USPS discusses closing Chattanooga processing center
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- As more people go online, instead of to the mail box, the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing hundreds of mail processing operations, including Chattanooga.
The Postal Service held a public meeting to explain the possibility of the closing and answer questions, Wednesday night.
In return, they received much less than an enthusiastic response.
The U.S. Postal Service has been doing a study the past couple of months, to see if closing Chattanooga's mail processing center would be worth while.
Officials wanted to stress, this is just an idea in the works.
No decision has been made but they say the study shows it would save millions.
Local workers and residents, came back saying they're against it all the way.
U.S. Postal Service officials presented their findings, saying by sending Chattanooga's mail to the operation in Duluth, Georgia and laying off 110 workers, they would save big.
"If this did happen, this consolidation were to happen, we could save 2.3 million a year which you know is a lot," says USPS Spokesperson David Walton.
Local postal workers are challenging those numbers.
"It's false. It's fraudulent numbers," says Judy Stocker, President of the local American Postal Workers Union. "I think if given the opportunity, the APW can disprove almost every figure that they have."
And they did get their chance to speak up.
"Where is the savings," asks Stocker.
"The impacts have not been made formal," says an official with the U.S. Postal Service.
Arguing the proposal doesn't save money, and it will take mail longer to get to its destination.
"When they mail their electric bill, car payment, mortgage payment, they can no longer depend on that bill being there," says a postal worker.
USPS officials say it would slow mail down by one day for folks in Chattanooga if the facility were to close.
"If you reduce service in an effort to cut costs it will ultimately drive mail volume out of the system and it will lead to a further decline in mail volume," says a postal worker.
"It's never pleasant. There's anger, fear," says Walton.
USPS says they've gotten the same response in the other cities where they're considering this option.
Still, they say they will continue to push for it.
"We just no longer have the need for all of these facilities," says Walton.
USPS officials say after Wednesday's meeting, they planned to send the information they presented to their headquarters -- to try and move this proposal forward.
However, no decision will be made until spring, at the earliest.
Postal workers say they'll continue to fight every step of the way.
To put this in perspective: the Postal Service plans to go from 460 processing centers, like the one in Chattanooga -- to less than 200 by the end of 2013.
The USPS employs about 557,000 workers nationwide, the third largest employer in the country.
In Washington, talk of cutting back Saturday service -- has been met with grave opposition from both sides of the aisle.
Just as a note: there are more post offices around the country than Wal-marts, Starbucks and McDonalds combined.