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Entries in USPS (35)

Wednesday
Apr182012

Congress Unsure Whether to Toss Last Lifeline to Postal Service

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Capitol Hill lawmakers only have a few weeks to decide whether to save the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service.

Judging by some comments made Tuesday, the prospects don't look good for the post office as we know it.

There is talk about an $11 billion cash infusion so that the USPS could delay the close of processing centers and underperforming post offices, as well holding off suspending Saturday delivery.

In turn, the USPS would offer buyouts to 100,000 long-time employees, reduce various perks, including future retiree health benefits and raise the price of first-class postage to 50 cents.

Congress has until May 15 to make its decision, the deadline Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe gave before he starts mass closings and a possible end to six-day delivery service.

Sen. John McCain sounded like he was all ready to pull the plug during Tuesday's hearings.

The Arizona Republican said, "Instead of doing as some did when the Pony Express was replaced by the railroads and try to prop up a failing industry, let's find a graceful exit."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr172012

IRS Tax Day 2012: A Lonelier Post Office

Where did all the people go? This post office in NYC used to be packed with last minute filers on tax day. Not so much any more. ABC News(NEW YORK) -- For the United States Postal Service, tax deadline day is hardly as fun as it used to be.

“In the old days it was tax night parties and people standing outside grabbing the mail as you drive by,” said Connie Chirichello, a spokeswoman for USPS in New York.  “Things have totally changed.”

They’ve changed because most taxpayers are filing online.  For the week of April 6, the most recent for which data is available, 87 percent of taxes filed were done so electronically.

It means fewer of the financially strapped post offices around the country have the customers or the resources to stay open until midnight to accommodate procrastinators.

In California, for example, the Postal Service says there are 22 post offices with extended hours, about a quarter of the number open late in the past.

“[Taxpayers] were going to the post office to mail their return at 11:30 at night and over the last 15 years it has changed,” said Chirichello.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr132012

Half of US Mail Facilities No Longer Needed, Study Says

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new study on the United States Postal Service shows the mail network is having a hard time keeping up with slimming down as more people turn to texting and email.

Released by the Government Accountability Office, the April study highlights the amount of excess in the mail system.

For example, the GAO says the Postal Service has 461 processing centers, but 223 of those centers are no longer needed.

It operates 8,000 mail processing machines, but the amount of mail has dwindled so much that they no longer need 3,000 of those machines.

Of the 154,000 postal employees, up to 35,000 could be let go because there is not enough mail for them to handle, the study concluded.

This excess is a result of the decline in areas such as First-Class mail volume and automation improvements in mail sorting.

The USPS has saved $2.4 billion since 2006 after starting their initiative to eliminate excess facilities and operations.  However, in the same year the gap between USPS expenses and revenues has grown.  It was predicted in February that net losses will reach $21 billion by 2016 despite actions to reduce excess cost.

The December 2011 proposal by the USPS to change overnight delivery service and move to a five day delivery schedule is currently being reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission.  The USPS hopes to save $22.5 billion by 2016 if the proposal is approved.

The report stated the USPS had no comment on the findings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb242012

US Postal Service to Consolidate 200+ Processing Centers

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After completing a five-month review of 264 mail processing centers, the U.S. Postal Service announced on Thursday it will move forward with plans to close the majority of them later this year.

The agency, facing financial losses of up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, said 223 facilities will be consolidated all or in part, while six will be put on hold for further evaluation.  Thirty-five others will remain open for the time being.

[CLICK HERE TO SEE WHICH FACILITIES ARE SLATED FOR CONSOLIDATION]

The consolidations are expected to occur sometime after May 15 and will cut approximately 35,000 positions, according to the USPS.

"These changes are a necessary part of a larger comprehensive plan developed by the Postal Service to reduce operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 and return the organization to profitability," the agency said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb172012

50-Cent Stamp, Other Postal Changes Coming

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The United States Postal Service may raise the price of first class postage to 50 cents. The U.S. Post Office, facing financial losses of up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, wants to charge more for postage, more for services, and to suspend Saturday delivery.

