The U.S. Postal Service announced plans this week to consolidate 18 of the country's major mail sorting facilities in coming months. Officials of the postal workers union say the move could redirect mail in some regions by nearly 100 miles and further delay delivery, NBC News reports.
Advocates of rural communities also expressed concern that plant consolidation plans could create problems for farmers who rely on livestock deliveries.
The 18 mail processing centers that are being consolidated are located throughout the country, including plants in Erie, Pennsylvania; Wausau, Wisconsin; Huntsville, Alabama; Gainesville, Florida; Newburgh, New York; Paducah, Kentucky; and Seattle, according to the American Postal Workers Union, or APWU. The APWU said mail previously directed to those plants will be redirected to other facilities.
In a statement to NBC News, the USPS said it is "looking to repurpose" the centers being consolidated.
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Kim Frum, a spokesperson for the Postal Service, said in a statement that the restructuring has been talked about since 2015 and that it is part of a larger plan to boost efficiency. Frum said that the consolidations will be completed by November and that they "will lead to more efficient and reliable performance in our plants."