Wednesday, July 02, 2014

USPS to close up to 82 processing plants in 2015; weekly newspaper lobby decries rural impact

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced Monday that as many as 82 mail-processing plants will close next year, a move that would cut annual operating costs by about $750 million, reports Post & Parcel. In 2012 and 2013 the U.S. Postal Service closed 141 facilities, saving about $850 million a year. New closures would drop the number of facilities to 238, from 673 in 2006. A list of the 82 facilities to be closed is here. A USPS memo about the move is here.

In response to the announcement, National Newspaper Association President Robert M. Williams Jr., publisher of Georgia's Blackshear Times, wrote a letter to Donahoe expressing the importance of mail service in rural and small towns.

“We want postal reform legislation this year,” Williams wrote. “We have looked for several years now for legislation that balances the needs of USPS, of the postal workforce and of mailers, particularly those in rural areas hard hit by the previous round of postal plant closings. We recognize that the Postal Service is a powerful federal agency that influences our advertising marketplaces and therefore must be fairly regulated. But we object to Congress’s having tried repeatedly to use the postage-selling abilities of USPS as a cash cow. We are very hopeful that we will see legislation this year that strikes the right balance and that we can vigorously support it before these plant closings kick in. NNA firmly believes that mail service to rural and small-town America is critical to local economies. We will not stand by quietly when it is put at risk.”

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