acting to destroy the agency he is supposed to lead. He should be investigated and hopefully fired for his misstatements (lies). He seems bent on destroying the morale of his hardworking employees and catering to the naked greed of the privatization interests in Congress. If the Postal Service is privatized it will be another victory for the profit-hungry rich, and the public will be poorer for it.

Only half right, the PMG is doing everything to destroy 1st class letters. He bends over backwards for the bulk mailers including giving below cost discounts.

Want to reduce postal costs? Increase delivery time by one day and do all the processing work between 6am and 6pm, stop processing mail on Sunday, and reduce manager's pay.

There is so much money being wasted by forcing employees to work during night shifts between 6pm and 6am just to get the mail delivered one day faster. There is also a lot of waste by processing mail on Sunday. Each employee who works between 6pm and 6am gets a "night differential" of 10%. For working on Sunday, the employees get an extra 25% as well.

Let's give the employees a break, take them off the night shift and Sundays and let them have some time with their families.

By consolidating facilities, you would have the same impact on mail delivery because of the extended (or over extended) service areas, but you will still have the problem of processing postal employees never seeing their families or having lives outside of the post office.

If we cut to the chase... The USPS is a business and needs to be ran like one. It needs to consolidate if it's losing money. The answer might even be that it needs to be sold off by the government and become a publicly held and traded business.. It's just doesn't work financially being a government institution.

As a business man, when a customer mails a check from Cape Girardeau Mo to Paducah and it already takes 7-10 days to get it, something is slowing down the mail well past stated and expected delivery standards already. Additional consolidations will only make it worse.

I think the Post Office should STOP all consolidations! What happened in my Office is a JOKE!!!! . The Operating cost has to be OUTRAGEOUS, with extra trucks, empty trucks, overtime hours, stand-by time for carriers probably isn't close to the cost they said it would be. They need think about what there doing!

STOP the pre-funding the retirement health benefits of people not even born yet.

NO to consolidations!!!!!

I hope that with all this hacking and stealing information online.people may turn back to the mail

Why upend peoples lives, by forcing them to work, sometimes over 100 miles away, when nobody is sure if it is the right thing to do? I work at a plant in CT scheduled to close. I might be forced to move, possibly out of state. I have 2 children in grammar school. One has special needs and health issues. We would have to find new doctors, new therapists, and a new school system for them. Just so this PMG can boost his political ego. I haves worked here for over 25 years and that is the thanks I get

Cutting from the top high priced execs makes the most sense. I would really miss my local substation. The personel there really make it an enjoyable place. My mail service is more efficient than ever. My mother depends on the Post Office to pay her bills since she is not computer literate. I'm sure she is not the only one in that situation.

I vote no.

Consolidations are just an attempt to destroy the Postal Service as well as the Staples stores. Let's stop it now and concentrate on customer service.

Consolidation is really beginning to affect the working conditions of its employees by trying to cram to many operations and people into one small area. This is creating a safety hazard for most of the employees. When you consolidate you create more work, more employees and more mail. There is only so much mail, people and machines that can be placed in a plant before it becomes impossible to maneuver before you place your employees in harm's way.

I believe there should be a deeper investigation into where the loss truly is.. A deeper look at the executive management, salaries, bonuses, spending issues. There's always a way to cut down costs/expenditures without penalizing, cutting jobs, to the detriment of employees, the public mail services.

We must keep first class in-house with NO out-sourcing of any kind, and for every letter we lose due to the Internet, we need a package to replace it. We must keep daily mail service as originally promised with at least 5-6 day delivery. The "If it fits it ships" campaign was great, but we need more.
All those that hate their jobs should retire asap.

The savings claimed are vastly overstated. The "Losing" facility has no way to excess people. Plants are closed and people are placed on standby until THEY decide when they want to retire. Claiming savings at time of closing is bogus.

