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Mail service in Michigan set to slow down

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Postal workers are protesting the postal service’s plan to close three mail processing centers in Michigan later this year.

United States Postal Service processing centers in Lansing, Kalamazoo and Iron Mountain are slated to close.  Centers in Saginaw and Gaylord have already closed. The closings will leave three centers to process mail delivery in Michigan. 

The closings are part of a Post Office plan that also includes slowing first class mail delivery. In some cases, it may take a first class letter up to three days to be delivered.  Before this week, first class mail would usually take a day. 

“It definitely devalues the utilization of a first class mail stamp,” said Jesus Gonzales, the president of the Michigan Postal Workers Union

He says the restructuring will end up costing several hundred postal employees in Michigan their jobs. 

A post office spokeswoman says the changes are meant to “right-size” the postal services and reduce its budget deficit. 

Sabrina Todd is a Postal Service spokeswoman. She defends the changes to First Class mail delivery.

“We’re not slowing down service as (much) as we are allowing our service standards to change,” says Todd.

Todd acknowledges that social media and other online communication media are taking an increasingly larger bite into the Post Office’s bottom line. 

She rejects that slowing delivery of First Class mail will be counterproductive for the United States Postal Service’s future.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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