Photo by urban_data (CC BY 2.0)

The long, slow destruction of the U.S. Postal Service is set to continue next week when 82 mail processing centers are closed and consolidated, despite calls from more than half the members of the outgoing Senate to stall the changes.

The Guardian reports:

Earlier this month, 30 senators, all but one of them Democrats, issued a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging USPS not to move forward with its “network rationalization” program until the agency has completed its analyses of potential impacts.

… Already, the Postal Service has consolidated 350 mail-processing facilities and taken other steps to reduce costs since 2006. In the past three years alone, the agency closed 143 plants and eliminated about 3,800 routes, in addition to reducing hours at more than 9,700 offices and trimming its workforce by 3,000 employees.

… Much of the Postal Service’s financial troubles in recent years stem from declines in mail volume, which have decreased by more than 27 percent since 2006. Nonetheless, some of the agency’s largest expenditures are beyond its control, including a congressional mandate to prefund retiree health benefits to the tune of about $5 billion a year.

Many critics have pointed out that the steady degradation of the U.S. Postal Service is consistent with plans by business and conservative politicians to enable shipping companies to capture larger and larger shares of the money Americans spend on mail delivery.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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