Postal unions continue fight plant-closure battle

Kokomo_PO(October 24, 2014) Mail processing plants are not only needed to continue to maintain high delivery standards, such as overnight and prompt delivery, but they’re also the livelihood of countless workers.

With 82 plants slated to close nationwide—and one right here in Kokomo—the postal unions continue to push back and fight the ongoing plant-closure battle.

“There are 82 postal offices they want to eliminate, and it just can’t be done,” said Pam Jones, member of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 533.

Jones said the public needs to be aware of the repercussions of the plant closing and help in the fight to keep delivery standards and jobs secure.

“We have a plant that is slated to close in 2015, and if they do that, it will take away delivery standards,” she said. “Right now we have next-day service, and if they close the plant they will take all our mail to Indianapolis to run. That’s going to eliminate out next day service in our town.”

According to the American Postal Workers Union, this will not only eliminate it in the 37 states where the plants are scheduled to close but also that it will disappear throughout the country.

To Jones, sending Kokomo’s mail to Indianapolis isn’t economical or logical.

“If the machines are already going and you add our mail into their mail and separate our mail again just to bring it back again, with the transportation costs and everything, it just doesn’t make sense,” she said.

Besides bringing overnight delivery to a halt, it will also put a halt to countless, living-wage jobs, she said, adding that Kokomo’s plant has upwards of 100 employees.

To combat the issue, the postal unions have formed a coalition and are looking for the public’s support in signing petitions and letters.

“We’ve formed an alliance, and by forming together, we are hoping that we are able to withstand it. Right now we’re signing petitions and signing letters, and we’re going to send that to Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita and tell them that the people don’t want their mail service standards to go away.

“You see the blue boxes? Well, we pick all that mail up, and we run it that night. They want to do away with that, and when they do, it’s not going to be delivered the same day. Right now we run them the same day in every city that they’re in,” she said.

For those looking to help the postal unions in their fight, they will be set up at Ivy Tech Event and Conference Center on Oct. 25 with their petition and letters for the public to sign.

“We’ll be there with the petition and the letter signings, and we hope everyone stops by and checks us out,” she said.

Another issue that has upset postal union members is the debate that hasn’t happened between congressman Todd Rokita (R) from Indiana’s 4th district and challenger John Dale (D).

“John Dale has been slated to have a debate with Todd Rokita on Oct. 7 and Oct. 18, and Todd Rokita backs out every time. Todd Rokita is not about postal unions, and he’s not about the postal service. He supports five-day delivery, dismantling the post office, and fortunately, Dale supports maintaining delivery standards and to support the postal service,” she said. “We just don’t understand why Rokita would not debate John Dale. He’s a first-time runner.”


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