Minnesota's two U.S. Senators are urging their colleagues to halt the pending closure of mail processing centers in Duluth, Bemidji, St. Cloud, and Mankato until Congress can complete a comprehensive reform of the Postal Service.
The Duluth News Tribune reports that in a bipartisan letter sent Thursday, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken joined 48 other senators in asking a key committee to reconsider the shutdown of the centers. The Senate Appropriations Committee sets the levels of funding for specific programs in the budget.
“The Postal Service has already consolidated 141 mail processing facilities since 2012,” wrote the two DFL senators from Minnesota. “As the postal network has been weakened, service delivery has suffered ... slowing down mail delivery even further will hurt senior citizens on fixed incomes, small businesses and the entire economy."
The Mankato Free Press' story adds that the work now done at the regional processing center would be consolidated at centers in the Twin Cities.
In June, the Postal Service announced plans to sell the historic post office building in downtown Mankato. Built in 1896, the Romanesque building on the National Register of Historic Places was called too large and inefficient for the postal service as it works to hold expenses down.
Congress has limited control over the Postal Service, which gets no taxpayer money and has, in the past, made enough to cover its operations. The USPS recently announced it lost $3 billion in just three months.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told workers at the Duluth mail processing plant in July that the closures would come in 2015 as a continuation of USPS reductions started in 2011. He has said that the postal service plans to consolidate up to 82 more mail-processing facilities and eliminate up to 15,000 more jobs in 2015.