Facing a second year of losses totaling $8 billion or more, the agency also wants to pull its workers out of the retirement and health benefits plans covering federal workers and set up its own benefit systems.
Congressional approval would be needed for either step and both could be expected to face severe opposition from postal unions which have contracts that ban layoffs.
The post office has cut 110,000 jobs over the last four years and is currently engaged in eliminating 7,500 administrative staff.
But the loss of mail to the Internet and the decline in advertising caused by the recession have rocked the agency.
The plan was first reported by The Washington Post.