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U.S. Postal Service Regulator Denies Bid to Stop Closings

The U.S. Postal Service may begin closing mail-processing plants as soon as next week after its regulator denied a labor-union request to block the closings.

The Postal Regulatory Commission today denied the American Postal Workers Union’s request to halt the service’s plan to close about 140 plants in the next year and about 90 in 2014.

The Postal Service, which has said it will save $2.1 billion annual and cut 5 percent of its workforce with the closings, is “pleased” with the ruling, said David Partenheimer, a spokesman.

“The rapid decline in single-piece first-class mail makes it urgent that we take these steps now,” he said in an e-mail. “We also need Congress to do its part and enact comprehensive postal legislation in the near future.”

The Postal Service reported a $3.2 billion loss in the quarter ended March 31 and predicts it will temporarily run out of cash in October.

The union, whose workers operate mail-processing machines, criticized the decision.

“The decision demonstrates the need to strengthen the commission’s authority and to enhance public input into USPS plans that would affect service on a nationwide basis,” Cliff Guffey, president of the Washington-based union, said in a statement posted on its website.

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