The 50-cent stamp would represent an 11 percent increase in postal rates.

USPS delivers 40 percent of the world’s mail. Its revenues exceed $65 billion a year.

The service said last week that it lost $3.3 billion last quarter, and that it is forecasting a loss of $14.1 billion for the year ending Sept. 30. Such losses, said the Postal Service in a letter sent last week to Congress, would be ”unsustainable” and would cause USPS to become “a burden” to the U.S. taxpayer. The letter called that outcome “highly undesirable.”

Currently, USPS gets no taxpayer dollars for its operating expenses, which are funded by the sale of postage and postal services.

Suspending Saturday delivery would save $2.7 billion a year, the Postal Service says. Raising the cost of first-class postage to 50 cents would increase annual revenues by $1 billion.

The post office’s chief financial officer said USPS is the least expensive major postal service in the world, and that its services are “clearly underpriced.”

The last postal increase occurred late last month, when the cost of mailing a first-class letter rose from 44 cents to 45 cents. Rates also rose for packages, for periodicals, and for a wide variety of services.  The law limits USPS increases overall to the rate or inflation, or 2.1 percent a year.

Before the January increase, USPS first-class rates held steady for two and a half years.

To raise revenue, the Postal Service has introduced new products. In 2012, they include Package Intercept: For $10.95 (plus Priority Mail postage), a customer can intercept and recall a package already sent  before it reaches its destination.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan232012

US Postal Service Ups Rates of First-Class Letters and More

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an effort to stay afloat, the United States Postal Service raised rates on Sunday for the first time since 2009.

As of now, it costs a penny more -- 45 cents -- to send a first-class letter and three cents more -- 32 cents -- to send a postcard.  Charges for letters sent to international destinations are also higher, costing either five or seven cents more depending on where they're being delivered.

[CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE RATE CHANGES]


Of course, these price increases alone won't be enough to save the USPS from possibly going belly-up by this summer.  There are plans in the works to close thousands of post offices and hundreds of processing centers, which will affect tens of thousands of jobs.  The end of Saturday deliveries is also a possibility.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec302011

ABC News Lists Top 10 Business Blunders of 2011

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Businesses make mistakes all the time. Unfortunately, when they blunder, the repercussions can be wide, from customer data being compromised to employees losing their jobs and shareholders getting wiped out.

Here's a look at 10 foul-ups of 2011:

1. Bank of America: The $5 Fiasco

When Bank of America announced plans in late September to charge customers for using their debit card for purchases, customers expressed their outrage in dramatic fashion.

Over 150,000 people signed a petition asking the bank to cancel the $5 monthly fee and over 650,000 people joined Bank Transfer Day, shifting funds to credit unions.

The bank, still reeling from the mortgage meltdown, relented and announced on Nov. 1 the fee's cancellation.

2. Netflix: Red Envelope Company Sees Red

DVD-rental company Netflix lost 800,000 of its 20 million members after it announced a new pricing plan and streaming service, Qwikster, in October. CEO Reed Hastings soon after canceled plans to split the service and apologized to customers, but the damage was done. Netflix's stock price, which was near $300 a share in mid-July and has a 52-week high of $304.79, recently traded at $70.

3. Family Radio: Doomsday Averted, But Not for Radio Station

Companies frequently miss forecasts but when Harold Camping, president of radio station Family Radio, predicted the end of the world twice this year, some may have breathed a sigh of relief.

Camping first predicted the end of the world for May 21, 2011 investing heavily with millions of dollars in a national advertising campaign. After the world pressed on, Camping then changed his forecast to Oct. 21. Camping reportedly apologized for his failed predictions.

"I should not have said that, and I apologize," Camping said, according to San Francisco's KGO-TV. "God is merciful."

4. RIM's Blackberry: Worldwide Outage

Outages for Canadian company Research in Motion's (RIM) Blackberry mobile device caused a stir after service in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia was knocked out Oct. 12.

David Yach, chief technology officer for software, said the problem originated in Europe and spread because there was a massive backlog of emails. CEO Mike Lazaridis apologized in a Youtube video.

