U.S. Postal Service changes could have big impact in Tucson

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Monday the U.S. Postal Service announced sweeping cuts that could close down a mail processing center in Tucson.

The changes would have a huge impact on local postal workers and your mail.

"This proposed change to service standards will allow a significant opportunity to consolidate the postal network," said David Williams from the U.S. Postal Service.

The Post Master General announced plans Monday to close as many as 250 mail processing centers in an effort to save money.  One of those centers is in Tucson.

"All mail processing for Southern Arizona which is done here in Tucson would be moved up to our facilities in Phoenix," Williams said.

USPS Spokesman Rob Soler says that would tack on at least an extra day of delivery time for local mail.

"Mail volume has declined about 27%, so we have these facilities designed to sort mail at a volume that we just don't have anymore," said Soler.

The Tucson Center employs about 350 people. Right now, it's not clear what will happen to them.

"They're going to have to put them to work somewhere," said Connie Sadler-Nelson from the American Postal Workers Union.

Sadler-Nelson says workers will still have work, if they are open to re-locating.

"You live in Tucson and you have children and a mortgage and now all of a sudden you have to move to Phoenix," said Sadler-Nelson.

Sadler-Nelson says the real problem is sustaining postal operations.  Declining service might cause customers to seek out alternatives.

"There's no business model in the world that says get rid of your customers and expect to stay in business," Sadler-Nelson said.

The plan to close the Tucson location is not a done deal.  The Postal Service is still weighing the pros and cons and it's expecting to hold a number of meetings to get public input.

According to the Postal Service, there is no public meeting scheduled, but according to the union rep, it's scheduled for the December 28.