Here we go again. The United States Postal Service is telling its employees in the Bemidji office that a bunch of them will be displaced, the preferred word is excessed, sometime after January 2015.
The latest proposal is a regurgitation of the previous so called studies that have determined that the public and the Postal Service would be better off trucking the local Bemidji mail to
Minneapolis for processing and then trucking it back to Bemidji for delivery the next day.
Most people were skeptical of the idea, doubtful that anyone could run a truck full of mail down
to the Cities, shuffle it, sort it and get it back to Bemidji in time to deliver it the next day. They
tried sending the mail to Duluth, St.Cloud and Minneapolis with no favorable results on the
tests. Fargo was thrown into the discussion, too.
Meanwhile, the Postal Service built a huge mail processing facility in Eagan, Minn. The delivery issue was studied, an idea was proposed, that if they changed the delivery standard by eliminating the overnight obligation (a legal way to delay the mail) then the mail could be trucked and sorted without failing the standard, and if they did it on the quiet, nobody would notice. Almost.
In the Federal Register that was published Aug. 1, the Postal Service proposes changing the overnight service standard to a two-day service standard, effective after Jan. 5, 2015 for first class mail. The current two- to four-day standard for periodicals, including this newspaper, after Jan. 5, 2015 will be a three- to four-day standard.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has requested these changes with Congress in recess and the Postal Board of Governors lacking a quorum in their body.
Check with your friends in Rochester, Minn. The mail processing stopped a year ago in
Rochester; no local cancellations and lots of delayed mail is the new standard. Here's a special twist just to let you know how valued you are; no public hearing is required or even considered for the new change in your public Postal Service. It's universal and it's happening all over the country.
Without a public hearing your best option to opine would be to write or phone your congressman or senators. But don't wait till your mail is on ice in a parking lot in Eagan in January of 2015.
Walinski is a member of Bemidji Local 109 of the American Postal Workers Union.