The Northwest Arkansas Processing and Distribution Center of the U.S. Postal Service would lose an estimated 12 staff and one management position under a proposal to move some operations to Oklahoma City, the service said in a statement Wednesday.
The Postal Service will host a public meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Fayetteville Public Library on whether to move some sorting operations from the center in Fayetteville to the center in Oklahoma City. The public may also submit written comments on the proposal at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/mpfr-northwest-arkansas through Dec. 21.
The Fayetteville center will remain open.
"There will be no career employee layoffs as part of this initiative," the statement said. "The numbers presented here reflect data available as of October 6, 2023, and are subject to change until the completion of the facility review.
"Due to the transfer of some operations, an estimated net decrease of 12 craft and 1 management positions are projected once the initiative is completed. All bargaining employee reassignments will be made in accordance with the respective collective bargaining agreements."
Ike Mills, president of Northwest Arkansas Area Local 667 of the American Postal Workers Union, questioned how moving any of the Fayetteville center's sorting operations at least 221 miles away will save the Postal Service any money. Third District Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, also doubted savings were possible in a letter to the Postal Service's district manager on Tuesday.
Yet Wednesday's statement by the Postal Service says the move will save at least $2.5 million a year once the change is completed, including at least $1.6 million in saved transportation costs.
The Fayetteville processing center employs more than 90 clerks, about 50 mail handlers, 30 or more maintenance workers, and 10 or so supervisors, Mills said.
Wednesday's statement also said local mail service will not change and delivery times of mail will not be affected.