Tupelo mail consolidation approaches second deadline

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The U.S. Postal Service’s controversial plan to outsource some of Tupelo’s mail operations to Memphis could get delayed a second time.
The USPS had set a Jan. 1 deadline for the move after having missed the original Oct. 1 goal, but mail workers here said it’s not going to happen on time and hope it doesn’t happen at all.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because they’re unauthorized to talk to the media, the workers said they’ve seen no changes toward the consolidation and therefore doubt it’ll occur by Saturday.
But USPS spokeswoman Beth Barnett said the consolidation doesn’t require much visible change, just some computer reprogramming directing mail to a new location.
Barnett, though, couldn’t confirm or deny local reports because agency officials in charge of the consolidation weren’t in the office this week.
Outgoing mail from this area is processed in Tupelo at the Thomas Street branch. Workers there sort, categorize, stamp and ship letters and packages originating from communities whose ZIP codes begin with 388.
As part of the consolidation, those functions will occur in Memphis.
The move was announced by the USPS earlier this year and was heavily criticized by postal workers, as well as local and regional politicians. But the government agency said consolidations like the ones planned for Tupelo and elsewhere in the nation are necessary to save money.
When it’s complete, it will strip six jobs from the local economy and eliminate the Tupelo postmark for most mailings.
But it will save an estimated $181,000 annually for the cash-strapped USPS.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.