Thursday, September 15, 2011

USPS Looking To Close Half Its Processing Centers, Cut 35,000 Additional Jobs

Just a quick update on my continuing coverage of the impending implosion of the U.S. Postal Service. Here's The Consumerist with the gory details:
With dark financial skies looming on its horizon, the U.S. Postal Service has already talked about closing thousands of post offices. But that's apparently not going to be enough to salvage the sinking ship, as USPS announced today it may close or combine 252 of its existing 487 mail processing centers.

The changes are expected to result in 35,000 USPS jobs being cut.

"We are forced to face a new reality," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. "First-Class Mail supports the organization and drives network requirements. With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic."

While the cuts will help save the service billions each year, it will also mean a delay in the delivery time for mail sent using a first-class stamp. Minimum delivery time for these items would now be two days.
For those of you keeping track at home, that's 35,000 additional layoffs on top of the 120,000 previously announced for a total of 155,000 postal service employees soon to lose their jobs. President Hopey-Changey better get that jobs bill passed through Congress soon, otherwise people might begin to think he doesn't care, or something.


  1. My best guess at the future of the post office...

    - town/neighborhood post offices will go the way of the dodo; only large towns and other high population centers, or regional PO's, will remain

    - the post office will push as much of their business to digital as possible, trying to compete with all manner of online companies, almost all of whom will be higher skilled and more nimble

    - related, the PO will try to digitize as much of their internal operation as possible; combined with above, this will make them extremely dependent on the internet

    - the post office will move its physical presence increasingly into retail locations, as dedicated corners or high-traffic retail, increasingly manned by minimum wage (but supposedly well trained) non-union employees (most of whom will probably end up being whatever cheap retail labor can be had)

    - everywhere delivery (the foundation of the postal service) will continue for a long time, but on a evermore reduced schedule (no weekends, except higher priced products, etc.) and slower pace (fewer delivery personnel); letters that once took only a couple days to be delivered will take weeks to deliver

    - peak oil and a declining empire will not be kind to the electrical grid and internet... this will be a hard lesson in efficiency vs. resilience for Americans... the PO, too. However, with time, it is possible that the long-term impact of this might be a resurgence in the postal service (granted, possibly on horseback, but lots of people ;-).

  2. @bmerson - brilliant. Love the idea of the Pony Express coming back. :)

  3. Yes, the function of delivering messages must continue, and will in a different form. It may also be an enterprise along the lines E.F. Schumacher might have suggested where higher employment rates are achieved through intermediate technology, or "economics as if people mattered."