St. Petersburg Consolidation to Proceed
05/03/2007 - The Postal Service has notified the APWU that it will implement plans to shift some mail-processing operations from the St. Petersburg (FL) Processing and Distribution Center to the Tampa P&DC. Citing declining mail volume at the St. Petersburg facility, postal management claims the move will result in “significant savings” for the USPS.
“After review we have decided that this consolidation is in the best interest of the Postal Service,” said management’s April 26, 2007, letter. The USPS notified the union in December 2005 [PDF] that it would conduct a feasibility study of the proposed consolidation.
The USPS made the decision to shift operations despite vehement opposition from local union activists and community leaders. APWU members, elected officials, and residents have engaged in a hard-fought campaign to preserve St. Petersburg’s high quality mail service and its postmark, as well as to keep postal jobs in the city.
“Some affected career employees may be reassigned to the Tampa P&DC or to other vacant positions,” USPS management wrote in the April 26 notice to the APWU, but the letter did not specify how many workers would be reassigned or when the consolidation will take effect.
A USPS summary of the study, posted on its Web site, projects first-year savings of almost $4 million, and annual savings of more than $4.6 million after that. It estimates that there will be a net decrease of 76 positions.
“These numbers came out of thin air,” said Mike Sullivan, President of the APWU Suncoast Area Local. Local newspapers have reported that as few as 19 jobs would be affected and have said consolidation would save the agency $1.3 million annually, he said. “What the postal service is saying publicly does not match the information in their reports.”
“We don’t intend to roll over,” Sullivan said. We will evaluate the information we have been given, and weigh our options.”
Efforts are underway to draft and introduce legislation that would impose restrictions on the method and manner of USPS consolidations.