Union leaders say a recent move by the United States Postal Service will keep the distribution center in Roanoke open: for now.

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act passed in 2006 and, in part, requires the Postal Service to fund retirement benefits 75 years into the future.

The USPS is in the middle of a multi-phase reduction in distribution facilities to cut costs since the number of First-Class post has dropped dramatically in the past decade.

The first phase closed the Lynchburg Distribution Facility.   

Union leaders here say the second phase could have been the beginning of the end for the Roanoke facility.

In late January, the USPS decided to postpone implementation of the second phase.

Part of the second phase was lengthening delivery standards for first class mail, which would have made consolidation Roanoke into Greensboro more likely.

"Without changing mail delivery standards, there's really not a possible way for them to close the Roanoke Processing Center," said Carlton Cooper, the President of the local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, "It's huge for our customers."

For now union leaders say they're cautiously optimistic that the Roanoke facility will stay open so long as phase two of the consolidation continues to be delayed.

We exchanged emails with a representative for the Postal Service.

He gave no specific answer as to why the postponement happened, but did say the second phase of consolidation will happen and

Postal service reps also reiterated that implementing phase two doesn't guarantee the Roanoke Distribution Center will close.

Union leaders disagree.