Gary Postal Processing Center Is Still On Closing List
July 16, 2014 — The latest announcement on U-S Postal Service processing and distribution center closings this week comes from South Bend — but Gary’s own facility is still on the list of closings, even though it is still open for now. The Lakeshore’s Chris Nolte reports.
Chris Nolte, Lakeshore Public Radio
Mary Dando of the Postal Service Greater Indiana District office told the Lakeshore this morning that some mail is already being processed in Bedford Park, Illinois — where eventually all of the mail done by the Gary center will be headed. The complete shift for mail processing in northwest Indiana will happen sometime in 2015 — but Dando says an exact date hasn’t yet been determined.
The Postal Service’s nationwide “rationalization” plan was put “on hold” to allow Congress to act on the privately-run agency’s request for more operating funds. The additional funds have not yet arrived, so those plans were re-activated on June 30th. The study of Gary’s facility in February 2011 included a public hearing at which Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Congressman Pete Visclosky testified against closing the facility.
Dando says the huge network of postal processing and distribution centers was created decades ago, to handle the volume of first-class mail. But the amount of first-class mail going thru the system started declining in 2006, and it’s since decreased by 28-percent every year. The Postal Service is refocusing its mission lately on handling more parcels and has partnered with companies like Amazon to do their deliveries.
Dando says nothing will happen to Gary’s U-S Postal Service processing and distribution center at least through the end of this year. About 156 local jobs will be affected, with about 30-percent of the workers from Gary and the rest from across Northwest Indiana.
American Postal Workers Union officials are waiting until after a July 29th meeting in Indianapolis about the South Bend center closing and its consolidation with the Fort Wayne office. Dando says, in all consolidation cases, the Postal Service is committed to finding reassignment opportunities in other locations for affected employees.