Local United States Postal Service workers could lose their jobs and first class mail could be delayed by days. The American Postal Workers Union held a hearing Thursday in Tulsa to collect public input for a study to determine how the postal service can cut costs. The company lost $5 billion last year. On September 15th, 2011, union officials proposed closing 250 mail processing plants across the country, which includes the one in Tulsa on 21st and 91st East Avenue. If the Tulsa plant closes, 573 jobs will be affected. 400 jobs will be transferred to the Oklahoma City mail processing plant and 183 positions could be eliminated.
“How do you tell the public that you are an efficient organization and yet you set to close down some of your most outstanding facilities?” asked Congressman John Sullivan’s representative to the APWU members. "I have grave concerns once we make this cut then there is another cut and another cut.”
Workers are not comfortable with the information the postal service union has provided them about how much money the company would save by closing down the processing plant.
Charley Mose just got promoted to electronic technician at the Tulsa plant. He said he has lost faith in the postal service because he does not feel like they are being transparent enough. "I'm angry about it,” said Mr. Mose. “They are playing political games with our lives. There is really nobody to question them about their numbers. There is no understanding of the formula for their numbers. There is no committee to say you are wrong.”
If the union decides it is feasible to close down the Tulsa plant that means your mail is directly affected. Local first class delivery would be sent from Tulsa to the Oklahoma City processing plant and then back to Tulsa, instead of being processed in Tulsa. This would result in a two to three day delay to all your mail unless you paid $18.30 for Express mail delivery. First class mail currently costs 44 cents a piece.
“We have to adjust with the times, with electronic devices, with texting and emails, it's just been a steep decline,” says United States Postal Service spokesperson with the Oklahoma District, Dionne Montague. She also said the union has never laid off an employee before and does not want to have to make that kind of sacrifice. The postal service union employs 559,000 workers nationally. 151,000 are mail processing plant workers. The union says to be efficient they need to cut down the mail processing employee number to 116,000.
In the last five years mail service has dropped 20 percent. The union predicts it will drop 50 percent in the next five years. Thursday’s meeting is one of many forums to gather data about closing the Tulsa location. Union officials said it could be another 90 days before we have some answers. They also said recently some of the mail processing plant locations that were set to close will now remain open because the information gathered through studies found that closing them would not be feasible.