USPS finalizing relocation of Florence processing center

Published: Apr. 17, 2015 at 8:48 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2015 at 11:38 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - The mail processing and distribution facility at the United States Postal Service office in Florence is now officially leaving, three months after it was originally scheduled to be relocated.

The relocation of the Florence distribution and processing facility was one of about 80 across the country that got delayed from January 15 to April 18 because of political pressure, according to Harry Spratlin, a USPS spokesperson.

Spratlin said all area mail processing consolidations are moving forward now.

Florence was chosen to be part of the nationwide consolidation because USPS says the office had the lowest amount of mail volume of South Carolina's four facilities.

USPS is consolidating in an attempt to save $20 billion by 2017.

Full-time USPS employees still have jobs, Spratlin said. However, union workers are still trying to use politics to get USPS to reinstate the Florence facility.

"It will take more than just a little political pressure," said Isaac Nixon, head of American Postal Workers Union Florence. "It will take our two senators, who right now if they go and call the Postmaster General, who has the power to reverse this and put the Pee Dee mail center back to the level that it should be at."

Nixon said mail is delayed across all 295 zip codes due to the consolidation. USPS did change first-class mail from an overnight to a two-day service back in January, however, some said it's taking up to a week now.

"Especially with time-sensitive mail like from courts and child support and paychecks that people still receive through the mail," he said. "It's important that the community come out and speak up."

Some people said they have to pay extra attention to bills to avoid being charged late fees.

"I'll have to go online and actually get the statement to pay it in a timely fashion and it's already paid before I even get it in the mail," said Angela Adams, who lives in Florence.

Others aren't bothered by the delays.

"Think about it, you're still getting your mail regardless of that and as long as you get your mail on a regular basis, you should be happy," said Annie Carroway, a Florence resident.

It's affecting small businesses in the Pee Dee who are in the bulk mailing and printing business.

"I just had someone mailing first-class pre-sort cards ask me about an event they're having a week from today, should they mail it today or wait until Monday to mail it?" said Shelby Jenerette, the owner of Carolina Mailbox. "I said you better mail it today and hope it gets there in time."

Jenerette said her business and others like it have also lost the sectional center facility discount they received for customers shipping within 295 zip codes through the Florence facility.

"I actually had a competitor in Columbia call me and say since you're losing that classification, now I can come into the Pee Dee and try to take some of your customers," said Steve Powers, the owner of SW Printing Company.

The Florence USPS office is still open for mail drop off and pick up.

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