The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced on Thursday that they decided to move all mail processing operations from the Albany Customer Service Mail Processing Center to the Tallahassee Processing and Distribution Center. They say once the transfer is completed, the mail processing operation in Albany will cease.
USPS officials say several hundred other processing centers nationwide are being consolidated in an effort to save $2.1 billion annually.
"We are projecting that nationally 30,000 full time and 5,000 non-career positions will be affected by this," says Stephen Seewoester with the U.S. Postal Service.
Seewoester says specific numbers of employees who will lose their job as a result of the Albany processing center closing isn't known yet. He says many of them will retire, venture on other career paths or stay with the postal service.
"The postal service has a proven track record with working with effective employees to find opportunities at other locations so as a result in the past very few employees have lost their employment with the postal service," he says.
Seewoester says First-Class Mail delivery with the Albany processing center takes between one to three days to deliver; he says when it moves to Tallahassee it could take between two to three days.
"Even from Albany to Albany it could add one extra day," he says.
As for getting stamps and mailing packages at the two Albany post office locations, things are staying the same for the time being.
"We're constantly looking for ways to save money while not derogating our service, so those things... anything is always under review," says Seewoester.
The Postal Service has experienced a 25 percent decline in First-Class Mail volume since 2006, according to USPS. They also say they receive no tax dollars for its operations, relying instead on the sale of postage, and postal products and services.
Specific dates have not been set for the transition, but Seewoester says none of the processing centers nationwide being consolidated will close before the middle of May. Until a specific date has been announced, residential and business mailers will continue to be served through the current facilities.
In Dec. 2011, the USPS agreed to impose a moratorium on closing or consolidating post offices and mail processing facilities prior to May 15, 2012, to give Congress and the Administration the opportunity to enact an alternative plan. This delay was designed to allow Congress time to enact comprehensive postal legislation, according to a USPS press release.
"The decision to consolidate mail processing facilities recognizes the urgent need to reduce the size of the national mail processing network to eliminate costly underutilized infrastructure," says Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan. "Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation."
They say the Postal Service continued all necessary steps required for the review of these facilities, including public notifications, public input meetings and consideration of public comments.
Implementation of this consolidation is contingent upon the outcome of pending rulemaking for a proposal to revise existing service standards, the Postal Service says. They say this announcement is provided in advance so that appropriate planning and notification can be made in accordance with existing employee agreements.
A list of mail processing studies and their status is available at usps.com/ourfuturenetwork. Specific information about individual studies, including public meeting summaries and summary briefs, will be posted on the website, usps.com/areamailprocessing, as it becomes available.