Some 50 postal workers — some
still awake from an overnight shift — picketed Thursday
outside the main post office in Oxnard over possible
consolidation of mail distribution centers around the
country, including one in Oxnard.
The workers, members of the local American Postal
Workers union, were upset because the Oxnard processing
center where they work on Camino del Sol is on a list of
139 centers nationwide that could be consolidated.
the union said, could displace up to 300 employees — the
closest processing facilities are in Goleta and Santa
Clarita — while leading to possible delays in mail
delivery from Simi Valley to Summerland.
"The Postal Service doesn't want this information
public," said Jack Villa, a legislative director for
Channel Islands Area Local 589, which serves some 280
employees of postal facilities in Oxnard, Ventura,
Camarillo and Port Hueneme.
The U.S. Postal Service initiated plans to
consolidate mail processing plants and trim payroll and
benefits costs in 2005. In August, the parent American
Postal Workers Union filed a successful federal
injunction to block further consolidation for now, said
Roberta Molloy, president of the local postal worker
union and a 29-year clerk at the Oxnard facility.
While the Oxnard plant is on the list, no decision or
timetable about its future has been made public, the
Pam Mathis, a supervisor at Oxnard's main post office
on C Street, confirmed that the Oxnard facility was on
the consolidation list, but referred other questions to
a Postal Service spokesman, who did not return calls.
The Oxnard mail facility processes more than 2
million pieces of mail daily, and most employees work
overnight and early morning shifts. The facility serves
all of Ventura County except Thousand Oaks, as well as
coastal communities around Carpinteria and Summerland,
Experienced full-time postal workers would not lose
jobs, but could be reassigned under national labor
contracts, Molloy said.
"Workers (at the Oxnard facility) could be reassigned
to Goleta or Santa Clarita, but the reality is that we
could also be reassigned to Kansas City, wherever they
want us to go," she said.
Postal worker Candy Garcia worked in the distribution
center in Goleta in January when six co-workers were
shot and killed by a former co-worker. He has no desire
to go back.
"A less than zero" desire, he said Thursday as he
waved a handmade sign outside the post office. "You
can't make me go back there."
The consolidation effort already has had a regional
effect, the union said. This year, a mail processing
plant in Marina del Rey was closed and a processing
center in Pasadena had its outgoing mail operation moved
to Santa Clarita. That left 90 employees reassigned,
Union leaders in coming days plan to reach out to
members of area city councils and go before the county
Board of Supervisors.
"The community should have some involvement in this
decision," Villa said.