The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 10, 2013

Mail processing center on slow road to closure

MANKATO — The shuttering of the Mankato mail-processing center hasn’t happened as quickly as the financially ailing U.S. Postal Service planned, but it’s still coming.

“The Postal Service’s dire financial condition requires us to accelerate the consolidation of approximately 55 area processing sites,” said Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki in a statement.

 “... As part of this plan, originating mail (the canceling and initial sorting of mail) at the Mankato Processing and Distribution Facility will be consolidated into the Minneapolis Processing and Distribution Center at some time in 2013,” he wrote. “We have not set a final date for this move.”

The approximately 100 employees previously working at the facility on Summit Avenue on Mankato’s far-north side already have been pared to about 80 by attrition and early retirements in anticipation of the closing of the facility, said Paul Rodgers, president for the Mankato Area Local of the American Postal Workers Union.

The first part of the shutdown is anticipated to hit this summer — about a year after originally planned.

“What we’ve been told is sometime between June 1 and July 31,” Rodgers said. “... We got a few more months.”

That initial cost-cutting measure means that mail collected from post offices across southwestern and south-central Minnesota — all ZIP codes beginning with 560 and 561 — will go to Minneapolis to be sorted and sent on to each piece’s final destination.

“This is going to impact about 18 employees,” Rodgers said.

The facility’s larger operation is the sorting of mail coming in from other processing centers around the country and sending it on to the proper post offices in a region that stretches from Hills (just east of the South Dakota line) to Albert Lea to Waseca to Belle Plaine. That work is anticipated to be transferred to Minneapolis in just under a year.

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