By MARIA SUDEKUM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The U.S. Postal Service, hit hard by declining mail volume and revenue, has announced plans to close its mail processing and distribution centers in Springfield and Cape Girardeau, losing more than 130 positions.
Richard Watkins, spokesman for the Postal Service's regional office in Kansas City, said Thursday that the Postal Service will shift work from the Springfield distribution and processing facility to its Kansas City distribution center. Work at the Cape Girardeau center will move to a site in downtown St. Louis, he said. The closings don't affect its retail or business mail units in Springfield and Cape Girardeau, Watkins said.
The Springfield closing will mean a loss of 65 positions and the Cape Girardeau closing 71 positions, he said. Some transfer opportunities will be available.
No date had been set for the consolidations, but Watkins said they would not take effect before May 15.
"The Postal Service has a history of being able to achieve these downsizings through attrition and to minimize the impact," Watkins said.
The Postal Service, which forecasts a record $14.1 billion loss by the end of this year, recently said it will lose as much as $18.2 billion a year by 2015 if Congress doesn't grant it new leeway to eliminate Saturday delivery, slow first-class mail by one day and raise the price of a postage stamp by as much as 5 cents.
Earlier this month, the Postal Service also said its quarterly loss ballooned to $3.3 billion amid declining mail volume and said it could run out of money by October.
"The key is that overall mail volume is down 20 percent," Watkins said. First Class mail is down 25 percent since 2006, he said.
The Postal Service, an independent agency of government, is subject to congressional control on major aspects of its operations.