Postal delivery issues linger in Northland

By Brady Slater – July 11, 2015
The Duluth mail processing center on the 2800 block of West Michigan Street remains fully staffed — but the delivery time of letters it handles appears to be falling behind the U.S. Postal Service’s new two-day local standard.

“You talk about frustrating,” said James Linder, a local landlord who was hit with almost $400 in penalties from the city on payments that featured a postmark later than Linder expected.

Linder oversees single- and multiple-family dwellings in the city. He said he mails quarterly payments and biannual taxes on the last day of the quarter. After he mailed his payments May 15, the letters later reached the city postmarked May 16.

“It’s something I’ve done forever,” Linder said. “I generally mail on the last day; it’s cash management is what it is. I got there before 3 o’clock to put it in the chute and I got a letter from the city saying I was postmarked the 16th.”

Earlier this year, as part of sweeping changes in the way the USPS conducts business in the Northland, Duluth’s last mail collection time was moved to 3:15 p.m., up from 8 p.m. Linder said he thought he had made the new cut.

But postmarking is no longer done at the Duluth mail processing center, a casualty of moving first-class sorting operations from Duluth to Eagan, Minn., earlier this year.

Despite the move, the Duluth processing center maintains its roughly 78 employees, who are left to do “final sortation” and sequencing for incoming letters headed to ZIP codes starting with 556, 557 or 558, a Postal Service spokesman told the News Tribune.

“What they’d like to do is abolish all mail processing out of Duluth but they ran into a roadblock because they don’t have jobs for the workers in the Twin Cities,” said Kurt Waite, a Duluth processing center employee who has been among the most vocal critics of the Postal Service consolidation plan, titled “network rationalization.”

One of the Postal Service’s selling points for network rationalization was that it would include no layoffs of union workers. Thus, the workers remain at the center, conducting only a portion of their old jobs.

Read More – Source: Postal delivery issues linger in Northland | Duluth News Tribune

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