A mail facility in Cranberry used by the United States Postal Service will close early next year, laying off an estimated 86 employees of Serco Inc.
Most employees are expected to be terminated during the two-week period following Dec. 18. The plant will close on Jan. 31, 2010, when the Postal Service's contract with Serco expires.
The center manages mail distribution equipment and machinery, and is staffed and leased by Serco, a Reston, Va., information technology service company.
The closing is part of the Postal Service's plans to consolidate the nation's Mail Transport Equipment Service Centers from 23 to 15.
A nationwide recession and movement toward online transactions has drastically reduced the volume of mail the Postal Service handles, forcing cost-cutting measures across the country, said USPS spokesman Tad Kelley.
"We've seen upwards of 7 billion less pieces of mail in this year alone," he said.
A "high-water" mark for annual Postal Service mail occurred in 2006, with 213 billion pieces. Less than 170 billion pieces of mail are expected this year.
Erich Schwartzel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1455.