IF THE CONSOLIDATIONS WERE TRULY THOUGHT OUT THUS FAR, FORT LAUDERDALE NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN CLOSED FOR CONSOLIDATION . THE TRUTH IS WE SEEM TO BE THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND. AT TIMES, THERE IS NO RYTHUM OR REASONS; JUST BECAUSE WE SAID SO. DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE TO MAKE THE POSTAL SERVICE FAIL AND WE CAN NOT JUST SIT IDYLE BY AND BE SILENT ANY LONGER. " YOUR SILENCE DOES NOT PROTECT YOU" OR OUR FUTURE. THE POSTAL SERVICE IS A UNIVERSAL SERVICE FOR ALL MANKIND AND NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED. CONSOLIDATIONS ONLY MEANS MORE CONTRACTED (NON-POSTAL) CALL CENTERS AND LESS CUSTOMER CONNECT/ CUSTOMER SERVICE. NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO DO IT THEMSELVES AND MOST PEOPLE WANT A KNOWLEGEABLE PERSON TO TALK TO; TO FEEL A CONNECTION AND TO GET ANSWERS WITHOUT PRESSING THIS NUMBER OR THAT. WHATEVER CONSOLIDATIONS IN THE FUTURE THAT TAKE PLACE TRUE ANALYSIS NEEDS TO BE PERFORMED. LOGISTICS ARE THE KEY...AGAIN MIAMI BEING THE NEW SCF FOR SOUTH FLORIDA WAS NOT THOROUGHLY THOUGHT THROUGH WE ARE A LARGE DENSELY POPULATED AREA, ONE WAY INTO MIAMI AND ON WAY OUT????? MAIL IS LOST IN BLACK HOLE.

cutting more services is not the answer., it will only slow delivery times and will cause patrons to look for other options.
The PMG needs to try to think in a postive manner, everything he presents is negative and wanting to cut services and jobs.
What is wrong with the board of governors?

Stop the consolidation now !! It will undermine service, delivery times etc. and therefore cut USPS
business and revenues. Those cuts will make further cuts "necessary" and so on. You are
promoting a downward spiral. If you want to save USPS, improve service don't deteriorate it!
The financial problem is due to the pre-funding of pensions----something that NO other company
has to do. Tell Congress to remove that requirement and quit laying people off and cutting service!!

Having almost 30 years employment with the USPS and having gone through several changes, I can see the ramifications of the biggest mistake made to date. We are here to provide a service to the public; this is the mission which was pounded in for the first 15 years of my employment.
We lost our plant last year and service is no longer superior. Lost, delayed, miss sent mail has become the norm here. I mail 20 to 30 pieces of mail a month and receive 5 to 10 a day, I’ve had 3 checks lost in the last 6 months. Outgoing mail is delayed and mail coming to me that took 3 weeks to arrive.
The input from management told the same lies at every public forum I attended, “service will not be affected and this will save us 10 million dollars a year consolidating these plants.” We still don’t know what the extra runs are costing them, and three large mailers have already left and taken with them over 15 million a year income for the USPS. One of them took their 10 million+ to Fed Ex, and they informed the USPS that they expected service they were promised and if they didn’t get it they were not going to stay with USPS. If these other offices looked into the lost revenue I’d bet they would see the same thing from these plant closings. Upper management is playing with the numbers to show what they want. We provide a service that no other delivery service in the world is able to provide. If we don’t provide it, the largest postal service in the world will cease to exist because of poor management.
They waste more time on teleconferences, harping on lower level management, because some carrier took an extra 3tenths time on their route. They want to save some money kill half those jobs in the districts all the way up to DC.

Its seems this Postmaster General is incompetent! Anyone that spends 700 million a year roughly the cost savings projected on round two of consolidations on consultants to just tell him what he wants to hear is not fit to lead the Postal Service in the future....a position backed up by the Lizard group whom actually saved the auto and steal industries saving millions of jobs.

SERVICE is all we have to offer. We need to stop cutting it!!!

USPS has the most comprehensive door to door delivery system in the world. Right now is only beginning of a consumer driven boom where virtually everything one needs is available on line and can be quickly shipped to their home or workplace. This is no time to dismantle a network that every other shipper would love to have. The very voices that criticize USPS are working hard to take this network away from the American people and make it theirs. Now is the time for USPS to embrace a bright future and stand tall. USPS has an amazing opportunity at hand. We need to take the ball and run with it. Let's put our brightest minds to work leading the way identifying fresh and exciting new ways to serve the American people! Anyone can tell you why something won't work and they are a "dime a dozen". . . the winners in this new era will show us how! As a proud USPS worker I am ready to step up. Let's get this done!

All of the closures should be stopped and the recent ones should be reversed. The usps says the packages are increasing and they are going after the market but they are shutting down their network. Everyone knows packages require more space to process. That is why ups and fedex hand off a lot of their ground shipments to the postal service. The current executives all need to be removed and replaced. They have all told so many lies to the people they can't even keep them straight anymore. This is all about privatizing another public service just to make some CEO a little richer and rob the people of a service that is very much needed and used by the lower income people. If the people do not start standing together and fighting for these services they will all be privatized and will no longer be affordable for anyone. All these consolidations will do is make service even worse and once it is done it will be to late. The postal service should be adding services not cutting them. And for all of the people who pay their bills online don't worry as son as they take away all of the alternatives they will start charging for that too!!

i vote no no way. Just another attempt to privatize the P.O. They want the public to think the P.O. is in need of a billionair to come rescue us. Just a ploy to be able to sell shares and make millions.

