Postal Service to cut distribution centers
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:00 PM
JACKSON - The state newspaper trade group has voiced strong opposition to an announced plan by the United States Postal Service to further consolidate mail processing facilities in Mississippi.
The announcement, made June 30 by USPS officials, will affect processing centers in Grenada, Hattiesburg and Gulfport, with the two southern facilities being consolidated into Mobile, Ala. Processing in Grenada will be transferred to Jackson, which will be the lone processing facility in Mississippi after all consolidations occur that began in a first wave initiated in 2013.
The Mississippi Press Association Board of Directors issued a statement objecting to the Postal Service's plan, joining other industry trade groups and the National Newspaper Association (NNA) in protesting the changes.
"We have seen repeatedly that closures and consolidations negatively affect newspaper distribution and the delivery of business mail," said MPA President Joel McNeece, publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce. "We object to this plan by the Postal Service and fail to see how further consolidation and lowering of service standards will help keep postal delivery competitive in the marketplace."
McNeece said the announced changes, scheduled to take effect in 2015, will significantly impact rural mail service.
"Newspaper and periodicials delivery and, in fact, all mail service would be delayed even further," he said.
According to NNA, USPS is showing an operating profit for Fiscal 2014 after years of significant losses. Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe cited a $40 billion debt on the USPS balance sheet as the impetus for further service cuts. Most of USPS is indebted to the US Treasury, which it owes for accelerated prepayment of postal retiree health costs imposed by Congress in 2006.
"We need postal reform legislation and quickly," McNeece said. "MPA stands with other associations, including NNA, in calling for legislation that will address preservation of rural mail delivery. We believe continued, reliable mail service to American communities is vital to our overall economy."
Founded in 1866, MPA is the trade group for over 120 member newspapers and their affiliated journals, magazines and websites.