Duluth postal processing facility faces closure

By KBJR News 1

July 3, 2014 Updated Jul 3, 2014 at 6:34 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Duluth's U.S. Postal Service processing center could be on the chopping block again.

The center survived a threat of closure just a few years ago during a round of postal service budget cutting that threatened up to 60 Northland jobs.

The United States postal service is proposing to consolidate 82 mail distribution facilities across the nation, including four in Minnesota.
Distribution centers in the state include those in Bemigi, St. Cloud, Mankato and Duluth.

"We thought we were off the list, now we are back on the list. The employees are very, very, very upset," said Todd Fawcett, President of the Duluth American Postal Workers Union.

Duluth's center survived a threat of closure just a few years ago during a round of postal service budget cuts that threatened up to 60 Northland jobs. Now, about 70 jobs are at risk.

"They just hired a bunch of people for supervisors, now they are going to be hiring clerks as well, and then they could be laid off within six months to a year. It makes no sense," said Fawcett.

The US Postal Service says over the last three years they have lost more than $26 billion, which is why they are choosing to consolidate distribution facilities.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Postal Service said, "In January of 2015 consolidations are expected to begin and will be completed in the fall of 2015."

Minnesota lawmakers say they will continue to fight against this decision.

"We have been successful in doing that in the past by passing bills, delaying things and writing letters and we will just keep it up," said Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Senator Al Franken is also working to delay the closures and wrote a letter to the Postal Service saying the closures will hurt the communities that house these distribution facilities and the greater area they currently serve.

Fawcett says if these consolidations happen, mail delivery could be delayed for three days or more.

"It's going to be going down to St. Paul Minnesota, trucked down there, and then it's going to be coming back after it's processed. Now if you take a look at this last winter, you think it's going to be three days or less? If you are on the Iron Range or the Northshore, it's going to take longer."

The U.S. Postal Service says more details of the impacted facilities will be available in the coming weeks.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com