WASHINGTON -

The U.S. Postal Service will begin reducing the size of its workforce along with closing and consolidating dozens of mail processing plants as soon as this week.

On Friday, the American Postal Workers Union failed in a last-minute effort to stop the plan.  About 48 plants across the county are said to be impacted by the consolidation over the next two months.

The agency has offered buyouts and retirement packages to 21,000 postmasters and 45,000 mail handlers.

According to a Postal Service spokesman, the move is critical because it lost more than $5 billion in 2011

Local 2's sister publication, the Washington Post, reports four Houston-area post offices were on the consideration list for possible closure or consolidation.  Those locations were Addicks Barker, Genoa, Nassau Bay and Westchase finance. It is not yet known if they will be among those closed.