CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Postal Service is recommending a $30 million investment that it says could save nearly $9 million a year at the Charleston Local Processing Center at Southridge in South Charleston.

Tim Holstein

But United Postal Workers Union Local 133 is skeptical.

The USPS’ initial recommendation released this week is the latest in the review of the large facility that began last fall.

The new report said a $30 million investment would help the agency modernize the center with “state-of-the-art” equipment that would help it continue to be an important part of mail delivery.

Local 133 Vice President Tim Holstein called the recommendations “window dressing.”

“We don’t feel the Postal Service is being completely transparent to the public. Not only to the public but the members of the postal union,” Holstein said.

The recommendation document said some of the outgoing mail currently processed in Charleston would be transferred to Pennsylvania. The USPS said the move would allow for a sorting and delivery center at the Southridge location.

MORE read USPS initial findings document here

Holstein said it’s really the same plan from the beginning.

“They’re pushing forward no matter what our senators, no matter what our congressmen, no matter what the state Senate, no matter what the state House, no matter what anyone says,” Holstein said. “They’re are pushing forward with these ideas of what they want to do. They are basically snubbing their nose at us and the residents of the state of West Virginia.”

The recommendation said the USPS plans no layoffs of career employees but 24 craft positions and at least one management job could be reassigned.

Holstein said that would mean as many as 50 jobs would be impacted.

“Our contractual language states that non-career employees would have to be removed before career employees are relocated or lose their jobs,” he said.

The USPS is expected to conduct a public hearing on its recommendation. Holstein said it appears the agency has already made up its mind.

“They’re telling us that public input will be accepted and considered in this process but you’ve already released your initial findings before the public meeting and before the survey is over so that’s questionable at best,” Holstein said.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito is also speaking out on the recent actions by the USPS. She said she reviewed the initial findings herself from the USPS on their review of the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center and overall is “disappointed.”

“While I am glad to see that they have decided to invest in new equipment and upgrades to the facility, I am disappointed to see that they believe that some jobs being transferred to other locations-even if it is less than what was rumored-would be a positive step,” Sen. Capito said. “I also would have hoped the USPS would have held their public meeting as scheduled on January 30th.”

Capito spoke personally with Postmaster General DeJoy and other local officials ever since the USPS said that the facility was under a review.

“I still believe that the community deserves to be heard, and I hope that USPS will take that feedback into consideration before any final decisions are made. In the meantime, I urge USPS to listen at the required upcoming public meeting and take into account the importance of this facility to the community as they work to produce their final decisions.”