USPS closes mail processing center annex in Waco

Monday, January 28, 2013 - 2:23pm

On Saturday, operations at the mail processing center annex, at 7300 Imperial Drive in Waco, were ended, as a part of an “internal move” by the United States Postal Service. Waco’s outgoing mail will now be taken for processing in Austin and be brought back into Waco for distribution, as a part of the postal service’s cost-cutting efforts.

A USPS spokesman says this does not affect business, especially for incoming mail, which is processed at the Waco Postal Service office, located at 430 West State Highway 6.

“We’re going to keep that open, for now,” said Sam Bolen, USPS Spokesman.

The transition of having the mail outsourced for processing is expected to be seamless, and postal customers aren’t expected to notice any difference, even in spite of 32 jobs being cut in the consolidation.

The annex on Imperial Drive and the Highway 6 facility currently employ a combined 122 people. With outgoing mail processing being moved from Waco, there will now only being 90 employees working at Highway 6 processing facility. However, the postal service insists, “nobody’s going to be laid off.”

A retirement incentive has been offered to those affected by the consolidation, including clerks and mail handlers. Between five to 19 people could be out placed to other jobs within the company.

In December 2011, a series of public meetings were held to inform Waco residents of the possible changes. USPS says the cuts they’ve made thus far have not been as drastic as originally planned. In May 2012, the decision to close the Waco annex was made. This consolidation affects anyone with an area code beginning with 765,766, and 767. People who live in these area codes will have their mail taken to Austin for processing and brought back to Waco overnight for distribution.

“Last summer, we did about 46 of these consolidations in other places of the country, and there has been no noticeable impact (to customers),” said Bolen.

This is part of phase one of the USPS’s plan to regain financial stability. With all of the annex closures across the country, the company expects to save 1.2 billion dollars annually. Bolen says mail volume has declined by 25 to 30 percent over the last five to six years, and Bolen emphasizes the fact that the postal service operates solely on the products it sales.

The postal service is also implementing the “post plan”, where they are reducing hours at rural postal facilities.
“80 percent of operating the post office is labor cost,” said Bolen.

The "post plan" has been a two year project that started in September 2012 and is slated to finish in 2014, impacting about 13,000 facilities.

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