Postal Workers Say Sorting Switch Will Slow Mail

Plan Would Close Bloomington Sorting Operation

Bloomington postal workers protested Tuesday against a proposed cost-saving plan they said will delay the mail.

The United States Postal Service's plan would shut down the sorting operation in Bloomington, instead trucking mail overnight to Indianapolis to be sorted, processed and then shipped back for delivery, 6News' Derrik Thomas reported.

Workers said the same idea was tried back in the early 1990s and was unsuccessful. But USPS officials said better technology will make the process more efficient.

"What used to take 70 people to process 35,000 pieces of mail, we can do it now with two people, because automated equipment allows us to do that," said spokeswoman Kim Yates.

Still, union officials said they're worried about the loss of the personal touch.

"We had a customer drop a piece of mail in a box Monday that they wanted back for some reason. We were able to give it back to them. That local service would be lost if they move the mail up to Indianapolis," said union spokesman Kevin McCaffery.

USPS officials said the plan could save an estimated $1.1 million. Some customers said they aren't convinced.

"When they make claims of millions of dollars in savings I'm always skeptical," said Brady Hargrove. "I think it is nearly impossible to predict in advance how much money you can save or lose."

The changes would also move 14 postal workers to jobs at other post office locations.

A public meeting to discuss the issue is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Bloomington Convention Center.

The struggling USPS said it has lost $4.5 billion so far this year.