U.S. Postal Service offers buyouts to 45,000 workers

By Emily Stephenson

(Reuters) – The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service will offer buyouts this summer to nearly all of its 45,000 mail handlers, part of a plan to consolidate operations at 140 mail-processing facilities in the next year.

The mail agency, which lost $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2012, plans to begin this summer moving mail-processing activities away from smaller sites to reduce annual costs.

As part of that plan, the Postal Service will offer $15,000 in two installments to full-time mail handlers who take early retirement or leave the agency, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said on Friday.

Mail handlers are workers who load trucks and move mail containers between processing operations. Part-time employees also will be eligible for separation incentives in amounts based on the number of hours they work.

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