Postal Service to cease operations at Petaluma processing facility

  • Chet Sennette, left, helps Paul Gawronski with mailing his parcel at the U.S. Post Office, on North McDowell Boulevard, in Petaluma on Thursday, May 17, 2012. The retail lobby of the post office will remain operational, while the North Bay Processing and Distribution Center, in the same building, will likely close within a few years.

The U.S. Postal Service is moving ahead with plans to shut down operations at its Petaluma processing facility, a cost-saving move that union officials and two North Bay congressmen are criticizing, citing impacts they say it could have on local postal workers and customers.

The Postal Service expects to cease operations early next year at the mail processing plant on North McDowell Boulevard and move them to another facility, likely in San Francisco, U.S. Postal Service spokesman James Wigdel said.

The move, which stands to affect more than 160 employees, is part of a second wave of consolidations nationwide aimed at trimming a total of about $1.6 billion from the federal agency's budget by next fall, Wigdel said.

Initially, the North McDowell facility was slated to close this year. But the Postal Service held off on closures after it consolidated 141 mail processing centers nationwide between 2012 and 2013. Wigdel said the agency wanted to closely monitor service changes before moving ahead with the second phase of consolidations, which includes about 80 more plants around the country.

Wigdel said there hasn't been much change in delivery times since the first consolidations. The average for First-Class mail remains at about 2 days, he said.

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