The company's shares fell more than 75 percent in 2011, with growing domination from smartphones with Google's Android software and the iPhone. The Wall Street Journal called 2011 a "disastrous" year for RIM and investors and analysts have called for the board to take stronger control of the company.

5. Goldman Sachs: Occupy Losses

In October, venerated investment bank Goldman Sachs reported its second loss since its IPO in May 1999, missing estimates for the second consecutive quarter. The company reported a loss of $393 million in the third quarter compared with a $1.9 billion profit one year ago. Worries in both debt and equity markets caused softness in the bank's revenue, according to Janney Capital Markets.

Goldman Sachs and other large banks attracted the ire of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which launched on Sept. 17, for their role in risky bets in the subprime mortgage market that contributed to the country's near financial collapse.

6. Sony PlayStation: The Year of the Hack?

In April, Sony Corp. said the credit card data of PlayStation users may have been stolen in a hack that forced it to shut down its PlayStation Network for a week, disconnecting around 77 million user accounts around the world.

The company said there was no evidence that credit card information was compromised, but said it could not rule out that possibility, leading PlayStation users -- and their parents -- to take precautions with their data.

Several other companies confessed to data breaches, such as investment bank Morgan Stanley and online marketing firm Epsilon.

7. Borders: Bankruptcy, Liquidation

After bookseller Borders filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, the chain began liquidating bookstores and closed over 500 bookstores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that it owned at the beginning of the year. Borders Group, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., announced 6,000 layoffs February 17 and 10,700 layoffs July 19.

8. American Airlines: Friendly Skies of Bankruptcy

American Airlines' parent company, AMR, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 29, faced with rising fuel prices and high labor costs. While operations continued for customers, the airline said its employees would be the most affected.

The company, based in Fort Worth, Texas, was the only major U.S. airline that did not seek bankruptcy protection after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Unlike other carriers, American did not merge with a competitor, and it was the only major airline to lose money last year.

CEO Gerard Arpey stepped down and was replaced by Thomas Horton, formerly the company's president, to run the nation's third-largest airline. AMR shares plunged 85 percent to just 25 cents a share in trading that day. Thursday the New York Stock Exchange announced that the company's shares would be delisted.

9. U.S. Postal Service: Shuttering Post Offices

The U.S. Postal Service had a dramatic last few years as post offices have closed in rural towns, and in 2011 the organization was near a default and faced a $9 billion deficit.

With the prevalence of e-mail and delivery competitors FedEx and UPS, the future of the postal service is very much in doubt.

On Sep. 15, the Postal Service announced it would begin studying 252 out of 487 mail processing facilities for possible closure but it has not yet confirmed closures of those facilities.

The Postal Service announced on Dec. 5 that it wants to cut an estimated $3 billion in costs to avoid a bankruptcy. The proposal includes the elimination of one-day delivery and closing half of its processing centers.

10. MF Global

The bankruptcy of the commodities trading firm MF Global on Oct. 31 was the eighth largest in U.S. history. About $1.2 billion in client money went missing as the company shut its doors. Jon Corzine, former senator and governor of New Jersey who resigned as CEO on Nov. 3, said he does not know where the money is.

After making risky bets on the European debt crisis, the company's bankruptcy has "devastated thousands of customers -- including farmers, ranchers, grain elevators, small business owners and others," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. A Senate hearing about the missing money took place on Dec. 13, describing outrage from lawmakers and clients.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec142011

USPS to Hold Off on Post Office Closings Until May

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With massive layoffs and closings looming, the United States Postal Service has given itself a reprieve.

The USPS was prepared to shutter 250 mail processing plants that would have resulted in 28,000 layoffs beginning at the start of next year but with the clock ticking fast, the agency said it would hold off on any action until May 15.

This moratorium would presumably give Congressional lawmakers more time to find ways of reforming the post office so that first-class mail and Saturday deliveries would not be affected.

Still, with the USPS losing billions every year, agency officials say Washington's plans have to be bold and decisive.  Up to now, that hasn't been the case.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, who is leading the effort to save the post office, challenged his fellow lawmakers on Tuesday "to put up or shut up."