I VOTE NO TO CONSOLIDATION & CLOSURE.

Further plant closures and consolidations will only delay mail that much more. The PMG should be trying to expand services that the general public want and need, such as banking. Additional closures and consolidations will only drive away customers. What business does this? If we truly run the USPS as a business, this would not be on the table. We need to keep customers, not show them the door.

Not only will it degrade the service but also eliminate good Postal jobs. Also what will you have as an incentive to keep and hire future workforce if you looking to constantly downgrade the postal service. People become nervous or fearful working for an unstable company

You people who vote yes have no idea of how drastic the drop in contractor labor quality is. I see it every day with my own eyes.

In the end DUO and postplan will have cost the usps millions.

Give these guys a break. The mail deliveries are bad enough with out closing different facilities.
I am tired of this country not caring about about citizens, and put some money into the post office, but they sure find the money to give illegals everything for nothing.

The Post Office consolidation was based on the shrinking volume of mail from the 2007 peak. When our economy collapsed, so did the mail volume. But last year and this past year , we are noticing a significant increase in mail volume. This is the current trend, so if we continue to close mail processing plants, we are going to find that we will need to reopen them ASAP. This process of closing and then reopening plants, will be more costly than just keeping them open. And the elephant in the room is the government report that states "Revenue saved from closing mail processing plants, might be offset by the drop in customers due to our lower service standards." So the danger here is that we could dismantle the best Postal Service on the planet, and not save one dime. Do Americans want that? I know Darrell Issa and Staples want that!

If the plants are not running 24 hour and USPS wants to delay mail further. Why not run the plant 24 hour, instead of on 2 shifts. From my prospective the logistics are not being worked out and the decisions are like wagging the dog.

How is it we pay for contract trucking to stop at our office on a hotshot (mid day run) empty and load up with outgoing mail . . . only to have another truck arrive to take outgoing mail an hour and 15 minutes later? We're a small office, we don't take in that much mail, so the last truck leaves with very little outgoing mail.

Send us mail on the hotshot that is worked at the plant, it gives the clerks opportunity to work the mail in preparation for tomorrow. It levels off the personnel needed in the morning with the load leveling of mail.

And speaking of load leveling. We see no change in mail volume arriving Monday vs Tuesday.(for example)
We are overloaded on Monday. Tuesday we're looking for something to work.

This is a long way of saying that yes, its possible that plant consolidation is needed but why are we not looking at the plants working more efficiently, the dispatchs revamped which trickles down to solving staffing issues with offices.

Within 5 years of this action (closing 82 additional processing plants) the United States Postal Service will cease to exist. This is a "point of no return" for PMG Donaho. It will destroy customer confidence in the Post Office and other sources of communication by hard copy will be utilized. In 5 years what is left of the Postal Service will be privatized (much to the delight of ultra right) so that a profit motive can be introduced into another civil institution. This ultra basic form of civil communication will cease to be available to the citizens of the United States (check your constitution for congresses duty to provide for a post office and the maintenance of postal roads).

This is definitely the wrong road for the Postal Service to go down!

I think the biggest problem the Post Office has is finding other areas of revenue. They knew many years ago that the mail volume will level out and it did yet, they kept spending money. PMG states that the Post Office has financial woes yet continues to blunder money on useless plans and ideas. I work in a 1/2 closed facility that is Supposed to close early next year. They plan to move our mail to a southern facility and absorb our plant. They already took our outgoing mail last year but, couldn't close us completely. My facility the building was bought and paid for. No lease and has had better profit and numbers than the facility (our district HQ) they are consolidating us to. Now keep in mind they did not do their research last year. Clerks cannot be excessed outside 50 miles. The gaining facility is 87+ miles away. Now if people are excessed the PO has to pay them money including travel time back and forth. These are costs that are well hidden and never accounted for. As of right now we have had nothing but mail being canceled at that facility and sent back down to use to process for the consumers. There is nothing is worse than getting Delayed mail day in and day out. Mail being sent from our area over 87+ miles away just to be sent back to be processed. The costs of extra trucks is astounding. I have seen letters that were mailed in the same city that took over 3 days to get to the consumer. If the PMG gets his way it will take a week to get a letter sent across the street to your neighbor.

