HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - If you drop a letter in the mail destined for a location just down the road, it may soon be taken on a 100-mile road trip to a Mobile, Alabama processing plant before arriving in a box just down the block from where it started.
Hattiesburg's 40th Avenue processing facility, along with Gulfport's processing hub, are on the United States Postal Service's list of facilities likely to be shut down in 2012. (Click here for a full list of facilities likely to be shut down)
If these two locations are shuttered, mail sent in southern Mississippi would likely be routed through the next-closest processing center, located in Mobile, Alabama.
Facility closures like those in southern Mississippi will decrease the efficiency of the delivery process nationwide, prompting USPS to announce on Monday that it will no longer offer next-day delivery for first-class mail. A one to three-day delivery standard for first -class mail sent within the continental United States will now be lengthened to two to three days. This will be the first time first-class mail delivery standards are reduced in 40 years. Currently, more than 40 percent of first-class mail is delivered in one day.
Facing budget troubles, USPS - the second largest civilian employer in the United States - is planning to close more than half of it's facilities, and lay off 28,000 employees.
Enola Rice, the USPS Mississippi spokesperson, said despite nationwide layoffs, no Mississippi employees will lose their jobs due to a collective bargaining agreement. Rice said decisions on facility closures will be made in early 2012.
"Everything at the postal service is under review now, we are looking at everything we do at the postal service to make changes so that we can be here in the future and be in business," Rice said.
The volume of first class mail deliveries has decreased 27 percent since 2006 - when mail going through USPS peaked.
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