Durbin said, "If you don't like what the postal service has put forward (to cut costs) by closing processing facilities and post offices and eliminating jobs, then come up with a better approach.  It's a challenge we need to accept, and this agreement with the postal service gives us that opportunity."

Meanwhile, unions, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, praised the temporary reprieve and expressed hope that Congress would come up with a solution to the crisis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec052011

Snail Mail May Get Slower: Postal Service Looks to Cut $2 Billion

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Postal Service announced Monday that it is moving forward on a plan to cut over $2 billion that will come at the cost of making First Class mail delivery slower.
 
The proposed slowing of First Class mail service comes at a time when the postal service is losing business to faster digital communication options, like e-mail on online bill payment. The proposed change risks the possibility of further encouraging costumers to transfer their communications to digital mediums, but Vice President of Network Operations Dave Williams says the decision is a necessary to put the Postal Service “on sound financial ground.”
 
“We have to do this, we have to make this change in order for the postal service to become financially viable,” Williams told reporters Monday. Williams went on to say that the service expects to lose $14 billion this year if it doesn’t get congressional relief.
 
Under the plan, which the Postal Service is now sending to the Postal Regulatory Commission for review, First Class mail would no longer have an overnight processing standard. The standard delivery window for First Class mail would increase from its current 1-3 day delivery standard to 2-3 days.
 
In addition to the proposed increase in the standard delivery time for First Class mail, the plan takes into consideration closing 252 of the nation's 461 mail processing centers.
 
Post Master General Patrick Donahue says that with the proposed consolidation of processing centers, about 35,000 employee’s jobs will be affected. These job losses would add to the 250,000 jobs that the postal service has already lost over the last decade.
 
While the 252 processing centers under review will not be affected until the Postal Regulatory Commission’s review is complete in approximately three months, the postal service has already begun a process of cutting back its processing centers. Since September, the Postal Service has closed 26 processing facilities, according to Williams.
 
The postal service is also looking to cut back delivery service from six days a week to five days a week, which Donahoe says would save $3 billion, as well as cutting back on retiree health care costs. These two cost-saving measures, however, need congressional approval before they can be implemented.
 
“Congress needs to act now,” Donahue said. “We’ve got two bills, one in the House, one in the Senate, the administration is waiting …We need to act right now.”
 
The postal service projects that it needs to decrease its total operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 in order to keep up with the continued decrease in the demand for the service.
 
“What we have to do is look at what we can take out of this organization from a cost standpoint because we have lost volume and we have lost revenue and you can’t just sit back and wait, you’ve got to act on these things,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told reporters Monday. “We’ve got a goal of $20 billion dollars and we’re going to do that in order to keep ourselves financially helpful.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec052011

USPS Expected to Announce Cuts that Would Slow Service

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesUPDATE: The downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service will mean slower mail delivery starting in the spring.

“We have to do this; we have to make this change in order for the postal service to become financially viable,” said USPS vice president of operations David Williams, who added that more than 500 postal processing centers are being closed, and postal workers encouraged to take early retirement.

“We need to have 20,000 fewer employees,” Williams said.

The closures would mean that mail has to travel farther to be delivered so people would no longer be able to expect next-day delivery in nearby communities.

The postal service also plans to close thousands of lightly-used post offices.

Since 2006, Williams said, demand for postal service has dropped, leading to idle equipment, personnel and space.  He says those expenses are unsupported by customer demand.

===

(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Postal Service is expected to announce Monday measures that would slow mail delivery for the first time in 40 years.

Slammed by email competition and buried by massive payments for health care and retirement benefits, The Washington Post reports that USPS officials plan to cut costs by closing approximately 250 of the postal service’s 460 mail processing facilities -- an estimated savings of $3 billion annually.

Come spring, forget next-day delivery; first-class mail will reportedly take two to five days to arrive, instead of the current one to three days. The delays would mean slower delivery for everything from paychecks to mail-order prescriptions and DVD rentals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio