Job Cuts At Alpine Air Express If US Postal Service Close Processing Facilities


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Job Cuts At Alpine Air Express If US Postal Service Close Processing Facilities

By Mike Mitchell

October 14, 2011 - Alpine Air Express recently received notice that the U.S. Postal Service could be closing its processing facilities in Missoula and Kalispell, MT and terminating air-mail service to these cities.

The U.S. Postal Service is conducting a study to determine the costs and benefits of trucking the mail for all of western Montana to Spokane, WA for processing, versus continuing to process the mail in Missoula and Kalispell.

During the course of the study and should the proposal be implemented, residents of western Montana will suffer a delay of at least one day in sending and receiving their mail.

The closure of the Missoula and Kalispell facilities would also negatively impact Alpine's operations, as well as over 120 U.S. Postal Service employees and their families. Gene Mallette, CEO of Alpine Air, commented, "The U.S. Postal Service is exploring ways to cut costs and we respect and support their efforts. Specifically, Alpine Air has realigned six of its routes for the economic benefit of the U.S. Postal Service. We have also recently taken a voluntary 5% cut in pay, which will save the U.S. Postal Service $3.2 million over the remaining four years of our postal contracts.  

?However, Alpine Air supports the integrity of the mail service standards that have been in place for decades, assuring customers a relevant and timely mail product. Therefore, Alpine Air cannot support the closing of these two U.S. Postal facilities in Montana. There is no economic benefit to be gained by needlessly delaying mail delivery by at least a day for hundreds of thousands of Montana residents." 

Mr. Mallette added, "The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) requires the U.S. Postal Service to pay retiree health benefits 75 years into the future. That's $103.7 billion to cover future retirees, including many who haven't even been born yet.  

?No other business or agency is required to meet such an impossible mark. Consequently, the damage being inflicted on an otherwise profitable agency (USPS) is simply being promulgated by a crippling piece of legislation. Without support and changes from Congress, the U.S. Postal Service and its 640,000 employees face ongoing closures and layoffs, and millions of U.S. citizens face unnecessary service degradations, all during these fragile economic times."


Joe Etchart, Chairman of the Board, added, "The argument that online communication is the primary cause of the Postal Service's fiscal crisis is a fallacy. To begin with, 30% of the population, primarily the poor and the elderly, do not use the internet. And prior to the recession, 2006 and 2007 were the biggest years by volume in the Postal Service's history.  

?Even during these last four years the Postal Service had an operational profit of $700 million. Furthermore, in addition to the fiscal strangulation of the PAEA, two 2010 reports by the U.S. Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General document that the USPS was over-billed nearly $82 billion in pension payments from 1972-2009.

"All of this adds up to the fact that Congress must drop the pre-funding requirement of the PAEA or at least give the U.S. Postal Service credit for the $80+ billon they have overpaid into the Federal Retirement System. By simply correcting that inequity, Congress would relieve the USPS of the need to search for changes which compromise service with little or no benefit."

Founded in 1972, Alpine Aviation a wholly owned subsidiary of Alpine Air Express Inc., provides air cargo transportation services in the United States, and is currently operating in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. In addition to air cargo transportation, the Company flies charters for other cargo carriers, provides maintenance service on aircraft owned and operated by third parties, leases aircraft, and operates a First Officer Training Program.

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