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Scranton USPS processing center still scheduled for closure

01.15.15

JANUARY 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Scranton USPS processing center still scheduled for closure

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- As of press time the United States Postal Service (USPS) was still going ahead with moving the mail processing work currently being done at their facility in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The union that represents the workers that will be mostly effected was hoping the agency would at least delay the action.

Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, which represents the majority of the USPA most effected by the distribution center’s closing, failed to return the newspapers phone message requesting the status of the situation.

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 USPS stated the plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year.

The agency first announced it would close about 250 processing centers after their plan is fully implemented.

The USPS stated around 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. However, no lay-off would occur instead jobs would be “re-bid” under the labor agreements with the USPS and workers is some cases would need to either relocate or travel to other postal service facilities to continue to be employed by the USPS.

Mr. Gallagher, along with other officials of other postal service labor organizations, have been meeting with federal and state elected representatives hoping to get them to recommend to the USPS not to move the processing work to the Lehigh Valley, or at least delay the action.

However, several members of the APWU have been reasigned to other duties including becoming mail delivery carriers. The National Letter Carriers Union (NALC) represents the mail delivery carriers of the USPS. The USPS has scheduled to consolidated their Scranton, Lancaster and Erie facilities around January 14th.

The APWU Local 101 represents the majority of the workers that will be effected by the USPS action at the Scranton processing center.

Because of the job bidding requirement under the collective bargaining agreement’s (CBA’s) with the APWU, the NALC, and the other labor organizations that represent the USPS employees, some of the APWU members will end-up delivering mail or conducting other duties and may need to transfer to other USPS facilities to remain workers of the postal service.

Due to the closing of the Scranton based processing center, although the building will remain open but not process in-coming or out-coming mail, all mail and packages will now be rerounted from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the Lehigh Valley. The USPS closed the Wilkes-Barre processing center around seven year ago moving the work to the Scranton facility.

Under the new system, after a customer mails a letter in the region, it must be sent to the Lehigh Valley for processing before being brought back to the region for delivery.