The United States Postal Service will be moving its outgoing mail services from the Johnson City area to Knoxville this summer, a USPS official said Monday.
Postal Service spokeswoman Susan Wright said the tentative target date for the processing facility switch will be in June or July.
Wright said only the outgoing, or originating, mail service for those with ZIP codes beginning with 376 or 242, which cover areas in Tennessee and Virginia, will be affected.
“That would be mail that normally comes into Johnson City for cancellation to be processed to be sent out to the rest of the world. Only that one function is moving to Knoxville,” she said.
Outgoing mail that is delivered within the 376 and 242 ZIP codes will be returned the following day, according to Wright.
“The reason we can do that is because it does not affect the delivery standard for that mail,” she said.
With the outgoing mail service heading to Knoxville, Wright said she anticipated seven local positions will be lost as part of the relocation of services.
“We do all that we can to help those employees find other positions within the Postal Service within the area,” she said.
The move is part of the Postal Service’s consolidation plan, which is based on a study of 215 USPS mail processing centers nationwide. The study was initiated in response to a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume that has occurred since 2006, and a corresponding decline in revenues generated by the sale of postage and other postal service products and services.
Due to the declining mail volume, Wright said the outgoing mail service is an operation that can “easily be absorbed” into Knoxville’s processing services.
“We’re studying all of our operations and trying to streamline them as best we can. We’re just facing a lot of difficult decisions and this is one area in which we have some flexibility to streamline operations as is necessary right now for the Postal Service,” she said.