CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The United States Postal Service has decided to downgrade the Charleston Processing & Distribution Center to a Local Processing Center and transfer outgoing mail processing operations to Pennsylvania.

Tim Holstein

A review of the Charleston P&DC in Southridge first began in November 2023. The USPS viewed the P&DC as a candidate facility to have operations relocated out of state. Now, it appears some operations will be heading to Pittsburgh, PA and Warrendale, PA.

Workers with American Postal Workers Union Local 133 were informed of the decision Tuesday evening, sometime around 4 p.m. Tim Holstein, vice president off the postal workers union, said he found out about the news through news outlets. He said the fight is not over, but this decision by the USPS hurts them.

“We’re not looking at it as defeat, but this is something we now have to figure out moving forward,” Holstein told MetroNews Tuesday.

Holstein said the goal now is to keep the morale of the employees of the Southridge P&DC up.

“It’s not over. We still have hopes that things can change,” he added.

Under the plan sought by the USPS, mail will first arrive at the Local Processing Center in Charleston and then be sent to one of the two Pennsylvania locations, but mainly be sent to Pittsburgh, before heading back to Charleston to be processed.

“It doesn’t make any sense to us or the public,” said Holstein.

The union leader said the USPS already had their mind made up and did not consider the pleas from the public in a public meeting held earlier in February on Valentine’s Day. He said the postal service has been “running a dog and pony show.”

“We look back now and see with how things have panned out that they have already had a plan in place,” Holstein claimed.

According to Holstein, jobs will be lost too.

Initial results from the postal service projected the loss of 26 positions. Holstein did not believe that number. In fact, he thought it would be more.

“From the results they released Tuesday, I believe there will be 41 or 43,” said Holstein about job movement.

APWU contracts also state that workers cannot be moved for work outside of a 50 mile radius. It’ll be up to workers of those affected positions if they want to relocate or not.

“The union has been left in the dark. Local management has been left in the dark. There has been no transparency,” said Holstein.

The news has leaders in Washington up in arms too.

“I am disappointed that USPS has decided to move forward with plans to shrink the role of the Charleston facility,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito in a statement released Tuesday. “It is also very disappointing to see the number of jobs impacted by these changes has grown from USPS’s initial findings. With over 2,800 public comments submitted by West Virginians, I do wish USPS had listened and taken those concerns into account fully.”

Fellow U.S. Senator Joe Manchin called the decision from the USPS a “slap in the face.”

“Every piece of our mail will now have to travel hundreds of miles from Charleston to Pittsburgh, where both the cost of living and operating a facility are significantly higher, and then back to West Virginia,” Manchin said in his released statement. “Simply put, the assertion by the Postal Service that their decision will improve service for West Virginians is completely false.”

In his eyes, Holstein said the people of West Virginia did not want this move. He said he will continue to fight alongside union president Craig Brown in hopes of a change in plans.

“We request that members of the public continue to contact their Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen in opposition to this now planned change,” Holstein added.