Washington – The U.S. Postal Service said Thursday that it may eliminate as many as 35,000 jobs as it downsizes "a massive nationwide infrastructure that is no longer financially sustainable."
"We are forced to face a new reality today," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. "With the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic."
Besides shrinking the workforce, the USPS said it may close or consolidate nearly 250 processing facilities and get rid of half of its mail processing equipment.
By implementing these measures, the USPS could save a total of $3 billion per year, Donahoe said.
He acknowledged that this restructuring implies that some letters and packages would not arrive the next day but would take two or three days to arrive at their destinations.
According to government figures, last year the USPS lost more than $9 billion and shipment volume in the last 10 years has declined by 50 percent, primarily due to the explosion of digital means of communication.
The USPS employs 559,000 people.
The elimination of Saturday delivery as part of the restructuring process has not yet been decided upon, given that at present the U.S. Congress is opposed to the measure.
Last year, the government announced the closure of 491 post offices and the fate of another 16,000 of the 32,000 USPS offices nationwide is under study.
"We are not going out of business," Donahoe said. "What we are trying to do is get our finances in order so we can stay out there in business and provide excellent service for a long, long time to come."