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Post Office Consolidation Threatens Bristol Facility

January 19, 2010

As we enter 2010 Bristol is facing a possible consolidation of the Processing and Distributing Facility at the post office in downtown Bristol. The Bristol facility is among 445 studies currently being held throughout the nation. Though the Bristol operations was not on the original target list, a September 21 letter informed the AFL-CIO that there was a feasibility study for possible consolidation of some of Bristol’s operations into the Johnson City Processing & Distributing Facility. The letter reads:

”An AMP study involves the review of mail processing and transportation operations at a postal facility. The reason for the study is to review mail volume and determine capacity needs in order to increase efficiency and improve productivity. In doing so, we will be able to continue to provide universal service at a reasonable cost for a long time to come. The Postal Service is facing one of the most difficult challenges in its history. There has been a continual decline in single-piece First-Class Mail volumes over the past decade. Volume was down by more than 9 billion pieces last year. It's falling even faster today. By the end of the year, we expect to lose 20 billion pieces. The Postal Service has to realign its processing and delivery network to match its resources with mail volume. The reality is we have an excess of equipment, staff and facilities to process a declining volume of mail. Consolidating some postal operations only makes logical business sense given the economic realities. It would be fiscally irresponsible not to do so. This letter is solely intended to provide you with information that we plan to conduct the study. If the business case supports consolidation, a public meeting will be held to allow members of the community to ask questions and provide feedback. Community input will be considered before a decision is made as to whether or not the proposed consolidation should be implemented. This letter is not intended as notice of future changes in mail processing and is not a notice of impact on employees. Appropriate notice will be given, if any is required, when a decision is made.”

The U.S. Postal Service recently held a January 13 public hearing at Tennessee High School and shared the initial results of the feasibility study and received questions and feedback from the community. It was stated that this input would be considered before a final decision was made. The consolidation of the Bristol facility into Johnson City’s would reportedly save approximately $750,000 and result in the loss of 14 positions. According to the study, dated December 29, 2009, some services would continue in Bristol, including post office boxes, acceptance of business mail, delivery of mail to residences and businesses and finally, “a local postmark will be available for stamped First-Class Mail.”

There are numerous reasons why citizens of Bristol should oppose this proposal. The transfer from the Bristol facility would be detrimental to the business community and would affect at least fourteen jobs in the community. It would also be reasonable to think that mail service would be affected, similar to the delayed service experienced with mail delivered on the weekends in Bristol. That mail is routed to Knoxville and returned to the Bristol facility for local delivery. Another concern is the diminished value to Bristol’s postmark. The December letter refers that “a local postmark will be available for stamped First-Class Mail” would mean that one would have to enter the post office to get a Bristol Tn-Va or a Bristol TN or Bristol VA post mark. The world has changed over the years, but traditionally the value of a community was found in its postal cancellation. To save these positions and the Bristol Tn-Va postal cancellation the citizens of Bristol must make their voice heard within the next few weeks. Your comments must be mailed and postmarked (Bristol postmark) by January 28, 2010. Believe in Bristol encourages comments to be sent to:

Manager Consumer Affairs

Appalachian District

P.O. Box 59631

Charleston WV 25350-9631