LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Hundreds of East Texans are learning the results of a U.S. Postal Service survey. The plan, outlined Wednesday night, would move outgoing mail distribution from Lufkin to Beaumont.
"We want Lufkin mail to stay in Lufkin. We want the employees to stay where they're at," said Kalvin Mattox, American Postal Workers' Union President of the Lufkin-area.
"The Postal Service continues to lose money. That means that there's a strong possibility that if nothing is done, the Postal Service will run out of money by next fall," said McKinney Boyd, USPS spokesperson.
Making up for a daily loss of $23 million comes at a cost. Closing 3,700 local post offices and consolidating 250 plants, like the one in Lufkin.
"They're robbing Peter to pay Paul, that's the way I feel," said Sharon Farringer, retired rural carrier.
The bottom line is that many customers feel like they're being short-changed. The proposed solution is a tough sell for postal officials.
Boyd says post offices will remain open. "Customers will still be able to go into the post office to mail a letter, buy postage, and mail packages. That part of the postal service will remain."
While the U.S. Postal Service urges that residents won't see too much of a change in their service here in Lufkin, many East Texans disagree.
"Most of these people that are working this job, they're not going to be able to make that 136 mile trip one way to keep their job," said Farringer. Insiders, like the retired letter carrier have been through consolidations. Farringer and others fear the loss of jobs could impact the local economy.
"We don't need anyone to lose a job. It's very important that people have employment here and by moving this process some place else, that means we lose jobs here," said Deborah Hill, a Lufkin resident.
This public meeting is the last step required by law, before the processing plant is shipped out of Lufkin. Congress, however, has put a hold on any action while the plan is reviewed.
Lawmakers tell KTRE no changes will occur sooner than May 15. If Congress approves the plan, consolidation could begin within three months.