400 To Lose Their Jobs in Selma

May 14, 2008 7:39:26 PM PDT
A Valley town will soon take a major economic hit. The city of Selma stands to lose about 400 jobs because of cutbacks by the US Postal Service. 126 full-time employees will be offered work transfers by the post office. But 273 workers at the Remote Encoding Center in Selma now face an uncertain future.

The high-tech scanners which sort our daily mail have become so effective they've made some jobs obsolete.

Employees of a Selma postal facility were stunned to hear their service would no longer be required. US Postal Service spokesman Guy Ruiz said "They're being informed today that this Remote Encoding Center in Selma will be closed November 14th."

The bad news spread quickly as many employees immediately phoned family members. Jim Bonilla said "People have different emotions. It's just a sad day for the place you know."

Employees say they were told from the beginning this facility was only offering temporary work, perhaps for five years. It stayed open for ten but that doesn't ease the pain. Supervisor Lysa Hart said "Everybody's still pretty somber. They're trying to sink in. They're quiet. Alot of the questions will start coming in tomorrow and the day after."

The center in Selma processes images of mail which can't be read at other post offices. Ruiz said "Well its hand-written letters, cursive writing, illegible writing."

A decade ago the Postal Service operated 55 facilities. Now the number is down to six. Hart said "Every year we've been on edge for each facility. Are we gonna be the one that closes next?" Now they know the answer. Full-time employees will get offers to transfer but temporary workers won't. Ruiz said "A little more vague because we couldn't make any promises to them. All we could tell them was what we could do for you. We're gonna try to find you a job by training you for out-placement."


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