US Mail Workers Facing Massive Layoffs

Posted August 12th, 2011 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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The slumping economy and the increased use of email and smartphones is forcing the United States Postal Service to consider taking some drastic action.

Draft proposals obtained by U.S. media Thursday and Friday show the Postal Service wants to get out of its existing union contracts and eliminate about 30 percent of its workforce over the next four years.

The proposal calls for the Postal Service to eliminate 220,000 of its about 560,000 full-time employees. It says about 100,000 jobs could be slashed through retirements and voluntary departures. The rest would come from layoffs.

Another proposal asks for the Postal Service to withdraw from U.S. government health and retirement plans, and establish its own plans in order to further reduce costs.

The Postal Service is a U.S. government agency but is set up to run like a private business, without government funding.

Despite already cutting 110,000 jobs in recent years, the Postal Service lost $8 billion last year and is expected to lose another $8 billion this year.

Postal Service officials have made several suggestions on other ways to reduce costs, including the elimination of mail delivery on Saturdays.

Last month, the Postal Service said it would evaluate the status of almost 4,000 of its nearly 32,000 retail postal locations.

Officials said they would begin a shift to a “village post office” model. The new business model would be operated by various local businesses, such as pharmacies and grocery stores.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars to cover operating expenses and collects its revenue from the sale of stamps and postal services.