US Postal Service To Downsize Cheyenne Mail Center Against Objections

The Postal Service on Thursday announced that Cheyenne’s mail processing will move to Denver -- even for letters sent from one Cheyenne address to another. That’s going to mean letters take longer — but they say it will still be “on time.”

Renée Jean

March 29, 20247 min read

Customers line up in the U.S. Post Office on Converse Avenue in Cheyenne.
Customers line up in the U.S. Post Office on Converse Avenue in Cheyenne. (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

A number of Wyomingites have spoken out against the U.S. Postal Service’s plans to downsize mail processing facilities in Cheyenne and Casper to what’s known as Local Processing Centers.

The plan to sort all of Cheyenne’s mail in Denver is going forward, however, according to a press release sent out by the USPS on Thursday.

A decision is still pending for Casper’s facility. If it’s downsized, then, similar to Cheyenne, it would no longer be its own distribution center, and its mail processing would move to Billings, Montana. That would leave the Cowboy State without any major mail processing and distribution facilities.

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis said the decision is frustrating, especially after Wyoming residents shared their concerns about the negative effect on the Cowboy State.

“When USPS closed the Rock Spring sorting facility, I experienced delays and interruptions due to mail being processed out of state,” she said. “I will continue fighting to stop USPS from converting the Casper Processing and Distribution Center. Wyoming mail needs to be sorted in Wyoming.”

Branch president of the Cheyenne mail handling unit, Ricci Roberts, told Cowboy State Daily that she is not giving up either.

“We are still fighting this,” she said. “We are not giving up. This is happening nationwide, and it is going to affect the election.”

Will Take Longer

Roberts said the change will also mean delays for political mail and for ballots sent through the mail.

“Mail ballots will be going to another state entirely, even for elections,” she said.

That’s a concern Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray has raised as well.

To him, it’s a matter of election integrity. In December, he wrote a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy demanding that Wyoming ballots sent in the mail be isolated for local processing.

“I believe Wyoming deserves written assurance from the Postal Service that Wyoming ballots will continue to be isolated and processed in Wyoming, rather than shipped to Denver for Processing,” he wrote in the letter.

USPS spokesman James Boxrud told Cowboy State Daily in an email that “as in years past,” the Postal Service would employ “extraordinary measures for election mail.”

“The details of those measures will be outlined closer to election,” Boxrud said. “It is important to note that both the secretary of state and USPS recommend that if you haven’t mailed your ballot within seven days of the election, you should use a ballot drop box.”

Delivering For America

The changes proposed for both Cheyenne and Casper are part of a larger, $40 billion effort nationwide that will consolidate postal processing, transportation and delivery networks to “modernize” mail operations and reach 95% on-time delivery for all mail products, the USPS claims.

On-time delivery for first-class mail is two days, even if it’s a letter sent from one Cheyenne address to another, Boxrud explained to Cowboy State Daily in an email.

“While this mail would travel first to Denver to be processed before returning to the Cheyenne LPC (local processing center), it is important to know that local mail has a two-day service standard, and this mail would continue to be processed and delivered in two days,” Boxrud said.

But, while Cheyenne has still had its own processing and distribution center, most of the mail sent from one local address to another has been getting what is essentially next-day service.

So, while the mail will still be “on time,” according to Boxrud’s explanation of postal standards, it will still arrive more slowly than it once did.

It will also have to contend with road conditions during winter, which do not always allow unfettered travel on interstates between Wyoming and Colorado, or between Casper and Billings.

“All incoming mail volume — i.e checks, medications, packages, etc. — will not change with this process,” Boxrud added in the email. “Local mail, meaning mail originating in the Cheyenne area that is also destined to that region (mail addressed to the same local area), will not be delayed under this plan.”

Local postmarks will continue to be available at retail locations, Boxrud told Cowboy State Daily.

However, the question Cowboy State Daily asked was whether people would have to specifically request a local postmark once mail begins to be processed in Denver.

Cost-Saving Maneuver?

The changes that have been proposed for Cheyenne have not been marketed as a cost-saving move. In fact, no mention is made of any cost savings in the press release sent to Cowboy State Daily.

However, the changes do result in some cost savings, according to the final mail processing review documents that the Postal Service has posted online for Cheyenne’s processing and distribution center.

According to the document, the changes will save $120,000 to $160,000 in work hours at the Cheyenne facility, and all save between $2.2 million and $2.9 million in transportation costs. Maintenance savings are between $150,000 to $200,000, for a total cost-saving between $2.5 million and $3.3 million.

“The announcement comes following a thorough business review and solicitation of public feedback on the facility’s future,” the U.S. Postal Service’s press release said. “In addition to determining the facility sill remain open and (be) modernized as a local processing center, the business case supports transferring mail processing outgoing operations to the Denver processing and distribution center in Denver, CO. Currently a majority of mail and packages are destined outside the Cheyenne area, to the rest of the world.”

The press release goes on to state that improvements will be made to the Cheyenne facility in the amount of $3.5 million. That figure includes deferred maintenance, as well as “modernization” that will lead to “streamlined package processing and distribution capabilities in the local market,” as well as new amenities for employees at the facility. The new amenities include better lighting and renovated bathrooms and break rooms.

Rural Areas Will Be Hit Hardest

Customers are not expected to notice anything different according to the press release, and the agency claims delivery services will be “enhanced.”

Customers will be able to mail and ship packages, manual letters and flats. Express services will be offered, and both bulk and permit mail will still be accepted.

However, Postal Service employees have said during public meetings that the delivery of mail in Wyoming communities is going to take longer than it does now, particularly for rural areas, if the changes go through.

“It’s important for Wyoming residents to understand that it will take longer to receive their mail,” Wyoming State Representative for NPMHU Local 321 has told Cowboy State Daily in an email, adding that contrary to what’s being portrayed as delivery not changing or changing minimally, the end result will not actually improve service.

“This is bad news for our (Cheyenne) facility,” he said. “And it is bad for the entire state.”

Jacknitsky and Roberts have also disputed Postal Service claims that the moves won’t result in a loss of jobs, calling it deceptive wording.

Roberts told Cowboy State Daily in December that she’s been following along with changes at a facility in Utah that mirror changes at the Cheyenne facility.

There, the estimated loss of so-called “craft” employees was estimated to be eight, Roberts said. But the actual number of people whose jobs were affected was 51.

“What they did there is they excessed, or got rid of, 51 people,” Roberts said. “So, they were able to relocate 43 of them. The 51 minus 43 is eight. So that’s where they came up with that number.”

In Cheyenne, the estimated loss in “craft” employees is listed as four in the final mail facility review document.

Roberts believes the terminology shields a similar dynamic in Cheyenne.

Renée Jean can be reached at

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Renée Jean

Business and Tourism Reporter