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.
Special Report: A Dog's Life
Mushers often get the most recognition for winning sled dog marathons like the Northland's John Beargrease, but as many of them will tell you, the dogs are the real athletes.
Measles Makes Comeback, Northland Medical Experts on Alert
Nearly 100 cases of measles have been diagnosed over the past month in the U.S. and the virus is creeping closer to the Northland with a case was confirmed on Wednesday in a 20-year-old male student at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities.
Minn. Bill Would Require Talking to Doctor before Skipping Vaccine
A Minnesota lawmaker wants parents who don't vaccinate their children to meet with a doctor first. Rep. Mike Freiberg has a bill that would require those parents to learn about vaccines and their impact on diseases from a health care provider.
More Loan Forgiveness Money Proposed for Medical Professionals
Lawmakers have introduced bills to add more people to the list who are eligible for loan forgiveness. The goal is to encourage medical professionals to work in rural areas.
A Group Effort: Duluth 'Blueprint for Safety' to Deal With Domestic Violence
Duluth leaders unveiled a new community collective for responding to domestic violence Thursday that builds upon the long-standing Duluth Model.