Augusta postal workers speak against processing center closing

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 11:16 PM
Last updated Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 2:32 AM
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Lonnie Colton was in the U.S. Postal Service uniform he has worn for 24 years when he faced the four men in suits and ties Thursday night.

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Earl Artis, the manager of corporate communications for the southwest area of the U.S. Postal Service, delivers opening remarks during the meeting at the Kroc Center on Thursday. The postal service has proposed closing 252 mail processing centers, including the one in Augusta.   Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Earl Artis, the manager of corporate communications for the southwest area of the U.S. Postal Service, delivers opening remarks during the meeting at the Kroc Center on Thursday. The postal service has proposed closing 252 mail processing centers, including the one in Augusta.

With other mail carriers, Postal Service retirees and residents, he tried to tell corporate America why losing any part of the mail service in Augusta would impact daily life.

“How do you provide a service by cutting a service?” Colton told the panel. “We’re putting pressure on the blue-collar worker.”

Postal Service corporate representatives came to Augusta on Thursday to hear public opinion about a proposal to remove mail processing operations from the city’s main post office branch. About 100 people attended the meeting in the Kroc Center, and all who spoke were against the change.

“We work our tails off for years, and we have pride in our job, and the decisions they’re making now don’t take that into consideration,” said Ben Panzella, a 30-year Augusta postal worker.

Postal Service officials are considering consolidating Augusta’s mail processing operations with those in Macon, Ga., and Columbia to save a proposed $4.9 million.

The change would make it so all mail, including letters being sent within Augusta, would have to first be shipped to Macon to be sorted before being delivered to their destinations. On the South Carolina side of Augusta’s current mail distribution area, all mail sent even locally within, for example, Aiken County, would first go to Columbia.

The extra step would do away with overnight delivery and make it so standard mail would take two to three days on average, according to Eric Chavez, the Postal Service’s North Florida District manager.

The Augusta post office would still provide window services, and carriers would still deliver mail to homes and businesses, but an estimated 75 positions would be removed by closing the mail processing center.

On Thursday, as Postal Service representatives passed a microphone around the Kroc Center’s auditorium, residents asked for an alternative.

Lowell Greenbaum, the chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party, said no overnight delivery would affect how voters receive last-minute absentee ballots before an election.

For those who depend on medication through the mail or Social Security checks, the changed schedule would be “devastating,” said Karen Gilmore, the president of the Augusta-area American Postal Workers Union.

Workers also spoke about rumors that mail carrier service would dwindle to five days a week from the current six days.

Chavez said that while the consolidation would save the Postal Service money, no final decisions have been made.

The Postal Service agreed to postpone any office closings or consolidations across the country until May after requests from several U.S. senators.

While some in the audience were skeptical about how much their opinions would affect any decisions, Earl Artis, the manager for corporate communications for the Postal Service’s Southwest Area, said all input matters.

“These opinions are considered,” he said. “There will be a Postal Service in the future. It may be different than what we now have, but it will be there. Despite every message you can send on the Internet, you still can’t e-mail a package.”

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Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 12/16/11 - 12:38 am
0
0
This will domino effect

This will domino effect several mail processing companies in Augusta too. If they move, it will wipe out more than just the postal jobs.

InChristLove
22468
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InChristLove 12/16/11 - 07:03 am
0
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Seems to me that some sort of

Seems to me that some sort of sorting will have to be done here in Augusta to determine which mail goes to Columbia and which mail goes to Macon to go through the final sorting. Why can't in the process, mail addressed to the local Augusta area zip codes also be sorted along with the other mail going to Columbia and Macon, held here in our mail post office and distributed like always.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 12/16/11 - 09:08 am
0
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" Despite every message you
Unpublished

" Despite every message you can send on the Internet, you still can’t e-mail a package.”....lol but you can sure UPS it or FedX it..................

seenitB4
85771
Points
seenitB4 12/16/11 - 09:21 am
0
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wonders...There are some

wonders...There are some areas that Fedex & Ups won't deliver ---it just isn't profitable to them so they use the good ole USPS---the very rural-country folks would be out of luck.....unless they paid outrageous fees for a delivery.......older folks will suffer the most...
Anyway...why not fix our problems with some of the $$$ we send to countries that hate our guts??

Tyler-Ray_Daddy
44
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Tyler-Ray_Daddy 12/16/11 - 02:12 pm
0
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Personally, I hate to see

Personally, I hate to see anyone lose their job; even government workers. However, with that being said, I believe this is the future for many government programs & those receiving government checks whether it be through employment, retirement, welfare, food stamps, disability, and all the other entitlements.
There is no doubt the Post Office needs to run more efficiently & the employees are overpaid. Things will have to be done considering it is not carried by government funding; this is a good thing since it forces the P.O. to do the same a private company would have to do versus sucking taxpayers dry like the rest of government does.
Folks, Obama has grown government 25% just during his time in office; the rest of government will eventually go belly-up too once creditors refuse to loan anymore funds to the U.S. It's time to pay the piper!

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