UPDATE: U.S. Postal Service press release:
Pocatello Mail Processing Operations Moving to Salt Lake City
POCATELLO – As a result of studies begun five months ago, the Postal Service has made the decision to move all mail processing operations from the Pocatello, ID, Customer Service Mail Processing Center to the Salt Lake City, UT, Processing and Distribution Center.
Once the transfer is completed, the mail processing operation of the Pocatello Customer Service Mail Processing Canter will cease. There will be no change to the Retail Unit or Business Mail Entry Unit at the Pocatello 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, 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 website, usps.com/areamailprocessing, as it becomes available.
By Journal Staff
POCATELLO — Targeted along with 251 other mail processing operations around the country, U.S. Postal Service officials hit center mass Wednesday night with news the facility on Flandro Drive will be closed.
Pocatello Post Master Bruce Wiese informed employees that the Pocatello Mail Handling Annex will be closing within a year to a year and a half.
“I informed the employees that the study into the possible closures has been completed,” Wiese said. “I told them that closing the annex is the direction in which the company is headed.”
American Postal Worker’s Union Steward Elaine Hunt says that it is her belief that the Postal Service will not be able to place all the employees who work at the annex and that in the end the Postal Service will ask Congress to release it from it’s contractual obligation to place all displaced employees.
"It’s my belief that the Postal Service is going to have all of us sitting in the break room doing nothing for a month or two before telling Congress that they cannot afford to keep us on payroll,” Hunt said. “I think it will be at that point that they will ask Congress again for a contractual release.”
Employees within the office said that Wiese informed them in the meeting that the only way that the annex will be saved is if Congress steps in.
“Wiese went as far as to tell us that the PostMaster General will make the changes that he feels necessary with or without the regulatory commissions approval,” one employee who wished to remain un-named said. “The reason that the Post Master said that it will be a year and a half, only because Salt Lake will need the time to add on to their building or find another building to move the mail into.”
Wiese added that the Postal Service intends to make a press release available at 11 a.m. today.
Last fall, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says in order to survive the Postal Service had to eliminate Saturday delivery, close thousands of offices, shrink its employee health plan and lay off 120,000 American workers.