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Business and the Economy

U.S. Postal Service: Springfield Mail Sorting Operations Will Move to Kansas City

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/us-postal-service-springfield-mail-sorting-operations-will-move-kansas-city_32373.mp3

The U.S. Postal Service is moving its mail processing operations from Springfield to Kansas City.  That means the mail processing facility on Chestnut Expressway in Springfield will close.   KSMU’s Jennifer Moore has details.

According to a spokesman from the US Postal Service, about 320 employees work in Springfield’ mail processing facility.  Richard Watkins, a spokesman for the USPS based in Kansas City, says the postal service will see what he’s calling a “net decrease” of 65 positions when looking at its overall operations. He says the postal service will continue to work with its labor unions and management associations to minimize the impact on employees.

“We’re looking at positions that will be available in the carrier craft—for mail clerks, mail processors whose jobs were at the mail processing facility—within commuting distance,” he said.

He says the postal service made its decision after studies began five months ago surrounding its budget crisis.

“Really, what’s driving this has been a 25 percent decline in first class mail volume. Now, overall mail volume, in the past six years, since 2006, is down a little over 20 percent. Now, that’s significant. But first class mail—which is what we primarily sort at these mail processing facilities, is down by one quarter,” he said.

The postal processing center is in the legislative district of State Representative Melissa Leach. She says she has real concerns about how the closure will impact the city.

"We have a two-fold issue at stake: it is the potential loss of 200 jobs. Then, the impact of that is, potentially, the impact on timely mail delivery. That's always been a black eye for the postal service, so I don't know why they'd want to attempt anything else in that realm. You know, Springfield is growing. We are one of the largest economic drivers in the state," she said.

The closure of the facility is a federal issue, meaning there's little that lawmakers in Jefferson City can do about this decision.

The Postal Service has agreed to place a moratorium on closing or consolidating offices before May 15, 2012, to give Congress and the Obama Administration an opportunity to come with an alternative plan.

KSMU could not connect with the local chapter president of the American Postal Workers Union.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.

ANCHOR TAG: There will be no change to Springfield's post office retail unit, its business mail entry unit, or its customer service office. The postal service does not rely on tax dollars for its operations. Instead, it gets its revenue from teh sale of postage, postal products and services.