Fort Scott post office makes changes to mail sorting system

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Changes are coming to the Fort Scott post office. Changes in mail trends are causing the United States Postal Service to make some changes.

Monday night marked the first night that the Fort Scott Post Office sent the majority of outgoing mail to Kansas City, Mo., for sorting rather than doing the sorting in Fort Scott. This change is caused by two factors, the first being a significant decrease in First Class Mail workload and the second being use of the Intelligent Mail Bar Coding.

Intelligent Mail Bar Coding is the newest way for mail to be sorted and distributed in the most efficient manner. This system will replace all of the bar-codes on the mail with one single bar code.

There should not be a change in the amount of time it takes for mail to be delivered to its destination.

"This change should be completely transparent to our customers," said Robert Vacca, Postmaster at Fort Scott Post Office.

This transition has been discussed for many years according to Vacca, it is part of a service improving initiative as well as a cost cutting initiative. Because this transition is in the beginning stages, it is unknown how the individuals on the morning/evening shift at the Fort Scott Post Office will be effective.

"There is nobody that going to be out of a job," said Vacca.

There is one individual who was a Casual Employee, or temporary employee, who was released. Casual Employees are not protected by the Labor Agreement that the United States Postal Service has with the various unions within it. This agreement states that the United States Postal Service cannot lay-off employees.

This agreement provides steps that are to be taken in such an instance occurs. Those employees who's jobs may be eliminated will be moved to another opportunity within the Fort Scott Post Office or will be given a job at a different post office within a 50 mile radius. Some of the employees in the afternoon/evening shift made the decision to accept early retirement before the changes were announced. Others have been offered early retirement and were given to the end of September to make their decision.

According to the Labor Agreement, the employees will be given a 60 day formal notice that their jobs will be changing, the employees of the afternoon/evening shift have not yet been given this notice due to the early stage of the transition.

"We will just let it play out," said Vacca.