Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

More Controversy at the Bristol VA/TN Post Office

Lewis Loflin

For some time a bitter debate has raged over moving work from the Bristol Post Office to Johnson City. As is well known the Postal Service is barely on life support losing billions of dollars and considering shuttering many rural branches and ending Saturday delivery. The USPS announced in April all processing would go to Johnson City. (The retail unit and PO Box section will remain open at the Bristol facility. Local mail service will not be affected.) Now Tri-Cities in general might get the axe too. To quote the Kingsport Times-News September 16, 2011:

Johnson City residents could soon be mailing letters headed only blocks away that would have to be processed in Knoxville before it returns here, and more than 60 jobs may be in jeopardy.

The U.S. Postal Service plans to conduct a study at the Johnson City Customer Service Mail Processing Center at 530 E. Main St. to examine the feasibility of consolidating its operations into Knoxville's processing and distribution center...

The study should be completed by 2012. Mail volume has nose-dived 43 billion pieces in five years and still going down due mainly to the Internet and other electronic gateways. First-Class Mail has dropped 25 percent. They expect no recovery even if the economy ever recovers. They are supposed to hold a public hearing that I was told "is a legal formality." The Postal Service receives no tax dollars.

U.S.P.S. faces hostile Residents on plan to relocate post office work

by Lewis Loflin

Update: It's been announced in 2011 the post office will be moving the work to Johnson City.

Bristol TN: Everyone cries about cost overruns and waste with the Postal Service, but they also scream and hiss when they try fix the problem. Joseph Meimann district manager for the Postal Service's Appalachian District found this out when he appeared at a local high school to explain the decision to relocate some postal jobs. "It's all about the best use of our facilities." The Bristol and Johnson City mail plants are only 26 miles apart and many of the functions at Bristol are duplicated in Johnson City. Its Sixth Street facility employs about 50 people and 14 jobs will be lost. This is supposed to save $750,000. Let's see $750,000 divided by 14 equals $53,751 per job.

Yet "hissing" residents want no part of it: "You say this will save $750,000, but how much is this dog-and-pony show costing?" Bristol, Tenn. resident Hugh Cobb asked Meimann, to applause and roars from an estimated 160 people attending the public hearing. This went on for two hours according to the local press. To quote "And crowd members often loudly groaned and hissed in frustration when Meimann would frequently reply that the Postal Service was still studying the proposal and hadn't made a final decision - while declining to say when one might be reached." BHC January 14, 2010

Return History, Causes of Poverty in Southwest Virginia

Congressman Rick Boucher and President Obama

To quote Lenowisco Broadband Study Warned against Call Centers (PDF file):

"The region has been replacing traditional (better paying) manufacturing jobs with (low paying subsidized) call center jobs, which provide limited advancement and work opportunities. Call centers represent the factory floor of the Knowledge Economy; they are an important part of a diversified economic development strategy, but the region must be careful not to rely too heavily on them, as the work is easily moved to other regions and/or other countries."
No US Job Creation 1999-2009

Lenowisco Broadband Study Warned against Call Centers (PDF file)

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