Fate of local USPS distribution center remains unknown

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Updated: 3/22/2013 9:02 am Published: 3/21/2013 8:48 pm

The fate of the United States Postal Service distribution center in Tulsa remains unknown, even after Congress decided mail delivery should continue six days a week.

“They've pulled us off the list; they've put us back on the list. It’s had the employees at the facility very stressed,” says Charley Mose, president of the local American Postal Workers Union.

Some former employees, like Stacy Boyd, say they opted for early retirement, part of a postal service plan to prevent layoffs.

Most says other employees are left with few options.

“We have a no layoff clause in our contract, as long as you've been employed 6 continuous years,” he says.

According to Mose, the contract says employees cannot be moved more than 50 miles, despite rumored transfers to Oklahoma City.

“We have nowhere to go within 50 miles,” Mose says. “There are no jobs within 50 miles.”

He tells FOX23 News that employees would likely be offered positions as letter carriers, which isn’t a viable option for everyone.

“A lot of my coworkers in maintenance are disable veterans; they can't carry the mail, so they would basically be pushed out the door. It would just be a ripple effect of the whole community”

Terry Davis, president of the local branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers say closing the Tulsa distribution center would not only cost jobs, but cause delivery delays everyone would have to get used to.

“It might be mail that they could've delivered yesterday that they're getting today,” Davis began. “It's just going to be delayed.”

With 500 jobs on the line, Mose and many others are still hoping this center could be spared, but they aren’t counting on it.

“It's not likely, but I still have a lot of hope,” Mose says. “To close that down would be a huge waste of money, and it would destroy this community a little bit.”

Some postal workers, like Mose and Davis, are blaming wasted money on distribution centers closing around the country.

Back in 2006, then-President George Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requiring the post service pays 75 years’ worth of retiree health benefits in just ten years.

Mose says the union is fighting against that act.

“It's put us in a multi-billion dollar deficit.  We're fighting that, we're fighting the plant closures.”

Davis says that’s the “root” of USPS’ problems.

“In order to fix this, all they have to do is fix that payment,” Davis says.

Davis says the post service’s yearly payments to that fund top out around $5.5 billion.

“Had the post office not had to make that payment, the post office wouldn't be in the red.” Mose agrees.

“It's cost us so much money. Actually [in] January of this year, we made $100 million profit, but that'll never be shown because of the act that George Bush signed.”

Although USPS is shelling out billions, Davis says if something isn’t done, it’s the people at home who stand to lose the most.

“This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue,” Davis began. “This is a United States Postal Service issue, the public deserve the service they provide.”

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