CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he doesn’t believe operations will be downsizing at the state’s only postal processing plant in Charleston, but the facility is going to be repurposed and possibly expanded upon.
Manchin spoke to reporters outside the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center before going in to meet with facility officials and workers Friday to discuss operational changes which are expected to be made there following a review from the U.S Postal Service.
There have been concerns from the 800 workers at the plant, as well as members of the American Postal Workers Union Local 133 who represent them, of downsizing they heard that could come to the plant. They said this would leave some of the employees having no choice but to relocate as some of the facility’s processing operations would move to Pennsylvania, and that mail services would be delayed to residents.
However, Manchin said upon speaking with Postmaster Louis DeJoy, these are operational changes postal processing facilities across the country have been mandated to make in order to improve functionalities, and they are expected to improve the local facility, as well.
“This operation we have here in Charleston is going to be refurbished, there will be investments being made, and basically it’s to meet the market demands in making sure they are going to be able to go into the future and be competitive,” Manchin said to reporters Friday.
While he still remains unclear as to whether some employees will have to relocate following the changes, he was assured by DeJoy that there will be no lay-offs.
“I know there are going to be opportunities here and that means that the people here are going to have those opportunities and be able to expand on them,” he said.
Manchin said the United States Postal Service has been faced with challenges for a longtime as more mail delivery options have become available, and he said DeJoy and other postal officials have been charged with rectifying those challenges.
He said part of making USPS more modernized and market-driven is improving the postal services people most depend on, which he said will be there long after all of the other options people have fall by the wayside, because, the USPS is the public entity for the people.
“The demand that people have today for communications and how they get their medicine to their mail and everything in between depends on and has started with the United States Postal Service and still is greatly dependent upon,” he said.
Manchin said he was going to be finding out whether employees will have to relocate, as well as what the exact plans for the facility will be, whether it means expanding current processing operations or whether it will go in an entirely other direction.
He said he wants to be in those final decisions about what’s to come to the plant with Postmaster DeJoy and other postal officials who will be making them from the Whitehouse on down.
“I’ve been talking to Washington D.C quite a bit about operation here, so they know how much I’m involved and they know how much concern I have,” Manchin said. “This is our last processing plant we have here in the state of West Virginia, our Northern Panhandle area is going over to the Pittsburgh area because it’s a bigger market, we understand that.”
Manchin said the perfect scenario is that the plant expands and other postal operations are brought into it. He does know for certain that they have plans to invest into the Charleston facility.