After the jump you'll find a copy of a letter sent on July 10 "to the citizens of Dallas, TX" by the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, in which union president Larry Crawford warns of the United States Postal Service's plan to close the Dallas Main Post Office on I-30, just west of downtown. In the missive, sent to me this morning by a panicked Friend of Unfair Park, Crawford asks residents to contact their elected officials before today, which is the final day of public comments -- even though you probably didn't know about the first day of public comments, much less a meeting held at Mountain View College two weeks ago.
Is this for real, as Shawn Williams wondered on Dallas South a few days ago? Well ...
A few politicians and their reps to whom I spoke this morning didn't want to say anything on the record, suggesting something mysterious was indeed going down. And a USPS marketing representative to whom I spoke this morning said something about moving the processing facilities from Dallas to Coppell.
(Update at 1:37 p.m.: Eddie Bernice Johnson's office, contacted earlier today by Unfair Park, just sent along this statement from the congresswoman: "My office has been in contact with the United States Postal Service, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the American Postal Workers Union and Dallas city officials to ensure that all parties have all the relevant information, and that the public stays informed of the proposed changes to the postal service operations in North Texas.")
But that was before I spoke with McKinney Boyd, the USPS's spokesman for Dallas, who wanted to "set the record straight." In short, he says, the USPS, which is "hemorrhaging" money, is conducting a study concerning one operation among many in the Dallas Main Post Office and the Dallas plant, which operate under one very large roof on the DFW Turnpike. Just a study. Nothing more.
Tell you what: Let's jump for The Official Word, or close enough -- a Q&A with McKinney Boyd.
So, McKinney, what's going on?
First and foremost, let me set the record straight. We are not relocating the Dallas Main Post Office. We are not relocating the Dallas plant. That are two separate entities in one building: Dallas Main Post office and the Dallas plant are united. This is what we're doing as we speak: We're conducting a study, a proposal, comparing one operation. In the Dallas plant there are a number of operations, and we're comparing one operation in Dallas to a similar operation at the Coppell plant. And what we're trying to do, because both are understaffed, is we're looking at consolidating both and relocating that operation from the Dallas plant to the North Texas plant in Coppell.
What is the operation that's the subject of study?
It's called the outgoing cancellation mail operation. That means if you live in Dallas and you drop a piece of mail in a collection box, it'll be collected, transported to North Texas, postmarked and sent back to a Dallas station the same night and delivered the next day by a Dallas city carrier.
So why, then, is the union so upset about this? (The letter is below.)
It's all ... I'm going to be nice about this ... this is erroneous information they have created to generate interest. We've had meetings with them and got public input on July 1 at Mountain View. We explained this to them in detail and answered questions for an hour and 54 minutes about this issue. ... This is just as study. We're gathering information. No decision has been made. But employees sometimes take it to another level.
If there is indeed a consolidation, will people lose their jobs?
We don't plan to layoff any employee, and no employee will lose their job. If we combine the two units, what we will do is eliminate 117 positions. And we will also, by merging these two units, save $9.2 million a year. You gotta understand some numbers: We're losing $20 million a day as an organization, and from October 1 till today, we lost $3.3 billion. We're hemorrhaging every day, so the organization has to do something to provide service and still use cost-cutting measures, and that's what we're looking at.
Wait. No layoffs, and a loss of 117 positions? Explain.
Eliminating positions is not laying off employees, because here's what we'll do. We may have similar positions at each location, and when they relocate from Dallas to North Texas, we have vacancies there where they'll be able to be employed and receive the same salary and same fringe benefits. The only impact, the only adverse impact this may have on an employee, unlike what's happening in the economy, they may be inconvenienced by driving an extra 20 miles. But to have a salary and benefits in this economy? You have a lot fo the thankful for.
What's this about public comments? Why are they necessary?
We allowed those customers who couldn't make it July 1, we allowed them to write any publc comment concerning the study. We'll take all of them and put them in this study, and they will be considered as part of the study.
When will a decision be made concerning the consolidation of operations?
Anywhere between 90 and 120 days from now. And whatever recision is made, the United States Postal Service will make an announcement.
Postal Workers Union Letter