Beginning Feb. 23, mail collected in the Youngstown area will go to Cleveland for cancellation, instead of being canceled in Youngstown, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman said.
But, if it’s addressed to a Youngstown-area destination, the canceled mail will come back to the mail- processing center at the downtown Youngstown post office to be sorted, explained Dave Van Allen, the Cleveland-based regional spokesman.
However, a year or so from now, the Youngstown mail processing center, which now employs 165 people, will close completely and all of its functions will be transferred to Cleveland, he said.
“Mail processing is being consolidated into Cleveland incrementally,” he said.
Van Allen said he did not know how many Youngstown center workers would retire and how many would transfer to other postal facilities with job openings.
“We have more capacity to process mail than we have mail to process,” due to declining paper mail volume as email, smart phones and Facebook communications increase, Van Allen said.
When the mail processing centers closing process began last summer, there were 461 MPCs nationwide; and when it ends early in 2014, there will be 232, saving the post office $2.1 billion annually, he said.
A mail processing center is a place where mail gets canceled and passes through an electronic ZIP code scanning and sorting procedure.
Besides Youngstown, other Ohio MPCs will close in Canton, Akron, Chillicothe, Dayton, Toledo and Athens, leaving only the MPCs in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
“Most people won’t notice any difference. It’ll be seamless to the average person,” Van Allen said of the Feb. 23 move of mail cancellation from Youngstown to Cleveland.
A letter mailed in the Youngstown area to another Youngstown area address typically gets delivered in one day, and that won’t change after Feb. 23, nor is it likely to change when all Youngstown mail processing moves to Cleveland, Van Allen said.
After the Youngstown mail processing center closes, there will still be a downtown Youngstown post office, which will still feature post office boxes, clerks selling stamps and carriers delivering mail, Van Allen said.
Officials of the Youngstown locals of unions representing postal clerks and mail handlers could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
But in September 2011, Robert Yambar, chief administrative representative of the National Postal Mail Handlers’ Union told the Mahoning County commissioners that moving Youngstown’s mail processing to Cleveland would delay delivery of benefit checks and medications.
At that time, Yambar and Dominic Corso, president of the American Postal Workers’ Union Local 443, which represents postal clerks, were promoting a rally outside the downtown Youngstown post office in support of retaining the Youngstown MPC.