March 20, 2009 in City

Postal Service to cut 75 jobs in Spokane

By The Spokesman-Review

The U.S. Postal Service will close Spokane’s district office this summer, cutting about 75 positions, a USPS spokesperson said Friday.

As part of cost-squeezing nationwide, Spokane’s closure is one of six district USPS offices shutting down, said spokesperson Teresa Rudkin.

“This affects 75 positions,” said Rudkin. “The actual number of people is slightly less than 75 as some of the jobs are unfilled,” she added.

The district office has been on the sixth floor of the Crescent Building at 707 W. Main. It fills about 24,000 square feet.

Those 75 positions were administrators who managed marketing, customer support, finance and transportation logistics for Eastern Washington and all of Idaho.

Eastern Washington and North Idaho management will shift to the Seattle district, with southern Idaho assigned to Salt Lake, Rudkin said.

The change will have “no impact at all” on mail handling or carrier delivery, Rudkin said.

Nationwide the postal service is offering early retirement to 150,000 workers, cutting management and closing offices, the agency said Friday.

The Postal Service lost $2.8 billion last year and is facing even larger losses this year, despite a rate increase — to 44 cents for first-class mail — scheduled to take effect May 11.

Management staff will be reduced about 15 percent with more than 1,400 processing, supervisor and management posts at 400 facilities being eliminated.

The other district offices closed are in Lake Mary, Fl.; North Reading, Mass.; Manchester, N.H.; Edison, N.J.; and Erie, Pa.

Spokane workers being laid off will have a chance to apply for unfilled jobs within the Spokane and North Idaho area. The USPS has imposed a hiring freeze since last year.

Rudkin noted also that close to two-thirds of the staff and managers at the Spokane district office are eligible for early or full retirement.

Officials said the economic recession contributed to a mail volume decline of 5.2 billion pieces compared to the same period last year. If there is no economic recovery, the Postal Service projects volume for the year will be down by 12 billion to 15 billion pieces of mail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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