There are a lot of hidden costs that they never consider when closing a facility. I feel that the quality of the mail must be to insure that our consumer get their products in a timely matter. (Mail getting miss sent can take days to weeks to get to it's destination) Consolidating does not solve this issue it only put a Band-Aid on it and drives consumers to look elsewhere for business because it will take to long to deliver something just in their community. Consolidation does not solve the PO woes it only adds to them.

Giving people slower service isn't going to win customers back. By closing these facilities you're slowing down the mail. I still mail my bills in cause I personally don't trust putting my account info online. So that means it'll take my bills longer to get to me and it'll take longer to get to their destination. Recently my family and I took a vacation to Orlando and like we always have we mail post cards home to my sons grandparents. We mailed them on a Tuesday. They arrived two weeks later once we had ol already been home over a week and now you're telling me it'll be slower with these plant closures? No thanks.

UPS and FedEx have already shown that they will not serve or if they do they, will impose a surcharge on any rural address they deliver to.
They have and will impose fuel surcharges.
They will fight any damage claim you file claiming bad packaging.
If UPS and FedEx can and will deliver to any house in the US for the same money why do I receive packages from the USPS that were shipped by UPS or FedEx to the Post Office for delivery.
Once the USPS is dismantled and USPS and FedEx and several other companies have access to my mail box all bets are off on what will be put in mailbox and by whom.
The Inspection service will not be able to police all the companies that will handle the mail.
The problem with the USPS is Congress and Management seem to be in bed together to dismantle it and take the most profitable parts for themselves, or whomever is lining their pockets and leave the rest for the USPS. Which would then require the Federal Government to subsidize.

1. What will be the impact of consolidation on service to residents of Central Kentucky?
2. Will next day first class local delivery be preserved? i.e. will a letter mailed from one address to another within the Lexington service area still be expected for delivery the following day.
3. What savings will the Postal Service achieve by consolidating mail processing operations away from the Lexington Plant?
4. How will those savings be achieved?
5. What specific numbers can the Post Office site to show a cost savings as opposed to cost shifting?
6 What is the expected reduction in the number of jobs of the Lexington Plant? How many of those jobs are being shifted to a new location, as opposed to being eliminated?
7. How much will it save when fuel goes up? When the Lexington KY plant open fuel was $0,30 per gal.

Slower service means lower service. The USPS historically has been a service for the American people. The USPS has been there to deliver mail in times of war, great terror, depression, catastrophe and natural disasters. The USPS is letting the American public down by slowing service, letting themselves be the cash cow for decades having monies stolen from them by other agencies and generally not standing up for the American public's constitutional right of universal mail delivery. I have almost 25 years and love my job.

The closing and consolidating is not a necessity. Congressional responsible response it the key to sustaining a profitable PO. There seems to be no accountability for the USPS to take internal measures for bad decision making. This adds to additional monies that can aid its profits.

This effort of our own top management to set up the USPS for failure should be treated as the criminal act that it is. Why aren't our leaders in the USPS , Board of Governors, and Congress not listening to the people of this country regarding their Post Office? Because of their intent to privatize at all cost, and no regard for the public's interest.

Where are all the Benjamin's? Overpayments from past and current pension and benefit accounts. Current account for phantom employees that do not exist yet ( prefunding for future employees). Where is all this money? Where has it gone? What has it been used for? Why does Congress refuse to give it back? Can it be proved that this money is still accounted for? Where are all the Benjamin's? This is money that has been earned by the worker's of the postal service. This is money the public have exchanged willfully for the service rendered. Who is in possession of all this money? Who has been stealing all the Benjamin's?

If this money exist, why not use it to assist the company that produced it in the first place? Greed and privatization equalling to the Austerity of the public's Post Office must stop. It is a moral, economic, and constitutional issue. The OIG has the responsibility to make it righteous.

Everyone knows that the biggest problem facing USPS financially is the mandate that Congress has placed on USPS to pre fund the retiree program. Another major problem we are facing is the blatant push by our Postmaster General to privatize the USPS. Pat Donahoe has been trying to force the hand of Congress to vote and change legislation to end our retiree pre funding since he became PMG. He closes plants and offices across the country, disrupting employee's lives and enacts excessing of clerks only to revert everyone back to where they were before and pays out millions in grievance money. Anyone who works as an SSA can clearly see that all of the new Lean Mail standards and Premier Gold office designations are a business model based on UPS and their business model initiated by Management Employee's who were previously employed at one point by UPS. I don't believe the USPS can be run on Business Models that mimic those of privately run companies because of our unique Public service that we provide based on the foresight of our Founding Fathers.

Do you want privacy? If so, mail letters - as opposed to sending texts or e-mails on your phone. The USPS does offer
privacy at only $0.49 for a communication weighing 1 ounce or less......

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