The money-losing USPS is offering buyouts to 45,000 mail handlers as it moves to slash its payroll and cut the number of processing centers around the country by nearly half.

The closures and buyouts are part of a plan to reduce the Postal Service’s staff of nearly 600,000 by 150,000 over the next two years. The cuts will shave $2.1 billion off the agency’s costs.

On its website, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union says optimistically that the cuts are part of a plan to help mail handlers “who might be prepared to move on to the next chapter in their lives.”

With so many USPS employees joining the ranks of the unemployed, one might ask exactly what new opportunities union leaders have in mind. –ARK

The New York Times:

Full-time mail handlers wanting to sign up must do so by July 2 and agree to leave or retire by Aug. 31, according to the agreement reached between the Postal Service and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. Part-time handlers have until July 16 to take the buyouts.

The Postal Service said the buyouts were necessary because the agency needs fewer people to handle mail as the volume of mail has declined and, Americans have moved to the Internet to communicate and pay bills. In 2000, about 5 percent of Americans paid their bills online. That number is now 60 percent.

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