Plans to close South Bend USPS distribution back on for 2015 - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Plans to close South Bend USPS distribution back on for 2015

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It's part of a national consolidation plan. South Bend's mail will now be processed through Fort Wayne. Union reps warn the move will cost jobs and slow service.

USPS spokesperson for Northern Indiana, Mary Dando, says the Post Office is resuming what it calls "network rationalization efforts". In other words, they're combining mail processing facilities-meaning they are shuttering some facilities.

"In the last three years we have recorded financial losses of 26 billion...with a B," Dando said.

So far 141 facilities have been consolidated, including three in Indiana. Dando says once they've completed the plan the post office expects it will generate an additional 750 million dollars in annual savings. She couldn't tell us how many jobs it will impact, but executives at the South Bend plant had previously estimated around 60. Union reps have said it could be more like 180.

"Great disruption to them personally," Tony Flora, the President of the North Central Indiana AFLCIO, said.

Flora was a South Bend letter carrier for 30 years. He thinks the Post Office's financial crisis is "artificial".

"The postal service is putting billions of dollars each year into a trust fund for the health insurance of future retirees for people who haven't even been hired by the Post Office. No other business does that," Flora said.

Dando says she's not exactly sure yet how this will impact your mail delivery, but Flora thinks with the shut down it'll now take an extra day if you want to mail a letter to your neighbor in South Bend because first it will go to Fort Wayne and then it will come back here to South Bend.

"It's about lowering service standards, lowering a public service that's essential to our communities," Flora said.

Dando also couldn't tell us exactly when the South Bend plant will close, but it will definitely be after January 1st to avoid a slow down in delivering packages for the holidays.  

It's important to point out the closure will only affect the mail processing. The customer service and sales window on Michigan Street will stay open.

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