3 USPS processing centers in Mass. could close
BOSTON—The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday proposed closing three mail processing centers in Massachusetts and moving their operations elsewhere as part of a nationwide effort by the financially struggling agency to cut billions of dollars in costs.
Under the plan, sorting centers in Wareham, Waltham and Shrewsbury would close, and operations would shift to facilities in Providence, R.I., Boston and North Reading.
The Shrewsbury facility employs more than 500, Waltham about 400 and Wareham nearly 100.
A small facility in Lowell that employs just six people is also on the closure list.
There was no word on whether the proposal would mean job losses, postal service spokesman Dennis Tarmey said.
"Some of those jobs would migrate along with the work to the new processing centers," he said. It is hoped that attrition and retirements will reduce the work force, he said.
A decision on whether to close the Brockton distribution facility, which employs nearly 400 people, was put on hold pending further study, the postal service announced.
Nothing will close before May 15.
At the request of Congress, the independent agency agreed to wait until that date to begin closures so lawmakers would have time to stabilize finances first.
The postal service has seen a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume since 2006 as people and businesses continue switching to the Internet in place of letters and paper bills. It also must make yearly advance payments of roughly $5.5 billion to a future retiree health-benefit fund, something not required of other government agencies.
The agency forecasts a record $14.1 billion loss by the end of this year.
The postal service has also proposed eliminating Saturday delivery, slowing first-class mail by one day and raising the price of a postage stamp by as much as 5 cents.