The US Postal Service is closing or consolidating almost half of its mail processing centers nationwide as part of a $15 billion cost-cutting plan. Some 223 centers will go, in a move that puts 35,000 jobs at risk and will slow down first-class delivery, AP reports. The agency, which plans to start closing centers in mid-May, will try to minimize job losses by shifting workers to other roles, and even other states if necessary, according to officials.
"This is an important part of the network consolidation," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe tells CNN. "We know how to move people and find landing spots." The agency—which is seeking to hike stamp prices 5 cents—says the cuts are necessary because of declining mail volume. But some lawmakers say the move is counterproductive. "Slowing down mail delivery service will result in less business and less revenue, and will bring about a death spiral for this institution," warns Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who is seeking to prevent cuts to first-class delivery.