Washington: The US Postal Service (USPS) says it is to cut some 120,000 jobs and freeze workers’ retirement and health benefits amid Washington’s push to surmount the massive financial crisis it is facing. The layoffs are hoped to help the USPS make for at least $8 billion it has incurred in losses.The job cuts affect 20 percent of its workforce in addition to 100,000 other employees it expects will be put out of work through attrition as workers leave the company or retire.
The public employer claims to be handling nearly 40 percent of the global postage, but has been piling up losses since early 2008 amid the advancements made by the internet and its need to reduce advertisement due to recession.
It has already shed 16 percent of its manpower — or 110,000 jobs — in a period of 4 years since the start of the financial crisis.
“Asking Congress to eliminate the layoff protections in our collective bargaining agreements is an extraordinary request by the Postal Service, and we do not make this request lightly. However, exceptional circumstances require exceptional remedies,” the management said.
According to the US Labor Department, the number of the jobless hit 14,100,000 in June, reflecting an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent. The Federal Reserve predicted in May that the unemployment rate would remain high at the end of 2012.
The US officially hit its USD 14.3 trillion public debt ceiling on May 16.
US President Barack Obama said last week that the country is witnessing its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.