By: Lauren Saccone
The United States Postal Service announced Wednesday that they had formulated a plan to handle their mounting debt issues. Originally intending to close down thousands of post office locations in an effort to get a handle on their financial difficulties, the post office now has an alternate solution. Rather than shut down offices, the US Postal Service has decided to drastically reduce the number of hours in their rural locations.
This plan will impact nearly one third of post offices in the country. Rural post offices will find their hours cut significantly, with some open for only two to six hours a day.
The decision to cut hours rather than shut down 3,700 post offices across the country was reached by Congress after it came perilously close to deadlocking on the issue. Representatives in rural areas joined together in a show of bipartisan unity to protest the closings.
This alternate arrangement allows employees to keep their jobs as well as ensuring that the services of the post office will still be available to consumers.
“When we announced those closures, what people said to us was, ‘Keep our post office open’,” said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe to The Washington Post “We have to have shorter hours. But if we can shrink the labor costs, we can keep the buildings open.”
Not everyone is happy with this compromise. Rural areas feel that they’re being targeted and charged with solving the financial problems of the Postal Service. One Representative claimed that the decision was, “treating rural Americans like second-class citizens.” Roughly 9,000 employees will go from full-time to part-time, losing their benefits as a result.
The new reduced hours will be introduced in stages over the next two years, becoming finalized in September of 2014. A complete list of affected post offices nationwide is available on the USPS website.
[Pic via Flickr - Aranami]