Postal Employees Bash Plan To Move Chattanooga Mail Processing Facility

Study Underway On Moving It To Duluth, Ga.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A host of postal employees argued at a public meeting Wednesday night that a plan to move the Chattanooga mail sorting facility would cost the USPS more than it saves.

Speakers at the hearing at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences said a move to a 2-3-day delivery standard would drive more customers away from using the U.S. mail.

They said proposed savings for staff reductions could not be counted because postal officials said they would try to find another job for the estimated 106 employees and four supervisors affected.

The plan is to move mail sorting from Chattanooga to the Duluth suburb of Atlanta.

Letters mailed in Chattanooga would be trucked to Duluth, and those addressed to Chattanooga homes and businesses would then be driven back here.

One postal employee said, "To get to the North Metro facility you have to practically drive through Atlanta, and everybody knows what that traffic is like."

Another employee said local mail volume was getting a boost from the new Volkswagen and Amazon.com plants.

The president of the local postal workers union said the move would cause bills to arrive late, bringing late fees.

Jim Drummond, postal official from Nashville, said it is still just a study. He said, "Everything is under review. Nothing has been decided."

He noted that articles of mail have dropped by 43 billion in five years. He said another 50 percent drop is expected in the next 10 years.

He said a number of postal sorting facilities have already been closed, and just 460 are left. There are 260 studies underway on further consolidations.

He said the projected savings here would be $2.3 million per year. He said there would be a $618,000 one-time cost dealing with closing out the local facility.

Mr. Drummond said every attempt would be made to find other employment for the affected employees within the postal district.


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