Part of plan to save $8 billion a year, area mail processing operations employing 23 at Cartersville's post office on Liberty Drive are moving to Atlanta, the U.S. Postal Service announced today.
"We're not talking about the actual Cartersville post office," Spokesman Michael Miles said. "We're talking about just the mail processing operation that's in the back."
USPS, a self-financing federal agency that employs 8 million people, says it needs to cut costs at least $20 billion by 2015 and more than $22 billion by 2016 to return to profitability and ensure long-term financial stability.
While USPS has proposed legislative reforms, including delivering mail five instead of six days a week, last year it began studying its mail processing and retail and delivery activities in an effort to slash expenses by realigning operations following dramatic declines in mail volume.
Miles said the 23 employees affected by the full consolidation of the Cartersville operation with the Atlanta Processing and Distribution Center in Hapeville are union employees.
"We will look to transfer those employees into other operations just depending on what's available," he said. "We have a union agreement and there's some contractual guidelines we have to follow, so we'll find jobs for them according to the union contract, but we don't anticipate people losing their jobs as a result of this."
The local operation processes both locally generated mail and mail originating in other areas. The relocation of both incoming and outgoing operations coupled with USPS' proposal to change delivery standards could affect the length of time required for mail to arrive in Cartersville and other destinations.
"If we have fewer plants, that means we have to have different standards, which means that mail could, yes, in theory, take longer, but how it will specifically impact the area, we probably can't tell you at this point," Miles said, finally adding, in terms of delivery time frames, "what was one day could become two days."
USPS reports its mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years and continues to drop. In December, it agreed to a moratorium on closures or consolidations to allow time for legislative change, including relaxing delivery standards and providing employee health benefits independent of federal programs, which it says would save a total of $9.8 billion a year.
The local facility processes about 400,000 pieces of mail per day for Cartersville and 21 other nearby ZIP codes. Closure of the operation is contingent upon on a move to five-day delivery and would happen sometime after May 15, when the moratorium is slated to end.
Other Georgia processing facilities proposed for consolidations include operations in Acworth, Douglasville, Marietta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Savannah and Albany.