Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said today, “The Postmaster General’s Post Office Structure Plan (“POSt Plan”) is a bait and switch tactic, and it is not good news for rural Post Offices or their customers.”
The Postmaster General claims that his new strategy, released on Wednesday, is designed to benefit rural Americans and keep open the 3,652 postal facilities it was considering for closure. Though it is unclear how many of these offices are included in the “POSt Plan”, it seems that many of them have been incorporated in the new plan as well. The new direction that the Postmaster General proposed is to cut hours at nearly 13,000 Post Offices and offer early retirement incentives for more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters.
“As more details about the plan emerge, the picture grows increasingly dire for rural customers of the U.S. Postal Service,” Nader observed. “I expressed deep concern about the preliminary details of the Postmaster General’s on Wednesday. Unfortunately, those fears were confirmed as we have analyzed the details of the Postmaster General’s new strategy.”
After examining 260 pages of the U.S. Postal Service’s proposal for Post Office hour reductions nationwide, we found that the new strategy eliminates 42,699 hours per day from retail window hours of nearly 13,000 Post Offices.
“This proposal is calling for a gargantuan cut in retail window hours nationwide – 42,699 total hours each day. To put this in perspective, 42,699 hours equates to nearly 5 years,” Nader explained.
The current average retail window hours of the nearly 13,000 Post Offices proposed for reduced hours are 7.67 hours per day. “The enormous cut in hours that the U.S. Postal Service has proposed is the equivalent of closing 5,567 of these Post Offices. The Postmaster General started with a list of 3,652 offices being considered for closure. Now we see that by reducing window hours he has proposed the equivalent of closing 2,000 more offices than he started with,” Nader continued.
Nader concluded by saying, “This is, plain and simple, a bait and switch. As I said on Wednesday, by further restricting Post Office hours the Postmaster General makes the corporate “alternatives” to the U.S. Postal Service more likely and sets the stage for future Post Office closings when the revenues and workload of reduced-hours offices inevitably suffer. The Postmaster General has effectively taken a list of 3,652 offices that were on the chopping block and added nearly 10,000 more offices to that list.”