Eric Douglas Published

USPS Releases Initial Findings For Charleston Processing Center Without Public Hearing

Postal center signpost in front of a fence and a building
W.Va. Mail Processing and Distribution Center
Randy Yohe/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Without holding the public meeting to receive comment on potential changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS) Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in South Charleston, the organization has released its initial findings that recommend restructuring, updating equipment and some layoffs.

The Mail Processing Facility Review’s (MPFR) initial findings for West Virginia can be viewed here.

“The initial results of the facility review support the business case for keeping the Charleston P&DC open and modernizing the facility as a Local Processing Center (LPC) with simplified processes and standardized layouts,” the initial findings read. “The LPC will also be fitted with state-of-the-art sorting equipment that will improve delivery services. We plan to operate the following sorting equipment in this facility.” 

Many have raised concerns that package processing would be moving out of state, and if these recommendations are approved, that will be true.

“Additionally, the business case supports transferring mail processing outgoing operations to the Pittsburgh P&DC and Pennwood Place P&DC. Currently, a majority of mail and packages are destined outside of the Charleston area to the rest of the world.”

The center currently employees about 800 people, but the findings only suggest about 25 will be laid off. 

“Due to the transfer of outgoing operations, an estimated net decrease of 24 craft and one management positions are projected once the initiative is completed. All bargaining employee reassignments will be made in accordance with the respective collective bargaining agreements.”

On Jan. 12, 2024, the USPS announced a public meeting for Jan. 30, 2024, but that was postponed by the USPS last Friday, saying the organization needed more time to finalize their recommendations. 

A date for the rescheduled meeting has not been released, but the organization said it would be in the next several weeks.

At the time, the Charleston Postal Workers Union Local 133 released a statement that read in part:

“Local union officials have persistently reached out to the postal service in efforts to obtain information they were to release on Jan. 23, 2024, to no avail. Numerous grievances have been filed throughout this MPFR process due to the postal service’s inability to abide by their handbooks and manuals that govern such movement. We will continue to work with our elected officials, the AFL-CIO and affiliate unions in the state to fight the Postal Service plans on moving your mail to Pittsburgh to be processed. The public survey is still available to take, and we encourage everyone to do so.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., released the following statement:  

“I have reviewed USPS’s initial findings of the Processing and Distribution Center in Charleston, and while I am glad to see that they have decided to invest in new equipment and upgrades to the facility, I am disappointed to see that they believe that some jobs being transferred to other locations — even if it is less than what was rumored — would be a positive step. I also would have hoped the USPS would have held their public meeting as scheduled on Jan. 30. I still believe that the community deserves to be heard, and I hope that USPS will take that feedback into consideration before any final decisions are made. In the meantime, I urge USPS to listen at the required upcoming public meeting and take into account the importance of this facility to the community as they work to produce their final decisions.”

The press release noted that Capito has remained active on this issue and has spoken personally with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and other local officials on the matter. DeJoy is serving a 10-year term as Postmaster General and was appointed by former President Donald Trump.

She wrote a letter in December 2023 pressing DeJoy for clarity regarding the future of the facility, as well as stressed the importance of the center to West Virginia and its employees. Click here to read the letter.

Capito later expressed her disappointment in the response from USPS, which can be found here.

To comment on the USPS facility, click here to submit written comments. All written comments must be received by Feb. 29, 2024.