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USPS Changes Could Delay Mail Further: "Maybe Next Week You'll Get Your Letter"

Workers say the new system could add "two to three days" to delivery times.

Despite all of the technological advancements that have made life easier, we still rely on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to send and receive our physical mail. Unfortunately, the essential service has struggled lately amid budget problems and logistical constraints that have sometimes made it hard to get letters and packages as quickly as we'd like. Officials have worked to try to streamline the agency and make it more efficient. But now, some warn that upcoming changes could further delay mail for customers in some areas. Read on to see what's planned and why it could take longer to get your letters.

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The USPS recently announced changes to mail processing for parts of the U.S.

Letters on a sorting frame, table and shelves in a mail delivery sorting center

The USPS has made some controversial changes to its operations in recent months in an attempt to streamline service and optimize efficiency. But one of its latest proposals is now raising concern among some employees.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) says that the mail agency is reshuffling its processing capacity in Oklahoma and Arkansas, local Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR reports. Specifically, the plans call for the closing of processing facilities in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and folding them into the current Oklahoma City facility.

The move comes just over a month after USPS officials gave an unclear answer about whether or not the Fayetteville processing facility would close, local CBS affiliate KFSM reported at the time.

RELATED: USPS Warns Carriers "Cannot Deliver Your Mail" Unless You Make These Changes.

The closings will likely cause significant delays in mail delivery for some customers.

USPS worker emptying the mailbox on a Manhattan street

According to KFOR, customers in Oklahoma with zip codes beginning with 73 already send their mail through the Oklahoma City processing facility. Those beginning with 74 flow through the soon-to-close Tulsa facility, while the mail of Arkansas residents in zip codes starting with 725 and 727 are processed in Fayetteville. Workers say funneling the mail into the same Oklahoma City processing facility will have some significant drawbacks.

"It's going to delay their mail," Julia Weare, president of the APWU's Tulsa chapter, told KFOR. "Used to be, you could mail a letter across town, and it would get there the next day, maybe drop it in the mail, would be there the next day. But now it's like maybe next week you'll get your letter."

She went on to explain that this change would slow down mail meant to move locally, as it would have to make the longer trip to get processed and postmarked. In most cases, it will take as much as two to three more days overall.

"Anything you drop off at the post office is automatically going to be postmarked a day later than when you dropped it off," Weare warned. "That makes a difference when it comes to voting ballots, taxes—you know, when you're paying your bills."

RELATED: USPS Employee Explains Massive Mail Delays: "It's a Whole Mess."

The new system could cause severe snags in the case of any outages.

San Francisco postal worker in mask delivering mail during stay-at-home order.

The pending changes won't only create problems for everyday mail processing. Weare explained that Oklahoma City now relies on Tulsa in the case of any major outages or disruptions but would no longer be able to rely on the station after the closures.

She warned that this could lead to major delays whenever disruptions develop.

"Now, if Oklahoma City has an outage…they have to send their mail to Houston, Texas," Weare told KFOR. "So, that's a that's a big deal, considering your mail is going to go even more than hundreds of miles, that it doesn't need to go when it can continue to stay local and be worked the same day that you drop it off."

Workers are pushing back against the closures—but there are limited options.

A young person looking into a white mailbox

For now, Weare says workers' warnings about increased mail delays are going unheeded from officials.

"We have voiced our [concerns,] we've asked every month, we've asked the plan, you know, what changes are coming. And they keep saying nothing," she told KFOR.

The USPS plans to hold a public meeting to address the pending changes. But Weare also says it's unlikely many will be able to attend because the meeting is scheduled for the middle of the afternoon.

"The post office doesn't even close until five at night. So yeah, carriers can't make it," Weare told KFOR. "Handlers, everybody that works at the plant, you know. So they should have made this meeting in the evening. If they truly wanted the public's input, it should have been after everybody got off work at five."

Best Life has reached out to USPS for comment on the changes and will update this article with its reply.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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