By Tiffany Holland – February 26, 2015
Roanoke postal employees on Wednesday learned that the U.S. Postal Service is going through with a plan to consolidate the Rutherford Avenue processing center to Greensboro, North Carolina, according to Roanoke Postal Workers Union president Carlton Cooper.
The consolidation will begin April 18, and affected employees will be notified next week.
Cooper said the consolidation will affect 105 clerks, 25 maintenance workers and 70 mail handlers, and the transition and movement of equipment will begin in July. He said the decision about which employees will be affected will depend on seniority, with those who have been with USPS longest staying in Roanoke. So he said they have a good idea of which employees will be affected. Not all these employees will lose their jobs, however, and they will have an option of relocating, he said.
Roanoke postal employees have long lobbied against the consolidation.
“What I can tell you now is, we are a responsible employer and because a position is eliminated, that does not equate to loss of employment,” USPS spokesman Tad Kelley said in an email. “We work closely with our employee unions and employees to identify positions they can transition into if they choose to stay with the Postal Service. In our history we have not had a layoff.”
Cooper said the Roanoke facility has about 200 full-time clerks, 70 maintenance personnel and 100 mail handlers, plus about 40 management positions.
Once the consolidation begins, there will no more mail originating in Roanoke with a Roanoke postmark.
The facility on Rutherford Avenue serves much of western Virginia. It is one of 82 mail processing facilities planned for consolidation in 37 states. The Roanoke facility itself absorbed a similar operation in Lynchburg in 2011.
USPS announced in 2013 that is was planning to consolidate a number of mail processing plants, including the Roanoke facility, due to financial constraints. Kelley said a 25 percent decline in mail volume has reduced annual revenue by $10 billion since 2007, despite regular postage price increases.