Union leaders remain in the dark about postal facility considerations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The vice president off the postal workers union at a Charleston mail sorting and processing facility said the unknown is leaving his members in a difficult position.

Tim Holstein

The U.S. Postal Service indicated recently they were reviewing operations at the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center. There is the potential the facility could be closed or downsized and operations moved to other facilities.

Tim Holstein, Vice President of Local 133 of the American Postal Workers Union, said unfortunately they are being left largely in the dark about what’s being considered.

“There’s only ‘talks’ of the originating mail from this facility leaving. We’ve had no direct confirmation that the facility would be leaving or this would be happening. How many jobs, we do not have a clear and definite answer,” he said on MetroNews Talkline.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin released a strongly worded statement Wednesday evening.

Joe Manchin

“There is absolutely no reason to move our West Virginia mail processing facility to another state. I will do everything within my power to prevent the loss of this facility. The U.S. Postal Service should reverse its deeply flawed and misguided plan to conduct a Mail Processing Facility Review of its Charleston Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) facility, which would disproportionately harm a vital lifeline for the people of West Virginia,” Manchin said. “This review blatantly ignores West Virginians’ concerns about a significant decrease in local services as well as a dramatic adverse economic impact on the postal workers who kept our country running during the pandemic. Many of my constituents are older Americans or Veterans who live in rural communities and desperately rely on timely postal services for life-saving medications or hard-earned federal benefits. I urge every West Virginian to submit initial comments at this link and remain engaged throughout the public comment period. We cannot allow the Postal Service to jeopardize our lives and livelihoods.”

The facility has 800 employees and 500 of them are represented by the union.

“We have mail handlers and even some letter carriers downtown will be affected. Of those 800 people we have no idea how many career or non-career jobs that could affect,” he explained.

The review is part of the Postal Service’s “Delivering for America,” 10-year plan to “transform the organization from one in financial and operational crisis to one that is self-sustaining and high-performing.”  The potential decision could result in the work done in Charleston being moved to Pittsburgh–and according to Holstein mail delays would be inevitable.

“If the changes the Postal Service wanted to implement that we’ve received would happen, your post card would go to Pittsburgh or Penwood and then come back to Charleston. In the Union’s opinion, that could delay service,” he explained.

The U.S. Postal Service has been beset in recent years with operational costs overruns. Holstein was asked about this review as a way to operate in a more fiscally responsible manner.

“The financial responsibility is something that should be taken all the way around and not just on the backs of the workers. Financial responsibility comes down to multiple other things, that’s a whole different topic,” he said.