Postal plant shutdown accelerated


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - David Dycus

PADUCAH, Ky. - Unpopular changes at the post office may be coming sooner than once thought.  That's because the postal service is losing $25 million a day.

Now, a plan that slows delivery service is on the fast track, and local families may soon have to hit the road just to find work.

In the Local 6 viewing area, there are three postal sorting facilities:  Paducah, Carbondale, and Cape Girardeau.

Back in 2011,  officials announced that the Paducah and Cape Girardeau plants were on the chopping block.  The Paducah plant was originally set to close and move operations to Evansville, Indiana in February of next year. 

The local union president says that date drastically changed but USPS officials say it hasn't.

"They've been shooting for a date that's nine months down the road and now it looks like its going to be substantially closer," Union President Gerl McKinney said.

That's what the USPS told McKinney, plus it's in black and white.  But USPS Spokesperson David Walton said it's not what it looks like.

We asked Walton if the Paducah Processing plant would close in June and he said no, but that the USPS was 'given permission to move the consolidation up to June the first.'

With all the uncertainty, Mckinney said one thing is for sure:  the 31 affected employees' job descriptions change in a very big way.  Those now working in the plant will be moved to window positions at the main office, the Southside and Avondale.  Those now working at other offices will get the opportunity to transfer to other locations, but now, no one knows where.

Workers never knew where they'd go but they thought they knew when.  McKinney said now they don't even have that. 

"They can pull the plug anywhere along the process," Mckinney said.

Mckinney said the USPS is required to give his workers a 60 day written notice that the plant is closing.  So far, no workers have received that, but he points out those notices could go out anytime between now and the end of this month for the postal service to close this facility by June first.  Per the contract, everyone gets the opportunity to move so no one should be laid off.

In Cape Girardeau, even more jobs are on the line when operations move to St. Louis.  71 employees will have to transfer somewhere.  According to the USPS, that closing date is still set for January of next year.

A USPS spokesperson also told Local 6 that Saturday mail is still set to end in August. The USPS will continue package delivery on Saturdays and if you have a PO Box, you'll keep getting Saturday mail.