Bill to rescue postal service faces uphill battle

Bill to rescue postal service faces uphill battle

READING, Pa. - Legislation to save thousands of postal jobs and 100 mail processing plants across the country passed in the U.S. Senate this week, but will it pass in the House before May 15, when a moratorium on closures and consolidations is set to expire?

"It won't pass in the House. There will be many changes," said Diane Price, a postal service distribution clerk at the Gus Yatron Post Office in Reading, which is home to one of the processing centers that is on the list to close.

Changes would be inevitable for postal service workers like Price if the legislation remains as is. Such changes include cutting workers' compensation benefits and slowing down the delivery of first class mail, the kind of mail, Price said, people use most.

"Any changes in the way they want to change the postal service could jeopardize that," said Price.

For some customers, it would mean no more door-to-door delivery. Instead, packages would be dropped off curbside in suburban neighborhoods.

If this legislation becomes law, Saturday delivery would not be cut for two years. It would also keep one-day delivery of first class mail for items mailed within the same processing area, which would save 100 mail processing plants, like Gas Yatron.

But the legislation, Price said, is costly. Over 10 years, $33 billion would be spent to keep the postal service alive.

"The jobs here in Berks County may be at issue as of May 15," said Price.

For operating expenses, sales of postage, products and services are detrimental, Price said, to fund operations at Gus Yatron. The facility does not receive tax dollars for operating expenses whatsoever.

Not as many people are using the Gus Yatron facility anymore, Price said, so for now, all employees can do is continue their work as usual.

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