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article imageMail processing centers close and put strains on businesses

By Robert Lawson     Jun 4, 2015 in Business
Duluth - Mail delivery is lagging and many businesses and consumers depend on the timely delivery of their mail, but the trend in a slowdown continues.
The postal system in the United States just isn't operating as smoothly as it once was in the country that was the first to revolutionize such a system, though we are a far cry from the days of horseback delivery. As more postal centers and mail delivery processing centers close across the United States due to budget shortfalls for the United States Postal Service (USPS), mail delivery times are lagging behind and businesses are the first to be strained by such circumstances, though homeowners and taxpayers are impacted as well.
In Duluth, Minnesota this past week, elected officials, postal workers and some others rallied on West Michigan Street in an effort to save the mail processing facility there that is scheduled to close, according to a recent report on the matter. A similar facility was already scheduled to close in downtown Mankato as well. Unions play a key role in the postal service in America, and its federal members make up a large expensive workforce that is paid well and with benefits but provide a much coveted service to American citizens and businesses that most people feel is a valuable asset. U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan was in attendance at the rally in support of permanently restoring it.
Nolan believes the facility in Duluth should not be closed without consent first from Congress and the President. That is not likely to happen. Opponents of the USPS budgeting measures that include closing facilities argue that mail delivery in these populated areas will have substandard mail service compared to the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The facility in Duluth was supposed to close in April but some processing work has continued past that deadline.
Remember when the USPS said you could send a letter anywhere in the country and it would arrive no later than three days time? It is not the case anymore. And this impacts all sorts of businesses, large and small including businesses that sell services and products dedicated to mailing, such as envelope and paper product suppliers. According to Omaha.com, Omaha's major online news outlet, only 63 percent of non-local mail now arrives on time. Mail sent from the coasts seems to take longer than mail from the interior of the country. But even their times are getting slower, according to the report.
The USPS is making several operational changes so it can save money over the long term and essentially stay in service for the general public, who has become more accustomed to texts, emails and private digital messages in the age of the Internet. Still, the postal service is seen as a vital component to the economy since so many business and marketing snail mail messages are sent and received on a daily basis utilizing the USPS. FedEx and UPS are still only delivering packages and are unlikely to start sending and receiving regular mail (though they do have mailbox services at some store locations).
Nolan said the slowdown is having a deep impact on consumers and businesses in the Northland, according to another report from a media source in Wisconsin. Nolan called on Wisconsin residents to reach out to their elected officials to support the cause as well. Duluth is near Superior, Wisconsin. The area is called the Twin Ports.
Mail processing facilities are being impacted this way all over the U.S. More closures are likely as is the slowdown in mail delivery times for consumers and businesses. According to one report, the smaller parcels and letters are taking the longest to arrive.
The USPS has been in operation for nearly 250 years in the U.S. It is one of the most historic institutions and developed by Benjamin Franklin.
UPDATE: The USPS is suspending the closure of mail processing centers. The pressure from a number of senators is said to be the motivating factor.
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