Occupy Reno Occupies Post Office Meeting on Proposed Plant Closure

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Updated: 12/01/2011 11:28 pm

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.

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BigRedInNV - 12/5/2011 4:32 PM
2 Votes
The "Occupy" movement, is a desperate attempt for something for nothing. Get back to work, and you'll see your pockets getting money in them. Seems silly to complain about being broke, and you call in to go stomp your feet on some childish tyrant... There is work out there, if you are willing to do it...

ABear - 12/2/2011 11:42 PM
0 Votes
Your report was missing something. When you mentioned the pre-funding of retirement accounts, you FAILED to mention that the mandate says they have to pre-fund the retirement of workers 75 years out into the future. Future workers, who AREN'T EVEN BORN YET, are supposed to have their retirement pre-funded. This is insane. It isn't required in any corporation or any gov't agency ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET. This is simply and attempt to put the post office in the red so they are forced to cut back so PRIVATE companies like UPS can get more business. The fact that you DIDN'T report this speaks volumes. pffff! ABear - Occupy Reno - Union Member - Part of the 99%

occupy - 12/2/2011 1:17 PM
0 Votes
I am with Occupy Carson City & I am proud of the position that Occupy Reno took on behalf of the Postal Workers and the economy of Northern Nevada. Most of us are the 99%, and it is the Occupy Movement who are standing up for jobs, main street America, and economic equity. The movement took off because the 99% does not have a seat at the table, unlike the special interests and lobbyist of the 1%. So, the next time you drive by us while we protest in the streets, and you shout out epitaphs or give us the middle finger salute, remember that we stand for you and all of the 99%.

JeffnReno - 12/2/2011 6:51 AM
1 Vote
Doesn't Reno already have enough foreclosures? Aren't the businesses in this area already hurting? What will happen when 175 jobs that pay on average $50k a year leave this area. 175*50k= almost 9 million dollars that the local community will lose annually just from those jobs leaving. Now think about the additional loss to the tax base from that income and all the other businesses that will suffer as a result. The many other jobs that will not exist here as a result. Congress needs to act to stop this from happening everywhere and it needs to be stopped NOW!

Katnews4 - 12/1/2011 11:52 PM
1 Vote
Send more business to Calif? It doesn't make sense. It puts small businesses out of business, causes timely legal documents to be late, bills to be late and even later when it's bad weather. Why not just leave things the way they are - it works for Northern NV. Sacramento can't handle any more employees or mail on their end. Nevada can't handle any more people being out of work. If the Republicans and Democrats would work together, they can come up with a better way than taking away more jobs. The postal service is even willing to accept cutting Saturday deliveries. Most of those postal employees are vets. This is how we repay them? Keep the jobs in Nevada! No taxpayer money is used to operate the Postal Service and a few cents for a stamp is nothing after 239 years of service. Look up HR 1351 and get your representative to vote for it. It allows the postal service to use billions of dollars that they were REQUIRED to pre-fund benefits. If the USPS were allowed to use that money to get back on track, they could meet their financial obligations. Many of us prefer not to pay our bills online or to only send email cards. Many of us do it the old fashioned way, by licking a stamp and writing our words down for our loved ones to see in person. That's real communication, not an email card. If you want to keep the post office in business, pay your bills by mail, write a friend, send a special package. Go back to the personal way by showing someone you took that little extra step because you care. Yeah, I'm passionate about the post office but then I still love the stories about the pony express too. Think about it, what good will the closing of the post office do for you or your neighborhood?
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