The U.S. Postal Service is moving outgoing mail processing operations from Columbus to Macon.
Columbus Postmaster Barbara J. King said local service won’t be affected and sending mail to Macon for processing is something that has been happening on Saturdays for quite awhile.
The Columbus Customer Service Processing Center at the Milgen Road Post Office will lose an Advanced Facer Canceller System, a large machine used to face letters, cancel stamps, read facing identification marks and sort mail for downstream processing.
No jobs will be lost, said King, and salaries will be reduced.
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“The change will affect 14 workers,” said King. “They will just move to vacant positions.”
When the idea was first put on the table for consideration months ago, members of the local American Postal Workers Union protested. None could be reached for comment Thursday.
“Some people don’t adapt to change well,” King said. “But, once again, everybody still has a job.”
In Columbus, there are 325 postal workers. Processing is where 73 earn their paychecks.
Columbus handles 50,000-60,000 pieces of mail per day. King said mail from around town will come to the Milgen Road location. After some minor separation, it will then be sent throughout the day by trucks to Macon. She said local mail should be back the same day. “We’ll then separate the mail for local carriers.”
The transition, to be completed by July 1, is the result of a study that began Oct. 8, 2009.
In a Postal Service news release, South Georgia District manager Julius E. Locklear explained the reason for the move.
“Given the drastic decline in mail volume the Postal Service has experienced, with a decline of 26 billion pieces this past year, we must take action to reduce the size of our mail processing network. Consolidating operations and placing our people where we need them is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation.”
Locklear said the move makes financial sense.
“I understand our employees’ concern over the move but consolidation makes sense given the fiscal realities,” said Locklear. The Macon Processing and Distribution Center has the capacity to handle the additional workload. We can realize significant savings by shifting operations there.”
The Columbus Customer Service Processing Center Business Mail Entry Unit on Milgen Road will remain open for large volume business mailers to bring their mail.
While stamped items will now indicate Macon, Georgia P&DC, instead of Columbus, Georgia CSMPC in the cancellation, customers shouldn’t notice any other changes.
No local post offices are being closed. Nothing has been decided about quitting Saturday deliveries.
“There will be no changes in service,” said King.