Duluth mail-processing center, spared last year, is still likely to closeUnion workers at the mail-processing center in Duluth were told Tuesday that the facility could close sometime starting in July or as late as 2014.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
Union workers at the mail-processing center in Duluth were told Tuesday that the facility could close sometime starting in July or as late as 2014.
Peter Nowacki, U.S. Postal Service spokesman in Minnesota, said the employees were told as part of a contractual obligation but that there is no set date or time for closure of the mail-sorting station in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
It’s still not clear when or even if the center will close, or if congressional action could intervene to save the Duluth facility again.
The Duluth processing center and its 100 workers got a reprieve last May, spared in the first round of budget-cutting that closed 140 processing centers nationwide. The closures were made as the Postal Service moves to consolidate operations to help stop its ongoing red ink. In Minnesota, the original plan was to sort all mail in the Twin Cities, and centers in Mankato, St. Cloud and Rochester were closed while Duluth and Bemidji were spared.
Officials have said some of the affected workers could be transferred to other Postal Service jobs or locations, but it’s not clear how many might lose their jobs. Nowacki said the jobs of fewer than 50 employees should be affected.
“Last May we announced that 140 of the planned consolidations would go forward in 2013,” Nowacki told the News Tribune. “Another 89, including Duluth, were (delayed) until at least early 2014 contingent on how our financial condition evolved.’’
Apparently that condition isn’t good.
“We may now move some of those up to later this year,’’ he added.
If the Duluth center closes, it won’t just be employees affected. All mail sent from or to Duluth would then go to the Twin Cities for sorting, which could add a day or more to delivery times.
The Postal Service just last month announced that it would end Saturday mail delivery to save money as the amount of mail decreases.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken apparently intervened to help keep the Duluth center open. But it was clear even last May that Duluth could be on the chopping block in a second round of cuts that could come in 2013 or 2014.