Updated: 07/02/2014 6:14 PM
Created: 07/02/2014 4:31 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
The Duluth mail processing center is scheduled to close in 2015 as part of a nationwide consolidation effort to help the United States Postal Service's continuing financial issue.
After facing closure in past years, Duluth's processing center was spared when 141 other centers closed around the country in 2012 and 2013. Now, in another effort to come back from $26 billion in financial losses over the past three years, the Postal Service is consolidating 82 more processing centers across the country- four of those in Minnesota.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken asked the Postal service Wednesday to reconsider, saying they'll harm the four Minnesota communities in Duluth, Bemidji, St. Cloud and Mankato. The Rochester processing center closed earlier in the consolidation process.
American Postal Workers Union Local President Todd Fawcett said cutting locations and the jobs that come with it isn't the answer.
"I don't think they've done anything to improve service," Fawcett said. "I don't think they've done anything to bring more money to the Postal Service. All they want to do is cut, cut, cut."
Fawcett estimates 70 people will lose their jobs when the processing center closes next year. Carl Folsom is a building equipment mechanic at the processing center and said the news came unexpectedly.
"Monday was like out of the blue," Folsom said. "At 1 p.m. we went into a meeting, and next thing we know, we're closing. No warning, no nothing."
Employees won't be the only ones affected. When the center closes, the city's mail will be processed in St. Paul, which Fawcett said could delay the process by 2-3 days.
"All the mail that's processed here locally is going to be trucked down to St. Paul where they will process it, and then they will truck it all the way back here," Fawcett said.
However, the Postal Service states that it doesn't expect major delays in mail delivery by consolidating centers, but Folsom thinks otherwise and said it's not ideal to sacrifice speed.
"We just became a second class city," Folsom said. "Everything else is getting faster in the world, and we're getting slower.
Dave Partenheimer of the United States Postal Service states the rationalization of its network in 2012 and 2013 was "highly successful" and continues to generate annual cost savings of nearly $865 million. The Postal Service expects this round of consolidations will generate an additional $750 million in annual savings.
Cable Community Successfully Stages Paralympic Championship
Blink, and you might miss tiny Cable in Wisconsin's Northwoods. For the past twelve days though, all eyes have been on this small town hosting one big event. Sunday was the last day of the International Paralympic Committee's Nordic World Championship in Cable for hundreds of athletes, volunteers and spectators...
Rural School Officials: Walker's Proposed Aid Won't Cut It
Gov. Scott Walker is prepared to spend millions more on rural schools, but some education officials say it won't be enough for some struggling districts.
Company Secures Financing to Continue Plans for UP Mine
A company that plans to develop a gold and zinc mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula says it has secured financing to continue the process of obtaining permits.
At Minn. Capitol, Plans Abound for Addressing Rural Health Care
Minnesota lawmakers want to address a looming shortage of health care professionals. The state is expected to be short somewhere between 800 and a few thousand doctors over the next decade, with the shortages most acute in rural areas.
Wisc. Republican Lawmaker Brings Back GPS Tracking Bill
A Republican lawmaker has reintroduced a bill that would outlaw using GPS to secretly track someone. Under Rep. Adam Neylon's bill, anyone who secretly placing a GPS device on another person's vehicle would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail and $10,000 in fines.