Postal Service cuts could close two Fayetteville processing centers

December 5, 2011 2:29:15 PM PST
As if "snail mail" weren't slow enough for those used to the instant gratification of email and Facebook messages, the U.S. Postal Service's $3 billion reduction will impact more than just the speed of its first class delivery.

The cash-strapped government agency has proposed changing the standard for first-class mail delivery from two to five days. It also wants to close 252 mail processing centers.

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In Fayetteville, the result will directly impact 400 postal employees, as the post office is recommending closing both mail sorting centers: the main post office on Green Street and the postal sorting center on Downing Street. If that happens, Fayetteville's mail will be processed in Charlotte.

Tony McKinnon, president of the local postal union, said if the proposed changes go through, Fayetteville will see a deterioration of mail service.

"Right now you have guaranteed overnight service," he said.  "For example if you were to send me a letter in Fayetteville, I'm guaranteed to get that letter the next day. Or you can send it to your brother or sister in Greensboro, it's guaranteed overnight delivery. With these changes you're talking about two and three and as much as four days. And if you're in rural areas, it gets even worse."

But post office leaders said the average person who uses the postal service will hardly notice the difference, if the two Fayetteville sorting centers are closed. If the decision is made, more than 160 positions would be eliminated, and the immediate impact would affect 400 postal employees some of whom would be reassigned to the other cities like Charlotte.

"Anything is on the table right now, so that would be a possibility," said Monica Robbs, a spokesperson for the post office. She said employees might be placed somewhere closer to Fayetteville.

"Those are things, if the study goes through we'll look at a little more specifically and see how we can take care of our employees," she said.

A meeting took place Monday night at Fayetteville Technical Community College to get public input. A decision on the proposals is expected sometime after the first of the year. A full congressional action doesn't appear likely anytime soon.

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