Response to Postmaster General’s News Conference

Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Questions the Postmaster General’s Latest Strategy to Preserve the Nation’s Small Post Offices

Expresses Concern About Reducing Post Office Hours and Slashing Postmasters’ Jobs

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe today announced a new strategy that he claims could keep the nation’s smallest Post Offices “open for business.” Nader noted the Postmaster General’s lip service to keeping small, rural Post Offices open. However, he warned, the preliminary details about Postmaster General Donahoe’s plan do not guarantee that rural Post Offices will be kept open, and raise more questions than they answer.

The Postmaster General claims that the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) new strategy could save half a billion dollars annually. The preliminary details of this strategy would allow the USPS to avoid closing rural Post Offices by reducing hours of operation for many offices and offering early retirement incentives for more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters.

“The Postal Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Ruth Goldway has stated that the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to close up to 3,652 postal facilities would save, at most, $100 million. Yet the U.S. Postal Service expects to save five times that by reducing hours and slashing jobs? Those numbers simply don’t add up,” Nader said.

Nader continued by highlighting that the U.S. Postal Service originally stated, in a Postal Regulatory Commission hearing (docket N2011-1), that they would save $1 billion from closing up to 3,652 facilities. The USPS subsequently adjusted that figure to a maximum saving of $200 million. Neither estimate factored in the added costs to consumers of Post Office closings or to nearby Post Offices that must make up for the additional workload from a closed facility.

Nader concluded by saying, “In the same breath that Postmaster General Donahoe exclaims his desire to keep rural Post Offices open, he extols the virtues of existing alternatives. Those are not the actions one would expect of a Postmaster General really determined to save rural communities from losing their Post Offices. In fact, by further restricting Post Office hours the Postmaster General makes the “alternatives” to the U.S. Postal Service all the more attractive and sets the stage for future Post Office closings when the revenues and workload of reduced-hours offices inevitably suffer.”

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