Cheyenne's outgoing mail will be sorted in Denver as USPS 'modernizes' postal network

Mar. 28—CHEYENNE — All of Cheyenne's outgoing mail will be sorted in Denver in the future amid sweeping, nationwide changes in the United States Postal Service.

While USPS says this change will result in no layoffs and will save taxpayers money, it does nothing to alleviate some concerns community members and postal workers raised at a forum on the subject in December.

USPS announced the decision Thursday morning, several months after spokespeople for the agency held a public forum to get feedback about possible changes. The Cheyenne Processing and Distribution Center will be converted to a "local processing center" in an effort to "modernize" the USPS, according to a news release.

"Currently, that southeast corner of Wyoming's mail is processed in Cheyenne and then sent back out," James Boxrud, a strategic communication officer with USPS, told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle Thursday morning. "So, what's going to happen now is, all the mail is going to be sent to Denver."

No timeframe for the change — which is "under review" — has been announced, Boxrud said.


He estimated that 10% of Cheyenne's originating mail, or mail that enters the USPS system in the Cheyenne area, has a final destination in the same area. For that reason, sorting would be more efficient for the entire postal network if Cheyenne mail was sent to Denver first, Boxrud said.

While that might mean a slightly longer wait time to get local mail, he added, the USPS will still meet its goal of 95% on-time delivery.

"So, our standard right now is two days for first-class mail, even if it's Cheyenne-to-Cheyenne," he said. "Right now, Cheyenne's probably getting next-day service. So, it'll end up being probably a two-day turnaround for that local mail.

"That's going to be what customers may perceive as, 'Hey, they're slowing down my mail.' (But) we're still making our standards by implementing things like this across the nation. We're improving our transportation network, so the mail moves across the country a lot quicker."

The majority of the people at the December event, which included several USPS workers from both Cheyenne and Denver, were opposed to moving mail processing to Denver, which they said could drastically impact timely mail delivery for rural Wyoming residents.

At the December meeting, along with expressing concerns about potential job losses, one of the major concerns critics had was about the prospect of sending packages and "originating" mail to Denver for sorting.

In Thursday's news release, USPS said that the changes to the facility would "improve mail and package flow through the region."

"In addition to determining the facility will remain open and modernized as a Local Processing Center, the business case supports transferring mail processing outgoing operations to the Denver (processing and distribution center)," the news release read. "Currently, a majority of mail and packages are destined outside the Cheyenne area to the rest of the world."


The release also said there would be "no career employee layoffs."

"All career bargaining unit reassignments, as well as any reduction in any number of pre-career employees, will be made in accordance with respective collective bargaining agreements," the release continued. "As part of its strategy, the Postal Service is enhancing package processing and shipping capacity, which may result in increased plant activity and the need for additional support in the future."

Boxrud elaborated on that, saying that no jobs would change until 2025. He was unable to comment on how many jobs would be shifted once the facility changes.

"There are multiple opportunities for employees," he said Thursday. "One of the great things about working for a large organization like the Postal Service is that if I decide, 'Hey, you know what, my family's in Florida and I want to move to Florida,' and I can find a job that's open there, I can do a voluntary reassignment."

He added that Cheyenne employees will have priority consideration for reassignment when the changes solidify.

At the December meeting, workers at Cheyenne and Denver mail facilities questioned the proposition of drastic changes with no layoffs.

"When they're talking about no layoffs, you've heard them say that many times," said Ricci Robert, branch president for the National Postal Mail Handlers Union in Cheyenne. "... What they call (it) is 'excessing.' And, when employees 'excess,' they have the opportunity to either drive two hours to Denver or quit their job. Now, when my employees work 12 hours a day, and you add another four hours onto their time, they will be losing their jobs."

Boxrud assured the audience in December that reassignments could take people to plenty of other jobs in Cheyenne, and that those who were "excessed" would not necessarily be forced to move to Denver for work.

Initially, a report made prior to the December meeting said four employees would be "reassigned," a number USPS officials later modified to seven. There was no mention of any career reassignments in the Thursday news release.

The USPS also announced that, once the conversion is implemented, "business mail entry, post office, station, and branch retail services are not expected to change."

"After the Cheyenne facility is converted to an LPC (local processing center), it is anticipated that it will be able to mail and ship packages, manual letters and flats. The LPC is also anticipated to offer express services and accept bulk and permit mail," according to the release.

What it means

The changes come as a part of the USPS's 10-year "Delivering for America plan to modernize the nation's aging postal network." The project, nationally, is reportedly a $40 billion project, and the changes to the Cheyenne facility will be a $3.5 million investment, the release said.

Overall, Boxrud told the WTE why the USPS was implementing changes like the one in Cheyenne across the country and what it means for the taxpayer.

"It's required by law for us to deliver six days (a week) across the nation, which is great," he said. "We want to continue that, but sometimes people don't realize that we're also required by law to break even; we're not supposed to run in a deficit. Tax dollars, generally, don't pay for the post office. It's the sale of our products and services. So it's a requirement, by law, for us to be self-sufficient.

"The last thing we want to do is become a burden on the taxpayers. So, you know, a part of these changes is to go ahead and make us financially stable. So we don't ever have to turn around and end up asking the American people, or Congress, for money to operate."

Most of the cost-cutting would come from streamlining logistics, like transportation, and decommissioning some sorting equipment in Cheyenne, he added.

Secretary's concerns

Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray was present at the December meeting, and expressed his concerns about moving mail sorting to Denver. In public statements made at the time, he raised concerns about what moving mail processing to Denver would do for ballots.

In a statement provided to the WTE on Thursday, he shared some of those same concerns.

"I strongly disagree with the Postal Service's decision to move mail processing operations from Cheyenne to Denver," Gray wrote in an email to the WTE. "As Secretary of State, I strongly oppose this proposal, and submitted a comment in December requesting the Postal Service withdraw it as written. I'm deeply concerned that processing Wyoming mail outside the state of Wyoming will delay the delivery of all mail."

Gray, who oversees elections in the state, said the change concerned him, particularly for election "integrity."

"I'm also concerned that this will delay delivery of absentee ballots and otherwise impede the integrity of the upcoming 2024 Election and future elections," his message continued. "I view these repeated and disturbing proposals to move mail processing outside the State of Wyoming as detrimental to Wyoming elections and the people of Wyoming. Wyoming mail should be processed in Wyoming."

It is unclear whether the conversion will be completed before or after this year's elections.

A representative for the Local 321 Colorado/Wyoming Mail Handlers Union did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Samir Knox is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's criminal justice and public safety reporter. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 307-633-3152. Follow him on X at @bySamirKnox.