Postal consolidation will affect Rochester employees

Published 11:36 am Friday, February 24, 2012

Though local residents may not see much of a change in their mail delivery, more than 200 Minnesota employees may be affected by the U.S. Postal Service’s recently announced consolidation efforts.

The Postal Service said Thursday it will move processing from Rochester and Duluth to St. Paul and processing operations in St. Cloud, Mankato and Bemidji to Minneapolis. Retail operations will remain open.

That move is dependent on a change in first-class mail delivery, according to Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki.

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“This is a nationwide reconfiguration of our processing network,” Nowacki said.

According to Nowacki, the Postal Service has yet to make a final decision on whether to extend delivery time for first-class mail, or letters, bills and correspondence, for short distances.

Under the current standards, first class mail takes one to three days to deliver. Whereas a letter from Austin to Rochester would normally get delivered overnight, the new rules mean that same letter would take two days to deliver, Nowacki said. A letter from Austin to Texas would still take about three days, Nowacki said.

About 223 processing centers nationwide and about 230 positions in Minnesota will be affected according to Nowacki. Attempts will be made to reassign employees to vacant positions or other facilities.

The Associated Press previously reported processing operations from Duluth, Rochester, Mankato and Bemidji would close, but Nowacki said Rochester processing operations would remain open if the Postal Service doesn’t reclassify first-class mail. Other types of mail such as packages will have the same delivery time.

Specific dates for the consolidations have not been announced, although a moratorium on closures ends in mid-May.

The Postal Service has previously said 252 processing sites might be closed as mail volume declines. The Postal Service’s most recent quarterly loss was $3.3 billion.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.