On Monday, after emails circulated among employees regarding the expected shuttering of the center, McKinney Boyd, U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said he could not confirm the date and the service was “preparing a statement.” He said the same thing Tuesday and no response was given Wednesday.
Paul Shuptrine, president of the American Postal Workers Union in Tyler, said the center shutdown would mean job transfers for most of the employees, those with six years experience or more, who would have the choice to relocate, retire or resign. About 40 employees would “be standing on the unemployment line.”
Shuptrine said he is holding out hope there is still room to negotiate.
The closing would affect local mailings, he said. Local periodicals, local standard and non-profit mailings would be severely delayed, he said. He said local mail gets first-class treatment at the local center but will not in Coppell, Austin, Beaumont or Shreveport, which will serve East Texas after the closing.
The objective for the post service, which had been losing $24 million daily, is to reduce redundancy of many of the postal jobs and consolidate them in other locations.
Last year, Boyd said a feasibility study showed closing the Owentown facility would save about $14 million annually. The center was left off of a postal service consolidation list released in May 2012, which spurred hopes the center would be spared.
The Owentown facility processes mail for Tyler and the surrounding East Texas area. At its peak, the center employed 200 people, mostly mail handlers, clerks and maintenance workers.
The postal service has experienced a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume since 2006. Operations rely solely on the sale of postage, postal products and services. Similar consolidation studies have occurred at locations within the postal service’s 252 processing plants nationwide.
In November 2010, Tyler’s downtown post office closed.