Reno, Nev (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- The United States Postal Service is considering sweeping changes. And it will affect the local processing plant on Vassar Street in Reno. A public meeting on the issue Thursday night on this issue turned very vocal when the "Occupy Reno" group made a surprise visit.
And when it was time for the public comment, the group stood up, united in one loud message:
"The loss of 177 jobs is unacceptable, you must seek alternative means to cutting costs... the Post Master General is earning $800,000 a year, we do not want our mail shipped to California!"
This was a surprise to the postal workers in attendance. I asked the President of the American Postal Workers Union what he thought. He says, who knows if that vocal effort will help his cause, but he welcomes their support on this issue.
"My biggest concern is the service impact to Northern Nevada," said union president Paul Maille.
There will no doubt be an impact on our mail service if the proposal to close the mail processing plant on Vassar, is approved.
But as USPS Plant Manager Jimmy Wolf says, it wouldn't just be Nevada to see delays in receiving mail.
"Everyone in the nation would have overnight mail changed from overnight to two days on first class mail," said Wolf.
It's nothing new that the USPS says it continues to lose tens of millions of dollars. And so closing the Vassar processing facility and sending mail -- local mail -- to West Sacramento before it's disseminated, would save $4.5 million a year, according to Wolf.
But what doesn't sit well with the employees in this room, is how they say we even got to this point. Maille and others are convinced a 2006 act passed by Congress has left the USPS paying $5.5 billion per year in pre-funding retirees health care.
"Until Congress relaxes that mandate, we're never gonna make any money," said Maille.
Wolf tried to reassure the crowd that this is only a proposal, and if it goes through, workers could relocate to West Sac or elsewhere, and keep their jobs.
But it was a tough sell.
"We'll take care of the jobs if they have to be outsourced, but we don't want service to be outsourced because it won't help the economy of Reno-Sparks," said Maille.
If the processing plant is closed, 177 jobs could be affected, but again, the USPS says they're willing to relocate those people. Still, it'd mean first class mail around the country would take longer.
A decision could come this month, or next.