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01/05/10 - 10:24 PM
The Bay County American Postal Workers Union holds an emergency meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the United States Postal Service’s proposal to close a Bay County post office outgoing mail sorting facility.
The facility is located within the Sherman Avenue post office branch, and the proposal would move all outgoing mail sorting to Pensacola.
Although postal officials say other post office services within that branch would remain open, union members at the meeting are concerned that the closure could negatively affect Bay County.
Those at the meeting voted unanimously to picket at the USPS public meeting scheduled for January 14th. They plan to bring information to share with the public on the proposal to close that sorting facility.
The local employees say moving Bay County’s outgoing mail sorting to Pensacola will affect not only affect Bay County but any city with an area code beginning with 3-2-4.
Joseph Breckenridge, USPS Communications, says the move should not affect delivery time, saying “All of the post offices served by the Panama City plant will remain at one day.”
Union members say otherwise.
“The mail that the public mails out used to go overnight to all other 3-2-4 zip codes and Dothan and Tallahassee. Now it’s going to take two days to a week,” says USPS employee Andy Georgiadis.
Union members say the concern isn’t over job or pay cuts but decreased customer service, saying the change would take the “service” out of United States Postal Service.
“About ten years ago they did the same thing with Dothan’s mail,” says union president Mark Zediak. “They brought it down here and that didn’t last but about a year in a half.”
“Is $500,000 truly saved in Panama City for moving our mail?” Georgiadis asks. “If it is, then our question to the postal service, Mr. Breckenridge, will be tell us what it will cost to truck our mail back and forth to and from Pensacola.”
News 13 took those questions to Joseph Breckenridge, who said, “Most of the savings comes from a reduction of labor costs.”
When asked about trucking costs and if routes would be increased, Breckenridge replied that the trucks already run the route but could not provide us with specific details on how many times per day or if that number would be increased, citing security reasons.
Union workers also point out that the new Bay County International Airport could impact growth and create more mail but Breckenridge says future growth will not affect the decision or the Pensacola sorting facility.
The USPS public meeting to discuss the proposed changes will be held on January 14th at 7:00 p.m. at Legion Hall on the Bay County Fairgrounds.
Union members say they’ll be there, with signs and information.
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