May 18, 2012 1:55 AM
TUCSON - Looks like neither protest, lobbying, nor influence of Congress will keep the postal service from shuttering Southern Arizona's only mail processing center.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday it's moving forward with consolidation plans meaning the Tucson center will be shut down. All the mail will soon be sent up to Phoenix to be sorted.
The postal service said the ultimate decision came down to money; money they continue to lose with less and less mail coming in.
Rob Soler is a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service. He said, "People just use mail less now. Mail volume is down by 25% so we don't need the same footprint of mail processing facilities we needed 6 years ago."
He said they not only will be able to keep up, but customers likely won't notice the difference.
Opponents on the other hand said, "Yea Right!"
They said people will notice and not just here in the city. Connie Sadler-Nelson is the union rep for the postal workers. She said, "It's not just Tucson. Its every place down to Nogales and the border and everywhere in between.
So now Tucson and the rest of the Southern Arizona towns will send its mail to Phoenix first and then back again; something that could take an extra day.
That extra time has some residents concerned.
Kelley McClintock has a child with special needs. She said, "He requires a lot of medications and equipment through the mail so that is personally how it's going to affect us. It's going to be a form of suffering if he has to go without his medication."
Samantha Banchy sells Tea and uses the post office to ship her product. She said, "I work 10 hours a day in a warehouse and I mail out tea at end of the day which is on my way home. If the sorting plant isn't here our tea isn't going to get out faster."
Then there are the jobs. The postal service said there won't be massive layoffs, the jobs will just be shifted to Phoenix, but union workers said that's not possible for everyone and even it was, it doesn't do anything for Tucson.
Sadler-Nelson said, "If they're not in Tucson spending their hard earned wages, then that's money a restaurant won't get, or a printing place. Maybe they can't make it."
The good news is the shut down won't take effect until February of 2013 and one day service in Tucson will be preserved through the end of that year.
The postal service said unless some massive changes occur in Congress phase two will kick in, in 2014 eliminating overnight and first class letters all together.