Proposal To Consolidate Mail Processing Would Impact Long Beach Postal Operations

Final Decision Expected May 15 After Moratorium Allowing Congress To Act Expires

By Tiffany Rider - Senior Writer

February 28, 2012 - After several months of studying mail processing facilities nationwide, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced on February 23 a proposal that would consolidate the services of 223 offices, including the Long Beach facility at 2300 Redondo Ave. later this year.

The consolidation, contingent upon U.S. Congressional action, would impact 686 career jobs at the Redondo Avenue location, according to Richard Maher, media spokesperson for USPS Los Angeles and Orange counties. Consolidating mail processing at the Long Beach facility alone is projected to save USPS $16.1 million annually, he said.

“The decision to consolidate mail processing facilities recognizes the urgent need to reduce the size of the national mail processing network to eliminate costly underutilized infrastructure,” COO Megan Brennan said in a statement. “Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation.”

The move to consolidate mail processing is part of the USPS’s overall plan to reduce operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 in order to make it profitable again. USPS has seen a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume since 2006, creating a significant budgetary problem for the semi-independent federal agency. The USPS does not receive tax dollars for its operations, relying solely on the sale of postage, services and postal products.

USPS enacted a moratorium in December to allow Congress time to decide whether to step in and enact an alternative to the proposed consolidation of services. The moratorium is set to expire May 15. Operations are expected to continue through the moratorium period.

Business and retail operations will not be impacted by the consolidation, Maher said. USPS notified business clients of the proposed consolidation and has invited the largest clients of the Long Beach facility to an information session March 1.

The announcement was released in advance of the moratorium expiration to allow for appropriate planning and discussion of existing collective bargaining agreements. At this point, a final decision on selling or repurposing the facilities has not been determined.

More information will be presented in the March 13 edition of the Business Journal.