The closure of Dayton’s mail-processing facility has been pushed back from June 1 to sometime in 2014, according to some local postal union members.
The Processing and Distribution Center, located at 1111 E. Fifth St., was slated to close this summer, at which time operations would be consolidated into a facility in Columbus.
But local employees said they were told this week by postal services plant management that those plans have been put on hold, and the closure has been delayed until sometime next year, said Thomas Davis III, the Dayton branch president of the National Mail Handlers Union Local 304, which has about 80 members at the center.
David Van Allen, Ohio spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said at this time, he cannot confirm or deny reports of the changing timeline.
On the agency’s website, the date of consolidation still remains June 1.
Davis said management never gave a reason for the postponement. But he said the news came as a relief to his members, who are not eager to be transferred to other positions, potentially at facilities that are long drives from Dayton.
“The longer they put it off, the better off we are,” he said. “Nobody wants their lives disrupted by having to uproot family and what not.”
The postal service has said the consolidation should not result in any layoffs, because workers will be moved to positions in other areas. The agency is offering buyouts to some workers.
Transferring the Dayton facility’s operations to Columbus would result in an annual savings of about $7.9 million, according to an Area Mail Processing study by the Postal Service.
The agency is consolidating many facilities nationwide in the hopes of addressing its huge operating deficit. The agency lost about $15.9 billion last fiscal year.
On Feb. 6, the agency announced it would end Saturday mail delivery beginning in early August, and the cost-cutting measure is expected to save about $2 billion annually. Packages will still be delivered on Saturdays.
Postal officials said the changes the agency is making have not impacted mail delivery. But some of the changes are noticeable.
Beginning in early February, mail originating out of Dayton is sent to Columbus where it is sorted and canceled. Dayton mail now has a Columbus postmark, unless customers specifically ask mail clerks at post offices to create a Dayton hand stamp.
Union officials said they still hold out hope that Congress can find a solution to the postal service’s budget woes that could spare some consolidations, including Dayton’s pending closure.