The U.S. Postal Service is considering consolidation of its Madison and Milwaukee processing and distribution operations to increase efficiency.
The Postal Service is down $16 billion this past year, and a study at the Madison processing and distribution center will focus on the possible consolidation of some Madison operations to the Milwaukee Processing and Distribution Center.
Postal Service officials cite declining mail volumes and the large financial deficits the decline has created as the reason for the study.
"And then we have catalogs -- it's almost all third-class, fourth-class mail," said mail carrier Jim Stonestreet. "And as far as cards go, for this generation, it's either email or Facebook."
Through an Area Mail Processing study, the Postal Service said it's examining the Madison plant's efficiency in order to decide whether the center should consolidate.
"Last year, the Postal Service ended the fiscal year losing $16 billion. The postmaster general has gone on record saying our current financial situation is not sustainable. So any opportunity we can to look into where we could improve productivity and efficiency, we have to look into it. And that's why we're doing this in Madison," said Sean Hargadon, with corporate communications for the Postal Service.
First-class mail has been down nearly 40 percent since 2007, and that's a big reason why the Postal Service is conducting these studies.
It's really no surprise to carriers such as Stonestreet, who said he hopes measures like these help put the Postal Service on a sustainable path.
"I don't think there is any choice," said Stonestreet. "I mean, it's a brick and mortar place like anything else. Like Amazon.com, you don't have a storefront anymore. You have that much mail volume decline, you have to consolidate."
The study spans two months, and if consolidation is the route the Postal Service goes, there will be public meetings for input before any decision is made.
Speaking to the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, its president estimates the consolidation would affect about 100 workers at the Madison processing plant.
Those wanting to comment during the study are asked to submit comments to:
Manager of Consumer and Industry Contact
PO Box 5008
Milwaukee WI 53201-5008