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Failing USPS Seeks Answers

September 2009

WASHINGTON, DC—After getting hammered with a $2.4 billion loss in its most recent quarter and facing a potential overall loss of nearly $7 billion this fiscal year, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is exploring the closure or consolidation of nearly 700 locations nationwide in an effort to right its financial ship.

The USPS sent a list of 688 offices to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission for review, according to The Associated Press.

The moves come despite recent revenue-building measures such as the two cent increase in stamps this past May, staff reductions and the removal of collection boxes. However, mail volume is expected to drop by 28 billion pieces this year as more and more people opt to communicate and conduct business via the Internet.

Clearly, the USPS is in need of a new game plan to counter the lost volume. For one, U.S. Postmaster General John Potter is cajoling Congress to push through the Postal Service Retiree Health Funding Reform Act, which was introduced in July. The law would rewrite the retiree health pre-funding schedule that the USPS was burdened with in 2006.

The USPS has been on the hook for more than $5 billion annually, which pre-funds retirees' future healthcare obligations.

Potter also pointed out that postal services worldwide offer a variety of ancillary products and services, ranging from driver's license renewals to banking and selling life insurance. Other industries have adjusted to changing markets and technologies, he noted, such as phone companies branching into cable television. PI


 

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