JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The United States Postal service has released its decision, the Jonesboro Customer Service Mail Processing Center will close, along with two other centers in Arkansas unless Congress enacts legislation to save them.
The United States Postal Service has decided to move all mail-processing operations from the Jonesboro Customer Service Mail Processing Center to the Memphis Processing and Distribution Center, pending a May 15, 2012, moratorium the Postal Service agreed to in order to allow Congress time to compose an alternative cost-cutting plan for the 223 centers in the U.S. that were approved for consolidation.
According to a spokesperson from the USPS, after the May 15 deadline all processing at the Jonesboro Mail Center will cease as soon as the transition to the Memphis center is complete.
The news of the possible closing of the Jonesboro processing center came as a shock to Jonesboro mayor Harold Perrin. "It is news to us that we obviously don't like to hear, and it comes right on top of another with the call center we just had last week."
The USPS announcement comes one week after StarTek announced 223 layoffs at its Jonesboro site. "You take the city of Jonesboro, we mail a great number of pieces of items a day, packages, letters, etc., and I just hope that our process continues and it gets to where it's going on a timely basis."
Leisa Tolliver-Gay with the United States Postal Service said customers will not see a difference in sending and receiving mail, and employees will find out how their jobs will be affected after May 15.
The Jonesboro processing center is one of 264 facilities that were considered for possible closure during a five-month study that began in September 2011 as part of a plan to cut Postal Service costs by $20 billion dollars by 2015. Six of the studied facilities are on hold for further study, 35 will remain open and 223 could be consolidated.
Five processing and distribution facilities in Arkansas were part of the study. The facilities in Fayetteville and Little Rock were disapproved for full and partial consolidation. The facilities in Jonesboro, Harrison and Hot Springs were approved for consolidation.
According to the USPS web site, the earliest closing date would be May 19.
Tolliver-Gay would not speculate on the likelihood of Congress passing legislation to save the processing centers. "That is all left up to Congress," she said.
"The USPS specified that we would continue all necessary steps required for review of these facilities (until May 15) during the interim period. Given the Postal Service's financial situation and the loss of mail volume, the Postal Service must continue to take all steps necessary to reduce costs and increase revenue."
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Here is the official press release from Lisa Tolliver-Gay with the United Stated Postal Service:
JONESBORO – As a result of studies begun five months ago, the Postal Service has made the decision to move all mail processing operations from the Jonesboro Customer Service Mail Processing Center to the Memphis Processing and Distribution Center. Once the transfer is completed, the mail processing operation of Jonesboro Customer Service Mail Processing Center will cease.
There will be no change to the Business Mail Entry Unit at the Jonesboro Customer Service Mail Processing Center at this time.
The Postal Service has experienced a 25 percent decline in First-Class Mail volume since 2006, and receives no tax dollars for its operations, relying instead on the sale of postage, and postal products and services.
"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," said Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan. "Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation."
Specific dates have not been set for the transition. Until a specific date has been announced, residential and business mailers will continue to be served through the current facilities.
In December 2011, the Postal Service 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 sufficient time to enact comprehensive postal legislation. In the meantime, 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. 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, is posted on the web site, usps.com/areamailprocessing, as it becomes available.