The United States Postal Service (USPS) in mid-May announced plans to move ahead with a modified plan to consolidate its network of 461 mail processing locations. The first phase of the consolidations will begin this summer, resulting in up to 140 consolidations through February 2013. Unless USPS circumstances change in the interim, a second and final phase of 89 consolidations is currently scheduled to begin in February 2014.
The Postal Service has committed to ensuring the consolidation process will not impact the election and fall mailing seasons. With that in mind, the consolidation process will start with 48 locations and is scheduled to be completed by late August. No consolidation activities will take place from September through December 2012. Consolidations of the other first phase locations will continue early next year. A list of the 140 first phase locations is available at http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/welcome.htm. USPS Chief Operations Officer Megan Brennan stated, “The Postal Service will be communicating with our customers and employees in great detail. We will work closely with our customers to ensure there are no surprises as we move forward.”
The Postal Service also announced it will be modifying its existing Service Standard for overnight delivery. A final rule will soon be published in the Federal Register which will shrink the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas and to enable consolidation activity in 2013. The change will allow the Postal Service to collapse the distance for overnight service to the distribution area served by a particular mail processing facility. The new rule would further tighten the overnight service delivery standard in 2014, enabling further consolidation of the Postal Service mail processing network.
When fully implemented in late 2014, the Postal Service expects the network consolidations and Service Standard changes to generate approximately $2.1 billion in annual cost reductions and lead to a total workforce reduction of up to 28,000 employees.