Waite Park postal facility to close as service reshuffles state mail processing

Waite Park postal facility to close as service reshuffles state mail processing Click to Enlarge Photo:

Feb 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm

WAITE PARK, Minn. (KNSI) - The U.S. Postal Service announced the closure of 223 mail procession facilities nationwide Thursday, including the mail sorting plant servicing the St. Cloud area in Waite Park.

The Postal Service had previously said 252 were part of a five-month study to see which processing sites might be closed as mail volume declines.

Employees at the Waite Park facility were informed Wednesday night and Thursday morning, according to Minnesota U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki. He said 69 Waite Park workers will be affected by the closure.

"What we will be doing is working with our employees through our collective bargaining agreements to reassign them into other positions or other facilities if necessary." Nowacki said. "We can't really say exactly what will happen to everybody, but we do have a pretty good track record as an employer who does there best to take care of people.

Nowacki said in the past four years, the Postal Service has eliminated 140,000 positions nationwide without laying off a single career employee. The Postal Service also said Thursday that in Minnesota, it will move processing from Duluth and Rochester to St. Paul and processing operations in Mankato and Bemidji as well as St. Cloud to Minneapolis. None of those moves will take place before May 15, Nowacki said.

Several factors played into the decision of Postal Service heads about which facilities would be closed.

"Is it possible for us to even make a move? Can we do it and still maintain service? What kind of savings would be captured by doing this? Is it possible for us to make adjustments to our transportation network? In this case, the factors all kind of determined that (a Waite Park closure) was something that's possible," Nowacki said.

Nowacki said local residents would see no change in their delivery service or at area post offices. However, the closures are contingent upon the Postal Service approving a host of other service standard changes announced last month, including a move that will effectively eliminate overnight local deliveries in favor of a two or three day wait.

"Local mail -- St. Cloud to St. Cloud mail -- that right now is delivered overnight...that would take two days," Nowacki said.

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