U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today said the Postal Service which employs more than 30,000 people in Illinois must work with Congress and the American people to address its financial problems. Durbin, who worked to secure a five-month moratorium on postal facility closures, also noted that the U.S. Senate is expected to debate comprehensive reform legislation within the next few weeks.
"The Postal Service faces serious financial challenges and it needs to work with Congress and the American people to address them. The Postal Service -- employing 30,000 Illinoisans from clerks, to drivers, to postmasters, to letter carriers -- needs to restructure its services in a way that preserves its reputation for affordable, timely service; expands revenue opportunities; and reflects the reality of an internet driven world. Without Congressional action, the damaging cuts proposed by the Postal Service would likely take effect."
"I share the National Association of Letter Carriers view that we need to create a long-term business model that will reform and grow the Postal Service to meet the needs of Americans in the 21st century. Any legislation that aims to do this deserves consideration in Congress before the moratorium on closures ends next month. I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen comprehensive legislation during an open and honest debate on the Senate floor within the next few weeks."
On December 13, 2011, Durbin joined with 14 other Senators to announce that at their request, the Postal Service voluntarily agreed to put in place a five-month moratorium on closing postal facilities. Their announcement followed a meeting between several Senators, Postmaster General Donahoe and the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Thurgood Marshall, Jr., in which Senators expressed concern over the impact of reduced service and the loss of thousands of jobs. During the moratorium, scheduled to end on May 15, 2012, the Postal Service will continue to study the impact of proposed closures on service and costs and to solicit community input.
On September 15, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to review its mail processing network in the hopes of reducing costs. When the moratorium expires, the Postal Service is planning to move forward with the elimination of overnight delivery and the closure of as many as 3,700 mostly rural post offices and over 200 mail processing facilities, including at least 8 in Illinois, four of which -- Springfield, Quincy, Carbondale and Centralia -- are being considered for consolidation with out-of-state facilities. All of the Illinois facilities are owned by the Postal Service and employ a total of approximately 1,600 people.