After months of uncertainty, Springfield's main mail processing center will stay open, according to a postal union representative.
During a Wednesday evening conference call with postal officials, local postal union president James O'Connell says he was told that postal processing centers in Quincy, Carbondale and Centralia will be consolidated with Springfield and that the Springfield processing center on Cook Street will stay open.
News of this consolidation plan comes a day after a moratorium on planned closures expired. It's welcomed news for the capital city months after Springfield's postal processing center was slated for closure. Springfield joined a list of hundreds of other post offices around the country that would have been forced to shutter their doors because of growing budget problems.
Last week the Post Master General revised plans to close hundreds of rural post offices and instead limited the number of hours they would be open.
A document from the American Postal Worker's Union's website says that some of the modified network consolidation plans would being early this summer and workers in affected communities would be notified with more details May 21st. There will be no closures this summer, just consolidation efforts.
No consolidations steps will take place between September through December 2012 because of increased mail volume, but the process will pick back up in early 2013. A second phase of consolidations is being scheduled to begin in 2014.
"Actions taken will comply with collective bargaining agreements, Postal Service regulations and policies, and other applicable law," the document states. It also says that overnight delivery could be effected in some areas because of the consolidation.
O'Connell says that little by little, solid plans of the transition will come forward. He says he is awaiting written confirmation of the plans to absorb the Quincy, Carbondale and Centralia services into Springfield. He also says that it is bitter-sweet that other facilities in other communities will close, but Springfield will stay open.
A recent study suggested a loss of tens of millions of dollars in economic activity to the Springfield area if the more than 230 jobs at the post office in Springfield were transferred to St. Louis or elsewhere.