U.S. Postal Service consolidation will affect Minnesota service, union says

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PHILADELPHIA—Proposed consolidations by the U.S. Postal Service will affect Minnesota, especially people who live in smaller communities and rural areas, members of the American Postal Workers Union said yesterday at their annual convention in Philadelphia.

Many Minnesotans were among the 3,000 delegates to the American Postal Workers Union convention who rallied Aug. 17 to protest Postal Service plans to consolidate 139 operations across the country, eliminating jobs and reducing service.

Consolidation is being driven by large corporations that presort their advertising and other materials. The union predicts that a reduction in operations will mean:
• Week-long delays in the delivery of mail;
• Mail deliveries taking place later in the day — sometimes even in the evening;
• Mail collection taking place earlier in the day;
• Loss of local postmarks.

“Consolidation will affect the entire state of Minnesota,” said Don Sevre, president of the Minnesota Postal Workers Union. People in smaller communities will have to drive farther to access postal services, while delays are like to occur just about everywhere, he said.

Included on the list of 139 facilities is the closing of sorting operations in Mankato, said Richard Haefner, clerk craft director for the Postal Workers local in Rochester. The Mankato operation would be consolidated with Rochester, a move the union opposes, he said.

“Every community deserves good mail service,” Haefner said.

Postal workers in Minnesota are participating in the APWU’s national campaign to “Save Our Service.” The union is airing TV and radio commercials in some parts of the country and members are distributing postcards and holding events to urge the public to contact their representatives in Congress.

“We hope to schedule a day when rallies will be held all around the country” including the Twin Cities, said Abe Abram, assistant clerk craft director for the Minneapolis Postal Workers Union. “People need to know this (consolidation) is happening.”

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