Yesterday’s announcement of proposed USPS service and network cutbacks has produced a flood of news stories, many of them listing processing facilities that are supposedly “scheduled” for closing- here’s one from the Boston Herald:
Seven Massachusetts mail processing facilities are on a list scheduled for closing next year under a budget-cutting plan by the U.S. Postal Service.
Those are in Boston, Brockton, Lowell, North Reading, Shrewsbury, Waltham and Wareham.
If you’re from Massachusetts, it has probably occurred to you that those are all the plants in Massachusetts, with the exception of Springfield. So is all Massachusetts mail going to be worked in Springfield? Probably not- although Springfield doesn’t appear on any of the closing lists, the USPS announced last month that it would be closing, with its mail diverted to Hartford and Shrewsbury. And yes, that’s the same Shrewsbury plant that’s on the list of plants to be closed.
It gets better- while the Boston, North Reading, Waltham and Shrewsbury plants appear on the list of plants to be closed, they also appear on the list of plants set to receive mail from other plants that are being closed.
Confused? Consider Burlington Vermont. It may be closed, and its mail sent to White River Junction, which may be closed and consolidated with Manchester NH, which may be closed and consolidated with Portland ME.
If all of those dominoes actually fell, a local letter mailed in Burlington could face a 500 mile round trip before it got delivered. That’s not likely, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at the USPS documents, or reading the news coverage. Similar scenarios exist elsewhere in the country.
Several news stories do quote USPS officials saying that the plant closing list is not final, but that part of the story doesn’t seem to be getting through.
The bottom line for postal workers and customers is that they really don’t know any more about the local impact of the proposed changes than they did before yesterday’s announcement.