USPS Accelerates Implementation
Of 18 Consolidation Sites
APWU Web News Article 008-2013, Jan. 22, 2013
Postal management notified the APWU on Jan. 17 of its decision to accelerate the consolidation of 18 sites [PDF], moving implementation from 2014 to 2013. The 18 facilities were originally among 89 sites that management identified for consolidation next year, in Phase 2 of a modified consolidation plan that was announced in May 2012.
In the Jan. 17 letter to the APWU, the Postal Service wrote, “The reason for this change is that the Postal Service has identified the opportunity to accelerate the anticipated savings while still maintaining the interim SCF service standard.”
Several days earlier, on Jan. 14, the USPS Board of Governors directed management to accelerate the restructuring of Postal Service operations to further reduce costs [PDF]. The Postal Service did not link the decision to accelerate the 18 consolidations to the Board’s instructions, and has not said how it plans to respond to the directive.
“Management’s consolidation goals remain the same: To reduce the mail processing network by half,” said Executive Vice President Greg Bell. “This most recent announcement underscores the urgency of congressional action to resolve the Postal Service’s congressionally-manufactured financial crisis,” he said. “In the meantime, the APWU will continue to demand that the USPS adhere to our Collective Bargaining Agreement and keep dislocation of employees to a minimum.”
On May 17, 2012, the Postal Service announced that it would begin implementing a modified consolidation plan immediately. Phase 1 consisted of consolidating 48 plants [PDF] in 2012 and another 92 plants [PDF] in 2013. During Phase 2, in 2014, the USPS intended to consolidate an additional 89 plants. The plan would eliminate a total of 229 plants.
The Postal Service implemented new interim service standards in July 2012, which limited overnight delivery of first-class mail to “intra-SCF” (Sectional Center Facility) mail. The change in service standards enabled the USPS to implement the first phase of the consolidation program. Under the new standards, beginning in 2014 overnight delivery of first-class mail will be available only to large presort mailers.
The APWU filed a complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in June 2012 seeking to prevent the Postal Service from implementing its consolidation plan and lowering service standards. The PRC denied the APWU complaint.