(July 7, 2014) Robert M. Williams Jr., president of the National Newspaper Association and publisher of the Blackshear (Ga.) Times issued a statement strongly objecting to forthcoming closures planned by the United States Postal Service.
The USPS said it would close or consolidate more than 80 mail-processing facilities after January, and lower service standards for periodicals and first-class mail.
“We deeply regret our long-time partnership with the Postal Service is about to be further stressed by another degradation of service,” Williams said in a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “NNA does not understand how rising prices, slower service and further concentration of services into urban areas helps our nationwide mail service to survive Internet competition or any other threat.”
The USPS said the move would save it more than $3.5 billion per year over the next five years — or about $750 million per year.
As a result of the proposed changes, 20 percent of first-class mail is expected to be delivered overnight, 35 percent in two days and about 44 percent delivered in three days. Approximately 82 facilities will undergo consolidation affecting about 15,000 employees. The USPS said it will make every effort to reassign employees without resorting to layoffs.
Despite reporting positive operating profits for the first time in several years, Donahoe cited a $40 billion debt as the impetus for the change. The debt is related to the accelerated prepayment of postal retiree healthcare costs imposed by Congress in a 2006 postal law, he said.