Schenectady County

Postal service to add 120 jobs at regional processing center

U.S. Postal Service consolidation in other areas of the state will mean more than 100 jobs coming to

U.S. Postal Service consolidation in other areas of the state will mean more than 100 jobs coming to Colonie in the near future.

Spokeswoman Maureen Marion said the closure of processing facilities in Newburgh and Plattsburgh will move about 120 jobs to the Postal Service facility located on Karner Road, which already employs 575 people. The 350,000-square-foot processing center will then be tasked with sorting an additional 67 million pieces of first class mail — the largest revenue earner for the Postal Service — each year.

“They are positions that will accompany the workload,” she said Tuesday. “There definitely will be an increased workload.”

The plant processed 84.5 million pieces of first class mail in 2011. Marion said this may sound like a lot, but it is still a pronounced decline from the prior year, when more than 90 million pieces of mail passed through the facility.

“The use of that type of mail has fallen off dramatically in a short period of time and there’s no expectation that it will go back,” she said.

The change comes just two months after the Postal Service outlined an estimated $3 billion in reductions that would close roughly 252 of the 461 mail processing centers across the country, starting in March. The consolidations will typically lengthen the distance mail travels from post office to processing center, meaning senders could no longer expect next-day delivery in surrounding communities.

The agency is trying to plug a massive deficit stemming from an increasing number of people conducting business over the Internet. The weak economy has also caused a sharp drop in the number of advertising mailers carried by the Postal Service, which lost about $3.3 billion last quarter.

Marion said advertising mail has stabilized with the improving economy. Likewise, the agency’s package service has seen increased vitality lately, as a result of an uptick in online shopping. “But it doesn’t offset the loss of revenue from the first class mail,” she said.

In total, the Postal Service is trying to cut $20 billion of operating costs by 2015. Marion said the consolidation is part of the effort to trim the deficit, including legislative efforts to reduce burdens on the Postal Service and a reduction in the number of retail outlets around the country.

“There remains considerable and important changes to the way America uses its mail service,” she said.

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