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Postal Workers Protest Local Outsourcing, Branch Closures
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Scores of people march up and down the walkway in front of the Main post office, chanting slogans against the proposed cuts. American Postal Workers Union Local 232 President Michael Schmid says his union opposes plans to contract-out 54 truck driver jobs.
“One of the problems though is, 21 of those drivers are preference eligible veterans. And they can’t legally demote them. They’re protected under the law. But the postal service is disregarding those rights and doing it anyways,” says Schmid.
But Postal Service spokesperson Victor Dubina says his organization is honoring all union contracts.
“The people who are working in those positions right now, don’t lose their job with the postal service. They may be transferred to another position. [But] even if it’s a lower level position, they carry their salary with them. And they’re still employed. And in this economy, you know, I think that’s good news,” says Dubina.
At the protest, Local President Schmid says the union also objects to the potential closures of the post office branches on Busch Boulevard, in Linden, and in Olde Towne. He says that in some of those locations, the post offices provide vital resources to their communities.
“There may be lower income level neighborhoods where they might not have easy access to drive several miles to the next post office. They may not have internet access. They rely on the post office boxes in those stations,” says Schmid.
Dubina says that while the Postal Service is considering closing those locations, they are conducting a thorough study of the decision. But he says, because mail volume continues to drop, the Postal Service is considering ways to consolidate.
“All we know is we’ve got 33 stations and branches in the city of Columbus, we’ve got almost 300 other access points that people can use to get to postal services. So, what makes sense?”
The Postal Service is facing a $7 billion deficit for this fiscal year.