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Moving processing center operations to region postponed

11.17.12

NOVEMBER 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Moving processing center operations to region postponed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, November 2nd- The United States Postal Service (USPS) has postponed moving the operations of the Scranton processing center to the Lehigh Valley 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.

Meanwhile, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) Local Branch 308 in Scranton, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the United States Postal Service (USPS) violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct). The Union believes the USPS is acting improperly by moving the mail processing center operations from Stafford Avenue in Scranton to a facility in the Lehigh Valley.

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed on behalf of the NPMHU Local Branch 308 by Robert Glycenfer, Scranton Local Branch 308 President.

The jobs most effected by the Scranton mail processing center operations being moved to the Lehigh Valley are members of APWU Local 101 and Local Branch 308. Local 268 repressents APWU members at the Lehigh Valley processing center.

APWU Local 268 President Bernie Ogozalek previously told the newspaper he disagrees with the USPS decision to close the Scranton facility. Mr. Ogozalek stated the APWU does not want any mail processing centers closed.

According to the ULP, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing petitions and ULP’s filed at the NLRB office, NPMHU Local Branch 308 alleges the USPS will not supply information pertaining to the study that was used to justify the removel and consolidation of the mail processing center to the Lehigh Valley.

The NPMHU Local 308 represents workers both at the Scranton and the Lehigh Valley processing centers.

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