SACO — Letter carriers in Saco will soon see a return to their regular way of sorting and delivering mail following a settlement of a nationwide dispute on how it is processed and delivered in 62 test locations.

Postal union officials say that is good news for letter carriers, who have been working longer hours, and for customers on designated city routes in Biddeford, Saco and Old Orchad Beach,  who have experienced a change in mail delivery.

“(This) is a relief all around for all the carriers who have been continuously working seven days a week and/or over 60 hours per week,” said Mark Seitz, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Local 92. Seitz said he recently learned the Saco postal facility on Industrial Park Road will be among 31 test sites to revert to the former method ofsorting mail by July 31. “It is also a welcomed relief to have everyone return to the same 7:30 (a.m.) start time instead of 5:30/7:30/8:30 (a.m.) or some combination of times. This should hopefully mean more regularity in schedule for when mail arrives as well.”

A settlement worked out between the National Association of Letter Carriers and the U.S. Postal Service dated June 3 will see the end of a test system called a Consolidated Casing  Initiative in Saco — and in 30 other communities across the country — by the end of next month. The remaining 31 test sites will continue consolidated casing through November.

The Saco facility became one of the sites converted to the CCI in September.

Under the system previously used by the United States Postal Service — and the system to which Saco and the others will return — carriers sort mail for their own routes for about two hours each morning and then deliver for about six hours. Under CCI, postal workers called casers sort the mail for carriers, who deliver it.


The CCI was designed to increase efficiency for postal carriers and in postal buildings. The anticipated reduction of workers performing casing duties was expected to reduce the number of physical cases on the floor, allowing the facilities to reallocate floor space for packages, said Stephen Doherty, a communications specialist with the U.S. Postal Service in the Boston regional office. In a prior interview, he  said the postal service had expected that separating casing (sorting) and delivery would result in efficiencies and reduce costs.

Some postal locations have an automated process called a flats sequencing system for items like newspapers and magazines, which might make the CCI easier, union officials said, but the Saco processing center doesn’t have that system.

NALC members said the anticipated efficiencies didn’t materialize. In a February interview, Seitz and Arthur Bowman, a CCI observer assigned by the NALC, estimated that about 30 city mail carriers on walking routes in the three communities were racking up a total of 50 overtime hours a day, often finishing up around 7:30 p.m. or later.

A task force will begin analyzing data from the test sites in July. The USPS and NALC agreed there would be no further expansion of the case consolidation test.

Seitz said the settlement is  “a huge stress reliever for not just the carriers, but also local management who both have had outside eyes bearing down on them for 9 months straight.”

“We are beyond pleased to go back to normalcy, and our hope is the customers on the street will be as well,” he said.

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