By Cherri Gregg and Jericka Duncan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The U.S Postal Service hopes to avoid bankruptcy by making some major cuts. That means what you send could take much longer to get there. First class mail volumes have dropped. Post offices want to slow delivery by next spring, practically eliminating the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.
Eleven mail centers in Pennsylvania and six in New Jersey are slated to close as the US Postal service attempts to slash costs in a last ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy.
Two postal facilities in South Jersey (Pleasantville and Bellmawr) are among those being shut down. The proposal would also close processing and distribution operations in Horsham, Lancaster, and Chester County, Pa.
Under the proposal, the targeted facilities could be closed as early as next March. Because it would take mail longer to reach processing facilities, the USPS would drop next-day delivery from its standards for first-class mail.
Mike Gallagher, eastern region coordinator for the American Postal Workers Union, says that major mailers will see an increase in costs while experiencing a decrease in service. But, he says, there won’t many layoffs.
“We just negotiated a contract this year with the Postal Service where they committed to not lay off any of the employees affiliated with the American Postal Workers Union,” Gallagher says, “so they are going to have to find other facilities for them to work at.”
He says the new contract does not expire until 2015, but he says the big concerns for the workers at soon-to -be-closed facilities will be where they will go and what their hours will be.
Congressman Rob Andrews (D-NJ), whose district includes the Bellmawr facility, says he will fight the Postal Service’s decision.
“Ultimately the Postal Service gets its authority from the Congress and I’m sure there will be some legislative attempts to reverse this decision,” Andrews told KYW Newsradio this morning.
Gallagher says the APWU is meeting today and the Postal Service announcement is definitely on the agenda.
“The postal service is facing a very difficult challenge as we speak,” said local postal service spokesman Ray Daiutolo Sr. He says while the government run agency faces competition from Fed Ex and UPS it’s biggest competitor is the internet. “People are continually moving from bill paying through the mail to bill paying online.”
In this region, five processing centers considered for closure include, Tredyffrin Township, Pennsylvania, Bellmawr, Eatontown and Pleasantville New Jersey and Newcastle Delaware. A total of about 2,000 local jobs are at stake.