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.
Blue Angels Practice For Weekend Air Show in Duluth
It's breathtaking and maybe a little nerve racking to watch, but it's a typical day at the office for Lieutenant Commander John Hiltz. The Blue Angels went up for a practice run Thursday. They're in town for the Duluth Air Show that kicks off on Saturday.
Northland Kids Hang Out With Navy Seals in Duluth
Navy Seals were grounded Thursday, but they still entertained kids with the Boy and Girls Club. The eight-member parachute team was suppose to drop in at the Heritage Sports Center for a few hundred kids, but our weather changed the plans. Other fun was had for Navy Week Duluth.
Sammy's Pizza Takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Sammy's Pizza gathered a group of it employees in downtown Duluth on Thursday to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The company is donating to the ALS Association, as well, and challenging other local businesses to follow suit.
Cable, Wis. Recruits Volunteers for International Competition
Cable, Wis., is hosting the 2015 International Paralympic Skiing World Championships in January. They kicked off their volunteer recruitment efforts on Thursday. They're expecting about 150 athletes from 20 countries.
Navy Divers Show Off Their Skills at Great Lakes Aquarium
It may be time for the Duluth Air Show, but not all the action is up in the sky. Navy divers stopped by the Great Lakes Aquarium to dive with some local fish and show off their skills to the public.