MADISON (AP) – The U.S. Postal Service plans to close four Wisconsin distribution centers as the struggling agency keeps looking for ways to cut costs.
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported late Monday that a distribution center in that city will close next year. Its operations will move to a St. Paul, Minnesota, sorting center by the end of fall 2015. The change will increase delivery time for first-class mail from an average of 2.14 days to 2.25 days.
Wausau Daily Herald Media also reported Monday that the postal service plans to close a distribution center in Rothschild next year as well. That center handles almost all of central Wisconsin’s mail. Its operations will move to a Green Bay facility. A sorting facility ion Iron Mountain, Michigan, is also planned for closure; its operations will move to Green Bay as well.
Both media outlets also report that centers in La Crosse and Madison are slated to close by the end of next year as well.
The closures represent the second phase of a consolidation effort the postal service began two years ago. The postal service expects to close 82 facilities nationwide by the end of 2015, generating $750 million in annual savings.
Pete Nowacki, a postal service spokesman, said he didn’t have any figures on how many people work at each facility but said all the workers would be reassigned and won’t lose their jobs. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported that the facility there employed 110 people in 2011; Wausau Daily Herald Media reported 163 people worked in that center in 2012.
Rothshchild Village President George Peterson said the closing will affect the entire area.
“The people who will be displaced are not all Rothschild residents. It’s a Wausau-area thing,” he said. “It’s not going to have a tremendous impact on the village of Rothschild alone.”
The postal service consolidated 141 processing facilities in 2012 and 2013, generating annual savings of $865 million without laying anyone off.
Still, the postal service lost nearly $2 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Over the past three years the postal service has lost $26 billion and continues to lose money as mail volume and revenue decrease and wages grow.