As long as the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, sometimes known as the Prince of Pork, ruled the Senate Finance Committee, the 11 mail-processing centers in his home state were safe. Though West Virginia had more such centers per capita than nearly any other state, the Postal Service’s efforts to consolidate its processing network somehow bypassed the Mountain State.
But all that has changed in the past five months, during which the Postal Service’s AMPS (Area Mail Processing Studies) program has hit the Mountain State with full force.
With Byrd on his deathbed, the Postal Service announced AMPS in June to consider shifting work from the Huntington and Beckley facilities to Charleston, WV. Just four days after Byrd died on June 28, USPS moved the processing of mail originating in ZIP codes beginning with 260 from Wheeling to Pittsburgh.
And last month, USPS announced another possible out-of-state shift – of mail processing from the Martinsburg Customer Service Mail Processing Center to the Suburban Maryland Processing and Distribution Center near Washington, DC.
Most, but not all, AMPS result in some form of consolidation – and, for some employees, a transfer on relatively short notice to another processing facility 100 or more miles away. The good news for Huntington workers is that Charleston is “only” 54 miles away; the bad news is that such proximity makes Huntington ripe for consolidation.
Because West Virginia’s mail is divided up among so many “Byrd droppings” – mail-processing facilities that each serve an unusually small number of customers -- mailers rarely dropship into the state. (USPS: Clean Up the Byrd Droppings! explores this in more depth.)
Consolidating more of the state’s handling of destinating mail into the Charleston P&DC could make it a more viable dropship location. That would save mailers and the Postal Service money and bring Charleston some work now performed by such out-of-state network distribution centers as Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
- USPS Steps Up Mail-Processing Consolidation: USPS accelerated the number of AMPS last year to as part of a renewed effort to reduce the number of facilities.
- USPS: Clean Up the Byrd Droppings! Many states with far more people and land area than West Virginia nevertheless have fewer mail-processing facilities. West Virginia's excess hurts both USPS and its customers.
- USPS Has Too Many Supervisors And Too Many Employees, Congressman Says: The next chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee will apparently try to do more with his new-found power over the Postal Service than just bring home the pork.