Postal Service posts record loss, wants pension cash opened up

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The Postal Service had a record loss of nearly $16 billion in fiscal 2012--an amount more than three times its $5.1 billion loss in fiscal 2011, the agency said. The agency described $13.4 billion of its losses as "outside the control of the Postal Service in the short-term."

In a Nov. 15 statement, the agency said $11.1 billion of its losses were related to two payments to prefund its retiree health benefits. The Postal Service again said that solvency is within its reach, but this requires congressional action, including the elimination of the prefunding requirement.

The Postal Service could also benefit from legislation that would return a surplus in its pension fund. It reached its statutory debt ceiling of $15 billion "for the first time" earlier this year.

The agency is reducing its work hours as part of its efforts to cut operational costs, which were about $500 million lower than in fiscal 2011. It also wants to cut delivery days from six to five, saying it needs more "commercial flexibility to allow the Postal Service to manage its business."

The agency also wants the ability to offer non-postal products and services, but did not clarify about what these would cover and if it would extend to its contract postal units located inside of private businesses.

In its current operations, first class and standard mail declined while there was an 8.7 increase, roughly $926 million, in its package delivery services.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said that 20,000 employees have signed up for the agency's latest early-out offer. It combines a $15,000 buyout program with an early retirement package. Donahoe said it is open to the majority of the agency's 188,000 employees and they have until Dec. 3 to decide to take the deal.

For more:
- read the Postal Service statement

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