Nearly 200 postal service-related jobs to be cut

Nearly 200 Pitney Bowes employees in Atlanta will lose their jobs, the mail processing and information technology firm announced Monday, apparent victims of U.S. Postal Service consolidation.

Workers for the Stamford, Conn.-based company’s Government Solutions division process mail and containers at the postal service’s Surface Transportation Center on Fulton Industrial Boulevard. The contract for 184 Pitney Bowes workers expires Sept. 8.

“The decision was made by USPS to bring this work back in-house as a cost-cutting effort,” according to a Pitney Bowes statement.

The nation’s long-serving mail carrier, facing a $7-billion budget gap, is in the midst of far-reaching consolidation and cost-cutting maneuvers. Last fall, the postal service was considering the shifting of work from its Hapeville processing center to its North Metro center in Duluth. At the time, more than 1,300 people worked at the South Fulton facility.

"The reality is we have an excess of equipment, staff and facilities to process a declining volume of mail, " John H. McCormack, postmaster for greater Atlanta, wrote in a letter to workers at the time. "Consolidating some postal operations only makes logical business sense given the economic realities."

Michael Miles, a USPS spokesman in Atlanta, said Monday any large-scale consolidation of distribution center operations is on hold, pending a review by the regional office in Memphis. Few, if any, jobs would be lost in that potential consolidation, he added.

And only one Atlanta area post office, located downtown, has been closed so far.

The USPS is considering raising the cost of a postage stamp to 46 cents, up from 44 cents, as well as ending Saturday mail deliveries.