Up to 120,000 postal workers may soon be out of work. And those remaining on the job could lose their federal health and retirement benefits.

The US Postal Service’s proposal to slash its workforce by 20 percent would require breaking current labor contracts with the postal unions. If Congress approves the plan, the ripple effects would be felt by union members and federal employees across the country.

During the past four years, the cash-strapped postal service has eliminated 110,000 jobs and closed hundreds of offices. Despite these efforts, the USPS continues to lose billions in revenue. Draft documents of the USPS plan, which were obtained by The Washington Post, explained the reason for taking such drastic measures.

“The Postal Service is facing dire economic challenges that threaten its very existence,” the document said. “… If the Postal Service was a private sector business, it would have filed for bankruptcy and utilized the reorganization process to restructure its labor agreements to reflect the new financial reality.”

The USPS also wants to withdraw its 480,000 pensioners and 600,000 active employees from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program “and place them in a new, Postal Service administered” program. While such a move would save money, it would also trim the health care and retirement services currently available to them.

[The Washington Post]