The U.S. Postal Service announced plans on Thursday to close or consolidate 223 mail processing centers. Up to 35,000 jobs could be eliminated. The decisions are not final. No closings will occur before May 15. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue agreed to that timetable under moratorium proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders to give Congress time to act. "The plan announced today by the U.S. Postal Service is deeply flawed and Congress must change it. I expect comprehensive postal reform legislation to be on the floor of the Senate within the next few weeks," Sanders added.
"At a time when the Postal Service is competing against the instantaneous delivery of information from email and the Internet, slowing down mail delivery service will result in less business and less revenue, and will bring about a death spiral for this institution which is so vitally important for all Americans," Sanders said.
"A critical weakness of the current Postal Service plan is that it ignores the onerous financial burden being placed on the Postal Service by $5.5 billion a year in pre-payments for future retiree health benefits. According to the Postal Service inspector general, those payments are no longer necessary because of the $45 billion which that account already has accumulated," Sanders added. "The Postal Service needs to be reformed not by massive cuts, but by a new entrepreneurial business model which expands the products and services the post office can sell in the 21st century digital age."