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Postal Service moving Victoria mail processing operations to Corpus Christi

By Sonny Long
Feb. 11, 2011 at 5 p.m.
Updated Feb. 10, 2011 at 8:11 p.m.


VICTORIA POST OFFICE LOCATIONS312 S. Main St.

2804 Sam Houston Drive

4402 N. Laurent St.

The announcement Friday that inbound mail processing operations are being moved from Victoria to Corpus Christi came as no shock to Rachel Flores or her post office co-workers.

"We've been hearing about this for a long time," said Flores, a 30-year veteran of the post office who serves as president of the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union. "I think it's been a done deal."

MAIL SERVICE UNAFFECTED

Local mail service will not be affected by the move and retail service for purchasing stamps and other postal products will continue to be available at all Victoria Post Office locations, according to a U.S. Postal Service news release.

The move will also not affect service in the 33 communities in the 779 Zip Code, said Sam Bolen, U.S. Postal Service Rio Grande District public information officer.

Large volume business mail in Victoria will also be unaffected by the move. The Business Mail Entry Unit, located at the Victoria Main Post Office, 312 S. Main St., will remain open, according to the news release.

THE STUDY

The decision to make the move was made after a Postal Service study that began in September.

The Victoria Customer Service Mail Processing Center will be closed after the transfer of operations is completed, expected to be by July, according to the news release.

The move of the inbound mail processing completes consolidation of the operations. Processing of outbound mail was moved from Victoria to Corpus Christi in 1992.

The results of the Area Mail Processing Study is another point of contention for Flores and the union. An estimated savings of $1.5 million was mentioned at a public hearing in December on the proposed move.

"We haven't seen the results of the study," she said. "We've asked to see it. I asked again Friday morning about it and was told they (representatives from the district office) hadn't seen it either, but it's been approved."

Asked about the availability of the study, Bolen said, "The AMP study is not available for public dissemination. A redacted copy of the study is provided to our unions upon request."

JOBS

Affected career employees will be reassigned to the Corpus Christi Processing and Distribution Center or to other vacant positions, according to the news release.

Between 10 and 12 Victoria employees will be affected by the change.

"You have your life here. You have your family here. You've given everything to this post office. That's what is so hard," said Flores. "And now they make this move and say they need more people in Corpus Christi. Why not here? It's a bad decision."

"I understand our employees' concern over this move," said district manager Manuel Arguello. "But the consolidation makes sense given the fiscal realities.

"We must take action to reduce the size of our mail processing network. Consolidating operations and placing our people where we need them is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation," said Arguello citing the decline in mail volume.

THE ECONOMY

Continuing economic pressures and migration of mail to electronic media has had a significant adverse impact on mail volumes and operating revenues, according to a Postal Service news release last year.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Flores said most employees were not surprised by the announcement.

"We expected it," she said. "What we are shocked about is that they can take jobs away without proof as to why."

Victoria postmaster Ken Epley was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment.

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