Home > Franken: "We Will be Saving the Duluth Mail Processing Center"
Franken: "We Will be Saving the Duluth Mail Processing Center"
FOX 21 News, KQDS-DT
Friday, May 4, 2012 - 8:31pm
DULUTH- U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) delivered a bit of good news at Duluth’s mail processing center on Friday."I believe that we will be saving the Duluth processing center and I think that is important for this entire area,” Franken said, before his tour of the facility.He makes his statements as a deadline nears to keep more than 100 people employed there.Franken's visit corresponds with a fresh Senate proposal that would dramatically change federal payments for the United States Postal Service. Ann McKie, a daily visitor to Duluth's facility, says its closure might destabilize her small business. "I'm an occupational therapist and I designed this thumb splint for children with cerebral palsy,” she said, showing off one of her products."Therapists will talk to insurance companies and are given only so much time so I try to give my products out right away,” McKie said.But the Postmaster General, pointing to daily losses of $25 million and $13 billion in debt, plans to increase delivery times by as much as three days for first class mail. The board of governors of USPS put out a statement saying, "Given volume losses we have experienced over the past five years along with expected future trends, it is totally inappropriate in these economic times to keep unneeded facilities open." They disagree with the language in Franken’s latest bill that would restrict post office closures "without the right of that community to appeal that decision to the postal regulatory commission." "That we would have no distribution center between International Falls and St. Paul was unacceptable,” Duluth Mayor Don Ness said. “And our senators stepped up and advocated on our behalf. So we are very thankful."Thank you letters sent to the senator also supports ending the $11 billion in payments the service needs to pay to the Federal Retirement Fund while returning half of the required pre–payments to that same fund. "[it’s] a requirement that was not required by any other agency of the government and a requirement that actuarially didn't need to be made,” Franken said.A U.S. House version of the bill must be must also be passed, but a mid-May cut-off date could stall senators’ plans of action despite concerns from the people using this place the most. "It would affect how quickly my product got out to people and that affects how I’m perceived by my customers,” McKie said, sending another package off to her customers. If the House does not pass a plan by May 15, USPS can move forward with plans to close certain buildings. Franken has asked the postal service for an extension to give the House more time. If you have a spin-off story you would like to pitch to Jacob, click here and message him!