Closing Its Doors?

By: Whitney Daniel Email
By: Whitney Daniel Email

Clinton, Anderson County (WVLT) - A local mail distribution center may be closing it's doors, but workers there aren't the only ones forced out of the job...several postal contracts are being broken, too.

"I expect we will bounce back from this but anytime you lose 75- or 80-percent of your business at one time, it's gonna have an impact on people and their lives," Bill Phillips says.

Dozens of people lives and jobs are being affected by this decision...the termination of four contracts between the Postal Service, Heartland Transportation and W.E. Phillips Mail Contractors.

"It's been speculated that the "Southeast Area HASP" was going to close for the last couple of years," Phillips continues. "It was sort of shocking to receive the letter even though I had heard speculation of it."

Phillips' two companies haul U.S. Mail from point-A to point-B. Now he says that service he provides is moving to other cities... like Charlotte, Memphis and Atlanta.

"I can't see you going to Atlanta and hiring the same person in Atlanta that you can hire in Clinton or Knoxville, Tennessee," Phillips says.

Forty people will lose their jobs on Phillips' end, but the impact on the community will be felt by more than those forty -- gas stations, repair services, dealerships and trailer shops to name a few.

"We have everything that goes with the trucking industry and transportation industry right here in Knoxville that we deal with and if we're not hauling the contracts and we have to go elsewhere... then that means our business goes elsewhere," Phillips continues.

He's been trying to get the word out and prepare those businesses for the loss... Meanwhile, Phillips fears his employees will have a hard time replacing their job.

"You're talking about a very high quality job, excellent benefits," he says.

And with years of excellent work ethic... Bill Phillips is doing what he can to help them.

"Everybody that's been involved with that HASP has always been there for the postal service," he says. "If we can save these jobs, that's what we need to try to do."

Phillips is contracting legislators for guidance in saving his worker's jobs. April 8th will be the last business day for his company's contracts.

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