UPDATE: Chattanooga postal center to close; taking up to 110 jobs
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - More than 100 jobs are on the line after the United States Postal Service announced Thursday it will close Chattanooga's distribution center, shifting operations to Nashville and Atlanta.
Nearly 250 employees are waiting to learn their fate, following the postal service's announcement.
"It was really sad," Renee Young says. "We had hoped above hopes that we'd get to keep this one open."
Renee's husband has worked at the postal service for 26 years. She hopes he won't be one of the 110 out of a job.
"What do you do at this stage of life," she says. "He wants to ride it out as long as he can, but where do you get another career?"
The U.S. Postal Service has been losing money for years.
"We have to think about our future," David Walton with USPS tells Channel 3. "We have to keep mail affordable and we have to return our organization to financial stability."
That means closing three centers in Tennessee, 252 nationwide.
"It's going to, looks like, make our mail a lot slower getting around," customer, Rothell Forgy says.
"Especially when you have bills that need to be out at a certain time," customer, Charlotte Black says. "I just hope they get there."
That's a valid concern for most.
Now when you mail a letter here in town it could take as many as three days to reach its destination.
But the closures are expected to save $2 million annually.
Still, employees aren't convinced.
"They still have to pay the employee to be somewhere," American Postal Workers Union member, RJ Hoffman says. "They have to pay relocation expenses and housing for a short time after they move and all that, so there's not actually any real savings."
The postal service is asking Congress to ease mandates and allow a 5-day delivery, instead of six, to avoid future cuts.
RJ Hoffman, a long-time employee and member of the American Postal Workers Union, is hoping lawmakers can help save his job.
"Contact their congressmen, senators, contact us here, the American Postal Workers Union," he says. "Between all us, maybe we can reverse it."
In December, the postal service announced a moratorium on the closure of post offices and mail processing facilities in response to a request from 22 senators.
The idea was to give lawmakers time to adopt legislation to address the service's financial crisis.
The delay lasts until May 15, which is when the Chattanooga center will likely close.
Next on the chopping block are 3,700 post offices across the country, including three in Chattanooga.