USPS Just Announced These Major Closures
It will affect 100,000 carrier routes.
With over 19,000 locations across the country, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) boasts a broad network and route structure for its mail carriers. Whether you rely on the mail service to deliver your bills, postcards, or packages, the agency is legally obligated to deliver to you, regardless of where you live. But as of late, the USPS has faced serious criticism amid financial woes and staffing shortages, and a 10-year reform plan has been put in place to streamline operations. One component of this plan was announced earlier this week, which could affect your local carrier route. Read on to find out what closures are on the docket, and how they might affect delivery speed to your mailbox.
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The USPS came under fire earlier this week for allegedly prioritizing certain packages.
In addition to a slew of changes that the USPS has introduced this year—including slower delivery rates and increased shipping costs—the Postal Service faced criticism for an alleged illegal delivery practice. According to a motion filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) by the Strategic Organization Center (SOC), managers at USPS facilities are instructing employees to "prioritize Amazon packages over every other kind of mail."
The SOC, which includes four labor unions, conducted a survey of USPS employees, with data indicating that workers had been told to give preference to Amazon packages. If allegations are true, it would violate the agency's legal obligation not to give priority to any mail or discriminate between users. The SOC requested access to an agreement between the USPS and Amazon, and if granted by the PRC, the organization intends to review and file a formal complaint, the motion stated.
While the USPS faces criticism about processes, it is also working to improve its operations, and upcoming initiatives could affect your daily delivery.
The USPS announced plans to close these facilities.
The 10-year reform plan aims to keep the Postal Service's costs down while driving revenue—but what it also includes is the closure and consolidation of different USPS facilities.
In a keynote address at the 2022 National Postal Forum on May 16, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced the plans to transform the delivery network. To improve workflow and operations, the agency plans to close several annexes that have been deemed "inefficient," operating as ad-hoc operations that increase costs and transportation needs. According to DeJoy, this will affect almost 100,000 carrier routes, 10,000 delivery units, 500 mail processing locations, and 1,000 transfer hubs.
As reported by Federal News Network, DeJoy said mail and packages are processed in a "complicated, illogical, redundant, and inefficient way." Facilities also don't have enough space or adequate equipment that can allow new operating practices and measurements to be implemented, he said.
"These delivery units are in disrepair. They have poor employee amenities, have not accommodated our package growth, and operate to a dated and costly strategy," DeJoy said. "Dramatic change is needed, and dramatic change is what we are pursuing."
DeJoy said facilities will be consolidated.
Following closures, new Sort and Delivery Centers will house different network operations. The USPS is currently analyzing plants that have already been closed, which will be modernized in accordance with the new strategy, DeJoy said.
"We will place large carrier operations inside our mail processing plants, dramatically reducing transportation, reducing mail handlings, increasing reliability, and decreasing time to delivery," he said. These centers will reportedly be able to operate more efficiently and hold more mail processing equipment than existing locations.
This consolidation strategy will also make the USPS "the preferred delivery provider" for Americans, according to DeJoy. "We will have the greatest reach and be the most reliable and affordable," he stated. "We will also be the most environmentally friendly solution for shipping needs as we are going to every home anyway."
Changes will not be immediate.
According to DeJoy, changes to the national network and local operations will not be instantaneous. Plans will be rolled out over the next several years, but with the addition of each new plant or delivery unit, DeJoy does anticipate "immediate systemwide benefits."
Closures and consolidations were not the only plans DeJoy mentioned, as the USPS will also increase automation for its package service and integrate mail and package volume. The latter initiative was mandated by postal reform legislation recently signed by President Joe Biden, according to Federal News Network.
DeJoy claimed that the agency also transports "a whole lot of air" in addition to packages, and merging overall operations can improve overall transport efficiency.
"It is not an expansion of a package network," he said. "It is an increase in the utilization of what we now do to deliver mail. In fact, we have the ability to use less transportation and fewer facilities and fewer delivery units, and greatly increase the movement of cubic volume, meaning mail and packages."
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