USPS study says merging Jonesboro & Memphis plants more efficient; public meeting scheduled

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has announced they will hold a public meeting to discuss a study to merge the Jonesboro Customer Service Mail Processing Center with the Little Rock or Memphis Processing  and Distribution Centers.

According to the USPS in Little Rock, the meeting will be held at the Jonesboro First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on Main Street on November 15 at 6pm.

According to USPS, the Area Mail Processing Study will look at processing and transportation operations at the Jonesboro Center, which employs about 70 workers, to determine what the postal network needs in order to improve efficiency and productivity.

The USPS says the initial study results support consolidating some mail processing operations that are currently being performed at the Jonesboro Center to the Memphis Processing and Distributing Center in order to increase efficiency and improve productivity.

Postal Service managers say no final decision has been reached, and they will listen to community input and concerns before making the final decision.

The full summary of the proposal will be provided one week in advance at the follow web address:

If you'd like to submit your comments or concerns in writing, you can send them to:

Consumer & Industry Contact Manager

Arkansas District

420 Natural Resources Drive

Little Rock AR 72205-9631

In September, the USPS announced they would study the possible closure of more than 250 mail processing facilities across the country, all in an effort to reduce service standards for first-class mail in order to cut costs.

The steps are part of a broad effort to cut costs for the agency that lost $8.5 billion last year and is facing ever more red ink this year as the Internet siphons off the lucrative first-class mail and the stagnant economy holds down the growth of advertising mail. Over the last five years mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion items.

Postal officials said 252 mail processing facilities across the country will be reviewed over the next three months for possible closing. Currently there are 487 such offices. That's in addition to about 3,700 local post offices also being reviewed for closure. Closing the mail-processing facilities could affect 35,000 workers.

In addition, the agency said it plans to reduce current delivery standards for first-class mail. Such mail is now supposed to be delivered in one-to-three days depending on how far it has to go. That will be changed to two-to-three days, meaning mailers could no longer expect next-day delivery in their local community.

Officials said that could have some impact on commercial mailers but individual customers are not likely to notice the change. They promised to work with businesses to help solve any problems the change might cause.

The closings and service changes could save the post office as much as $3 billion annually and are part of an effort to reduce annual costs by $6.5 billion. Other savings are being sought through requests that Congress allow the post office to eliminate mail delivery on Saturdays and change or eliminate an annual $5.5 billion payment the post office is required to make into a fund to cover future retiree medical benefits.

Last year the Postal Service had revenue of $67 billion and expenses of $75 billion.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press has contributed to this report.