A bill in Congress aims to cut costs by replacing some door-to-door mail delivery with group mailboxes as the Postal Service continues to struggle with declining revenue and mail volume.
The bill would consolidate 30 million mailboxes into centralized units, similar to the group mailboxes used in suburban neighborhoods.
U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Mary Dando says the switch could save more than $4 billion a year by reducing the number of delivery locations. She says group mailboxes are already on the rise.
“If you go out to any new, or fairly new, developments around Bloomington you’ll probably see a lot of these covered, centralized deliveries, and it is very handy,” says Dando.
The postal service has already switched to the boxes at malls and industrial parks.
But mail carriers in Indiana say the move would be another hit on top of a long-list of cuts they’re already facing. Last year, the Postal Service consolidated many of its mail processing facilities in Indiana, eliminating jobs through retirements and forcing many employees to transfer or lose their jobs.
Troy Clark is a mail carrier and representative for the Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan district of the National Association of Letter Carriers. He says postal workers are being punished for previous legislation that requires the Postal Service to prepay worker pensions.
“We have to prefund 75 years worth of retiree health benefits in a 10 year span,” says Clark. “It generates over. That’s basically a tax of somewhere between $4 to 6 billion a year. That’s where the red ink is coming from.”
Clark says Congress should consider changing that mandate before they implement further cuts.