Eau Claire’s mail distribution center is among 82 such operations across the United States scheduled to close in 2015 as part of a U.S. Postal Service reorganization, postal officials announced Monday.
The closing means mail originating in Eau Claire will be sent to a sorting center in St. Paul, delaying its delivery time.
The operations move to St. Paul will be completed by the beginning of the fall 2015 mailing season, according to a U.S. Postal Service. The consolidation is the continuation of a plan that began in 2012 to recover from the $26 billion in financial losses and other challenges the Postal Service has faced during the last three years.
According to the Postal Service website, the change will increase the time it takes first-class mail to reach its destination from an average of 2.14 days to 2.25 days.
Postal Service officials said closing the 54,000-square-foot sorting center on Eau Claire’s north side and others around the U.S., including those in La Crosse, Madison and Wausau, is necessary to avoid layoffs and place employees in other available positions.
The release did not include the number of jobs at the mail processing center impacted by the move. In 2011 the facility employed 110.
The move is the most recent sign of Postal Service struggles. In 2012 and 2013 the agency consolidated more than 140 mail processing facilities in an effort to save $865 million nationwide. This continued network rationalization is expected to save an additional $750 million annually, according to the release.
In a letter to customers, the Postal Service said it will release detailed information in the coming weeks and work closely with patrons.