Last week, members of the American Postal Workers Union in East Texas confirmed that the USPS Processing and Distribution Center near Tyler will be closing June 1.
The post office made the decision a year ago to shut the facility down.
But USPS spokesmen have repeatedly denied to confirm or comment on the center's potential June 1 closure over the phone, and local leaders spoke Wednesday about the confusion.
American Postal Workers Union Local 1477 spokesman Paul Shuptrine said the nearly 200 members of his union who work at the East Texas P&DC are in the dark about their jobs.
"Officially, we haven't been told anything," said Shuptrine.
"They actually haven't done the proper notice to the employees at that facility that they are definitely closing," said Congressman Louie Gohmert in a phone interview Wednesday. "Well, they're sure telling people at other locations, just not at that one, and I haven't been able to get an absolute confirmation, and we have continued to request verification in writing, are you closing it or is it staying open?"
Last week, a union member who works at the plant told KLTV he was told of the June 1 closure in a meeting held by the plant's manager.
Shuptrine was not in that meeting, but had asked another manager at the plant to address closure rumors the week before.
"There's been so many rumors flying around for over a year now and people under so much stress. We need to know what's going on," said Shuptrine. "Stop hiding this stuff from us."
The USPS has said closing the center would save $14 million annually, but neither Gohmert or Shuptrine anticipates much cost-savings.
"They're doubling and tripling the cost to take letters from Tyler to Longview or vice versa, and so they're not particularly cutting that much in cost," Gohmert said.
"That letter will leave Longview, go to Shreveport, then to North Texas, and then to Tyler. That's 389 miles, I think it is, versus 38," Shuptrine said.
Shuptrine says he can see how the USPS would believe they could save money by closing a processing and distribution center in a city where there are several.
"But East Texas P&DC is unique. It's right in the middle of the heart of East Texas. There's nothing close, close enough to give us the service that we've had," Shuptrine said. "I'm very concerned for the employees, but the biggest concern is for the postal service, because it's our job."
The union says employees were told that mail from zip codes beginning with 756 will be processed in Shreveport and mail from zip codes beginning with 759 will be processed in North Houston by April 1.
Mail from zip codes beginning with 757 will be processed in North Texas and mail from zip codes beginning with 758 will be processed in Austin by May 1.
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