Feb. 24, 2012 06:56 PM

The U.S. Postal Service said Thursday it plans to scale back operations at its Moss Street facility as part of a consolidation of its South Louisiana mail-processing operations.

The Advocate reported Friday that the U.S. Postal Service has proposed a consolidation of its mail-processing operations in South Louisiana at its Baton Rouge facility, a move that would close a mail processing center in New Orleans and scale back operations in Lafayette.

Sourcing a news release from the Postal Service, the paper reported that Lafayette would continue to process incoming mail but not outgoing mail.

"We are losing $23 million a day," said Postal Service spokesman McKinney Boyd.

The proposed consolidations have been put on hold until at least May 15, the deadline of a moratorium on closings and consolidations to give Congress time to consider alternative plans for cutting Postal Service expenses.

The proposed scaling back in Lafayette would cut 200 of the roughly 325 jobs at the processing center, the hub for sorting the region's mail, Boyd said.
He said displaced employees will have the option of filling existing vacancies within the Postal Service.

Read The Advocate story here.

The Independent was unable to obtain a copy of the press release with specific information about Lafayette, but the Postal Service's website noted Thursday that it had completed area mail processing studies that began more than five months ago:

These changes are a necessary part of a larger comprehensive plan developed by the Postal Service to reduce operating costs by $20 billion by 2015 and return the organization to profitability.

The Postal Service is in the midst of a financial crisis due to the combined effects of the economic recession, increased use of electronic communications, and an obligation to prefund retiree health benefits. First-Class Mail volume has deteriorated, leading to significant revenue declines, and the obligation to prefund these retiree health benefits on an accelerated basis remains unresolved. To date, legislative proposals to address the financial crisis remain pending, leaving the Postal Service and the mailing industry it supports in an increasingly precarious position.

Since 2006, First-Class Mail volume has rapidly declined, leaving a mail mix that generates far less revenue than it costs to sustain postal operations. The dramatic decline in mail volume has resulted in an enormous amount of excess capacity within the network, creating significant opportunity for consolidation.

The Postal Service continually assesses its infrastructure, network, logistics capabilities and mail processing operations and constantly makes changes designed to improve efficiencies by making better use of space, staffing, equipment and transportation to process the nation's mail.