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Entries in USPS (35)

Friday
Aug122011

Postal Service Seeks Congress' Approval to Cut 120,000 Jobs

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service is proposing to do something far more radical than just eliminating Saturday delivery to make up for its huge budget shortfall.

The Postal Service wants to eliminate 20 percent of its workforce by 2015 but can only do it by getting out of union contracts that restrict mass firings.

With the agency on a path to lose a record $9 billion during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the USPS says it needs to get rid of 220,000 jobs and get out of making payments to the federal health and employee pension programs that cover Postal Service workers.

According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, the Postal Service says 100,000 of those cuts are expected through attrition, while the remaining 120,000 would mostly come from layoffs if Congress grants the agency permission to get out of union contracts.

This is all independent of the agency's plans to shut down about 37,000 offices, mostly in small communities, over the next year, in addition to plans to end Saturday delivery.

Naturally, the proposal to gut collective bargaining rights is not winning over the the American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers.

"This stuff is devastating to our people, especially when Congress is holding the money that the employees had," American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey told ABC News Radio.  "They're saying, 'We're not going to give you back your money, we want the post office to lay you off.'  That is wrong, fundamentally wrong in this country."

Guffey said Congress is holding about "an extra $86 billion more than necessary" which, he said, "should be returned to the Postal Service" to "pay other funds, pay off their debt, do everything else that's necessary to have monies to operate."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan242011

US Postal Service to Close Thousands of Post Offices

Photo Courtesy - Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Your local post office might not be around much longer.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S Postal Service, facing an ocean of red ink, plans to shut down up to 2,000 offices across the U.S. this year beginning in March.  That’s in addition to the nearly 500 offices that the agency closed for good towards the end of 2010.

According to the USPS, it will also ask Congress to change a law so that the least profitable of 16,000 offices currently running at a deficit can also be shuttered.  At present, the law says offices can be closed only for reasons that don’t have to do with profitability.

Last year, the USPS said it lost a record $8.5 billion.  In taking drastic action, the agency is considering the viability of 32,000 brick and mortar offices in an age when people commonly use text messages and e-mails to communicate, and are more often paying their bills online.

Critics of the USPS doomsday plan say that it will most greatly affect post offices in rural areas, where they serve as the closest link to large cities and are most often used by elderly people not up to speed with the modern electronic world.

For years, the agency has searched for ways to cut corners besides shrinking its workforce, including raising rates and limiting services.  So far, the USPS has been unsuccessful in its goal to end Saturday deliveries, a plan it claims would be an enormous money-saver.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec172010

More Than 1,700 Stores Offer Free Shipping; Deadlines for Christmas Deliveries

Photo Courtesy - FreeShippingDay [dot] com(NEW YORK) -- For those last minute shoppers still surfing the Net to buy gifts for their loved ones, Friday might just be the day to finalize those purchases.

In what's known as Free Shipping Day, over 1,700 online vendors are offering free shipping deals to consumers nationwide Friday and guaranteeing deliveries by Christmas Eve.  To view the full list of participating stores, visit FreeShippingDay.com.

On a related note, deadlines are approaching for shipping holiday packages.

To ensure delivery before Christmas, customers using FedEx's Ground and Home Delivery services must ship their items by Dec. 17.  Otherwise, they can use the company's 2Day service on the 22nd or ship with FedEx Overnight on the 23rd.

Those shipping via UPS will have until Dec. 21 to ship their packages with 3-Day Select or, like with FedEx's Overnight service, they can use Next Day Air on Dec. 23 to guarantee delivery by Christmas.

For shipments via the U.S. Postal Service, First Class Mail needs to be sent by Dec. 20, Priority Mail by Dec. 21, and Express Mail by Dec. 22.  The deadline for letters and packages to U.S. service members overseas is Dec. 18.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec152010

Sad Santa Letters Tell of Economic Woes, USPS Says

Photo Courtesy - PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With just days to go until Santa shimmies down those chimneys, letters to the big jolly guy are coming in fast and furious.

But this year, mixed in with the letters asking for toys and video games, are an increasing number of requests for warm coats, food and help paying the electric bill to keep the heat on.

"The common theme this year seems to be a single mom with young kids, the parent has left, they don't know who the father is, or the father left and they can't pay the bills," said Pete Fontana, head of the United States Postal Service Operation Santa in New York.

It's Fontana's post office in midtown Manhattan -- right across the street from Penn Station -- where most of the letters to Santa arrive each year from around the world. He's expecting about two million letters this year.

Post offices in two dozen other locations across the country also accept letters. Most are addressed simply to "Santa Claus, North Pole."

Though many considered last year to be the toughest financially since the economic downturn, Fontana said, it appears that more people are struggling this year, both from the letters and the decreased amount of volunteers who sign up to fulfill some of the writers' wishes.

"We had one little girl write in and say all she wants is a winter coat for her mom. Nothing for herself," he said. "We had another letter for grandparents and they wanted to put a turkey with the trimmings for the holiday dinner … but they couldn't even get their medicine."

Other letters are similarly heartbreaking.

Eight-year-old Skayla told Santa that her mother doesn't have a job and her father lives in the Dominican Republic, leaving it up to her grandmother to buy everything. She asked for clothes and shoes for herself, her seven-year-old sister and their infant brother, even including their sizes.

"Thanks Santa," she wrote," I LOVE YOU."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov122010

US Postal Service on the Verge of Going Broke?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It's the biggest civilian employer after Walmart, but apparently the U.S. Postal Service is not "too big to fail." Friday, the Postal Service said that without Congressional action it could be bankrupt by the end of next year.

"We will continue our relentless efforts to innovate and improve efficiency. However, the need for changes to legislation, regulations and labor contracts has never been more obvious," Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said in a statement.

The venerated 235-year-old institution is deep in the red. It lost $8.5 billion last year, shedding 105,000 jobs. In the next ten years, the agency could lose a whopping $238 billion.

While not obsolete, mail carriers are certainly carrying less and less mail.

In the 2010 fiscal year, mail carriers delivered 6 billion fewer pieces of mail than in 2009.

Snail mail is on the same fast track to death as the Yellow Pages and classified ads, all thanks to the Internet.

The post office does not receive tax money to operate, but taxpayers could be on the line if the agency defaults.

Some have suggested privatizing the service, but for now the post office still answers to Congress and Congress has been reluctant to approve measures like closing local branches of the post office, a move that would save the institution money and help pull it into the black.

The Postal Service has asked Congress to approve other cost-cutting measures such as ending Saturday service, raising the prices of stamps and cutting its obligation to future retirees.

Sen. Thomas Carper D-Del. vowed that the Postal Service will not go under and argued that the agency is crucial to American jobs.

"In mid-2011, the Postal Service will use up its line of credit [entering] crisis mode... What needs to be done is Congress needs to get out of the way and let them act more like a business and be more entrepreneurial," Carper said. "If we're interested in creating jobs and nurturing the environment for creating jobs, one of the worst things we can do is let the Postal Service go under."

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night could do it, but a deficit just might stop mail carriers in their tracks.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

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