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Again USPS changes consolidation plan of processing centers

07.15.14

JULY 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Again USPS changes consolidation plan of processing centers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 3rd- The United States Postal Service (USPS) yet again announced it had changed its mind and will move the processing of mail from the Scranton facility to the Lehigh Valley in January 2015.

The USPS announced in 2012 it would consolidate 48 mail processing centers throughout the nation including their operations in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year.

The USPS first announced 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. However, in November 2013 the agency suspended closing any more mail processing centers that were previously slated for closure or merging across the nation, including the Scranton facility. The reason for the cutbacks is because of declining mail volume.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) represents the majority of the workers that have been and will be affected by the closure/merger. The union represents the USPS workers that process the mail.

The Scranton APWU workers are represented by Local 101. The President of Local 101 is Kevin Gallagher. Approximately 175 full-time jobs at the Scranton facility will be moved to the Lehigh Valley. Meaning, the workers will need to relocate or travel to Bethlehem to continue to work for the USPS.

After the USPS announced it had suspended the closure/merging of processing centers it was believed by Local 101 members their jobs at the Scranton facility was safe for at least two years. However, the USPS recent announcement came only less than eight months after the agency stated it was suspending the moving of the Scranton operations to the Lehigh Valley. Local 268 represents the APWU members in the Lehigh Valley.

Out-going mail is already being processed in the Lehigh Valley and then brought back to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region for delivery to mail customers.

With the USPS announcement all mail, out-going and in-coming, will be rerouted from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the Lehigh Valley. Should a customer of the USPS mail a letter in Wilkes-Barre to be delivered in Scranton, it must be sent to the Lehigh Valley for processing before being rerouted back to the region for delivery.