The U.S. Postal Service made it official. It is closing two mail processing centers in our area, one in Scranton, the other in Williamsport.
That means the loss of many jobs and delays in mail delivery in this area.
In a surprise move, officials with the U.S. Postal Service announced a plan Thursday to close facilities nationwide, months earlier than expected.
The closures could affect hundreds of postal workers in our area.
Workers at the mail processing center on Stafford Avenue in Scranton thought they would have until May before they would know for sure if the facility would close, but they learned Thursday that all the mail processing centers in the state will consolidate into four centers, meaning your mail will have to travel farther before it gets to its final destination, and employees will have to travel farther, too.
In our area, the Scranton and Williamsport mail processing centers are set to close.
In Pennsylvania, the same amount of mail will now be handled by fewer mail processing centers.
“It really doesn’t bother me. I don’t send things out last minute and if I know it’s going to take a little longer I’ll send it out a day before,” said Kevin Moher of Clarks Summit.
Many customers, like Moher, prefer email. So, the closure of the mail processing center in Scranton may affect its 300 employees more than postal customers.
The postal service has promised there won’t be layoffs, but employees don’t know yet where their jobs will go. Some will go to a processing center near Allentown, others will have to go where they are needed most.
“From here to Lehigh Valley on the turnpike is $5 one way, so you’re telling an employee they have to pay $4 or $5 a gallon and you’re going to drive 75 miles and pay $50 a week in tolls just to keep your job?” asked Kevin Gallagher of the American Postal Workers Union.
Postal workers in Scranton said the postal service’s plan to consolidate may not save any money at all, because of rising fuel costs and the remaining processing centers may need to be renovated.
The service counter at Stafford Avenue and Williamsport will stay open and while customers will still be able to buy stamps and mail packages, the mail may take longer to get delivered.
“I’m from the old school, so I actually do use the post office. I do a little email, but yeah, it will be terrible because anything I was going to send I will have to send earlier and plan for that, maybe get late fees,” said Bridget Seguine of Scranton.
Roilene Buries lives in Loyalsock Township and uses the Williamsport post office almost every week.
“To pick stuff up and make sure it gets mailed in the blue mail boxes,” Buries said.
In just a few months, mail will no longer be processed at the facility on Reach Road in Williamsport. Instead it will be sent to Harrisburg.
“Say if I wanna mail something from here to Montoursville, it has to go to Harrisburg. I may as well jump in my car and go to Montoursville myself,” said Arthur McKee of Williamsport.
“The way we pay our bills it’s going to take longer for our merchants to get our payments,” Said Debra Mosteller of Williamsport.
The postal service said that the Williamsport facility processes between 60,000 and 70,000 pieces of mail each day, and many more during busy seasons.
The USPS says approximately 50 people work at the Williamsport processing facility. They will be given the option whether they want to transfer but the people Newswatch 16 spoke to said the jobs should stay in Williamsport.
“I don’t think that should happen. People need jobs too badly to go somewhere else to work. This is their home and I think it should stay here,” Said Buries.
The Williamsport processing facility is slated to close sometime after May 15.
Again, the service counter at both the Scranton and Williamsport post offices will remain open and customers will still be able to buy stamps and mail packages.