Pickets warn mail service will decline

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA.(KPLC) -Postal workers in the Lake Charles area staged an informational picket today at the post office downtown. They are fighting the transfer of mail processing from Lake Charles to Lafayette.

They carried signs saying, "Don't let your mail service fall apart." The workers say that's what will happen if postal officials succeed in transferring local mail processing to Lafayette.

Workers picketing here say consolidation will hurt the local economy and slow mail delivery.  Union President Gene Nichols says, "It will have an effect of possibly delaying your mail up to one day if not two days."

Mail Clerk Gloria Shexnayder says, "It's not good for our economy. Our mail is going to be transported from Lafayette. If our mail is transferred from Lafayette and we have to work there, we have to uproot our families. I've got almost thirty years of service. I just don't want to leave the Lake Charles area."

The union members hope with public support postal officials can be persuaded to scrap the idea. Customers Archery and Lillian Stevens oppose sending part of the operation to Lafayette. Says Archery, "I think we need to keep it here. The more we can keep it in Lake Charles the more work there will be for everybody. So, I don't think we should be moving it to Lafayette. By the time they ship it there, all the mail over there and they've got to bring it back here, all that takes time."

His wife Lillian adds, "The economy here is so bad and here we're taking the jobs from our young people who need to be working here in Lake Charles. And it would delay our medicine. The older people need their medicine on time. If they ship it way to Lafayette we may not get our medicine for a couple of weeks.

A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service says no definite decision has been made on whether to relocate outgoing mail operations to Lafayette.  Postal Service spokesman McKinney Boyd in Dallas says, "An ongoing study is underway to determine if it is feasible to relocate the outgoing mail operations unit of the Lake Charles Post Office to...Lafayette."

He says it's because of a "significant decline in mail volume and a $7 billion dollar loss of revenue in the fiscal year...that ended in September."

He says the agency loses $21 million dollars a day. Again he points out if the relocation is approved no employees will lose their jobs.

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