LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – According to a group of union postal workers, the Lake Charles mail-processing plant could start shutting its doors in a matter of days and relocate to Lafayette.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service is neither confirming nor denying this news.
The workers said they only found out about it last week. According to the workers, the Postal Service was looking for 30 volunteer employees interested in relocating to the new site in Lafayette.
"We are just finding this out ourselves," said one of the postal workers. "They knew way ahead of time they were going to take those (processing) machines out. They didn't even inform us."
The postal employees invited elected local officials as well as 7 News to one of their union meetings on Saturday.
Before coming to the meeting, local officials said they had no idea the Lake Charles mail-processing center was in danger of closing.
"I was completely blind-sided when I came to this meeting and found out they got so many days before they start losing employees," said State Rep. A.B. Franklin, Dist. 34.
"I can't understand why the city of Lake Charles would be marked as one of the markets for the post office to close when we have so much and we're tying to get so much more going for the city," said Lake Charles City Councilwoman Luvertha August.
The postal workers say if the plant closes, the 340,000 customers in Southwest Louisiana whose mail is sorted at the Lake Charles processing center before it's sent out to area post offices would likely see big delays in their delivery service.
A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service told 7 News on Sunday that should the Lake Charles processing center close, customers would continue to get universal service.
"As the Postal Service loses $21 million a day in lost mail volume and revenue, every facet of the organization is under review," said McKinney Boyd, USPS Spokesman. "At this time, I cannot confirm or deny the relocation of [the] Lake Charles mail-processing operation to Lafayette. If it is the case, local management will continue to maintain universal service for all of its customers."
Postal workers said during their union meeting on Saturday that many of them were near retirement and did not want to have to relocate their families. Others weren't even sure if jobs would even be available in Lafayette; still others were concerned they would be forced to move elsewhere.
According to the workers, processing operations would move to Lafayette as soon as Oct. 30th.
The elected officials who attended the meeting, including a representative for Congressman Charles Boustany, said they were going to work very quickly to find a way to block the Lake Charles processing center from closing up shop, if in fact that's what the Postal Service is looking to do.
7 News has learned that the Lake Charles plant may not be the only Louisiana mail processing center in danger of being relocated. According to a report in an Alexandria newspaper, the processing center there is at risk of being relocated to Shreveport.