NOVEMBER 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News
USPS jobs to stay in region until at least February 2014
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION, October 18th- The United States Postal Service (USPS) has postponed moving the operations of the Scranton processing center until at least February 2014.
Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, stated he is still hopeful the USPS will yet decide against moving the Northeastern Pennsylvania mail processing operations in 2014.
The USPS announced last year it would consolidate 48 mail processing centers throughout the nation in 2012 including moving their operations from Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year, according to information provided by the USPS.
The elimination of the Scranton facility would impact approximately 200 jobs, mostly members of Local 101. However, the USPS stated it plans no layoffs but the effected workers would need to travel to the Lehigh Valley processing center for employment.
The USPS first stated it would close about 250 processing centers after their plan is fully implemented. Overall, approximately 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. The plan was to consolidate 92 mail processing centers in February 2013, and 89 more in 2014. There are currently around 487 mail processing centers in the United States.
The agency stated the move of consolidation of mail processing centers is intended to be a cost saving plan. The reason for the cutbacks is because of declining mail volume caused by customers no longer using the mail service.
However, the USPS is losing money mainly because of an 2006 law that forces the agency to fund the pensions of workers 75 years into the future. The USPS estimated that the post office department would have made a profit in 2010 and 2011 if not for the provision of the pension issue.
The National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Union and the APWU represent the majority of the USPS workers with a combined membership of nearly 410,000 workers.
Mr. Gallagher stated the agency notified the APWU that 10 motor velicle driver jobs in Lackawanna County would be eliminated and a independent contractor would be hired. The drivers haul mail from the processing center in Scranton to post offices throughout Lackawanna County.
APWU Local 101 requested information regarding the move but the agency has not yet provided the material.