Postal centers due to close as resolution remains elusive
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, May 19, 2012
5/19/12 at 4:51 AM
Postal workers in the Tulsa processing and distribution center continue to be on pins and needles. They've been worried about the fate of the center for many months and their worst fears, it appears, may be about to come true.
Some local employees say they've been told the center is going to close in 2014, in the second wave of closures that are expected to begin in 2013.
Postal Service officials would not confirm Tulsa is in the second round of closures, but dozens of centers apparently are. The service announced Thursday that 140 of its 461 distribution centers will be closed early next year, and another 89 will close in early 2014 "unless the circumstances of the Postal Service change."
If the center is closed, the 600 employees likely will either lose their jobs are be asked to move to Oklahoma City, which would have the only remaining processing and distribution center in the state.
The uncertainty surrounding the fate of Tulsa's facility, as well as the scores of others facing similar scenarios, is exasperating because there are measures that could be undertaken that would save at least some of these facilities. What are our leaders waiting for?
One unresolved issue is what to do about overnight first-class delivery. An earlier plan called for eliminating overnight first-class delivery, but that proposal has become muddled. In Thursday's announcement, USPS said something about initially reducing "the geographic reach of overnight service to local areas" and in the second phase, come up with "long-term service standards that would significantly revise" overnight delivery.
Meanwhile, Congress continues to dither. The Senate has passed a bill that would help stabilize the agency but postal leaders say it doesn't go far enough. And the House proposes steps drastically different from the Senate's, so accord doesn't seem likely soon.
The Postal Service is expected to lose $14 billion this fiscal year. If the stories circulating in recent days are accurate, then many thousands of Americans will be out of work, and the service will be no closer to stability than it is now.
That's no way to run a postal service.
Original Print Headline: Closing?
A man walks past an entrance at the U.S. Postal Service sorting center in Tulsa. Workers in Tulsa say the center will close in 2014. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file