DUNCANSVILLE - Some Altoona-area mail will head to Johnstown beginning Monday, a United States Postal Service employee said Thursday.
Mail originating from the Altoona area will go to Johnstown, but this isn't its first move, USPS Spokesman Tad Kelley said. Saturday mail from the area has been going to Pittsburgh since the middle of last year.
Kelley said the reason for the move is to "maximize the efficiency of the machinery" the postal service already has in place.
Allied-labor work, which can include the loading and unloading of trucks, and the receiving of commercial mail, is still being done in Altoona, he said.
American Postal Workers Union Local 776 President Beth Mellott could not be reached for comment.
With the mail getting forwarded and sorted in Johnstown, residents should still not see any difference in how long it takes their mail to get delivered, Kelley said.
Although not a reality yet, relaxing overnight standards, which the postal service is proposing as a possible cost savings measure, should not affect mail sent from one Altoona address to another, but it could change how long it takes mail to get delivered out of state, he said.
The changes are in reaction to the "financial struggle" of the United State Postal Service, he said.
The postal service reported a loss of $57 million per day in the last quarter alone this week.
"These are some of the cost measures we have to take to keep universal service and to keep our rates low," Kelley said. "Every bit of infrastructure is being looked at to meet the new reality of mail usage."
Congress has mandated the USPS since 2006 to pre-pay its retiree funds, but it could not make the $5 million payment last year or this year, Kelley said. Mail volume is also decreasing.
In June, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., asked the USPS Office of the Inspector General to continue auditing the postal service's decision to consolidate processing centers such as in Altoona, Greensburg and New Castle, a news release said.
In July, the senator received a letter from Mark W. Duda, the assistant inspector general for audit, which was provided to the Mirror by Casey spokesman, Ian Jannetta, stating their "review confirmed that a reasonable business case existed" and they "saw no issues that should cause the Postal Service not to pursue the efficiencies offered by the AMPs."
"Senator Casey will continue to look at all possible options to maintain as many jobs as possible at the Altoona facility, as well as maintain reliable mail service for the Pennsylvania residents and businesses that depend on it," Jannetta said.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.