by Dave Jamieson
WASHINGTON — With the U.S. Postal Service planning to shut down 82 more plants starting in January, postal worker unions and allies in Congress are pushing for a late-game moratorium on closures they say will weaken the agency and further slow down the mail.
The scheduled shutdowns are part of a consolidation plan the agency put in place in 2011 to help staunch its red ink, much of it the result of pre-funding mandates instituted by Congress. The closures go hand-in-hand with the postal service’s plan to save money by reducing the service standards for certain mail categories, a strategy that’s divided stakeholders in the postal reform debate.
According to the postal service, the plant consolidations would most affect first-class mail. Personal letters, bills and greeting cards that normally reach their destination overnight would take two days after the closures. Priority mail and packages won’t be impacted, the agency said.