About two weeks ago, union leaders found out the Postal Service decided to downgrade three mail sorters and send them to other cities.

The postal service says the three other cities handle more mail and need the sorters more than they do in Roanoke.

Union leaders here say this will guarantee the demise of the Roanoke plant on Rutherford Avenue.

“That technology is approximately 20 years old,” Union President Carlton Cooper said.

Carlton Cooper heads the Roanoke chapter of the American Postal Workers Union.

He says moving these sorters is the Postal Service's way of forcing consolidation.

“We're being attacked internally now. This is a way to see that the Roanoke Processing Center fails on its timely delivery of mail,” Cooper said.

This facility has time guidelines it tries to meet for first class mail delivery.

Cooper said by downgrading the sorting machines, Roanoke will have a hard time meeting those guidelines, especially this time of year.

“Think about it, we're right here in the busiest time of our mailing season, right before Christmas, the next two weeks until the week of Christmas we'll process more mail than we do the whole year, and we have this madness going on,” Cooper said.

Cooper gave us an exclusive look at some of the documentation when he asked why the Postal Service was removing equipment.

“The USPS did not rely on any information for studies for future impact on possible mail delivery delays,” Cooper said.

On top of moving the sorters, Cooper told us and the USPS confirmed that four manager’s positions are being terminated in Roanoke.

The USPS says those managers will have first priority to get jobs elsewhere, but Cooper says it's all evidence of what could mean the end.

“Their plans with removing our state of the art equipment, eliminating managers' jobs, is to consolidate or close the Roanoke processing center, that way it's a guaranteed failure,” Cooper said.

Federal, State and local leaders are aware of these new developments and support anything to keep the facility open.

A representative from the Postal Service re-iterated that the topic is still being studied and says the USPS has a good track record of giving people new jobs elsewhere when these consolidations happen.

Carlton Cooper says that doesn't put him or many of his co-workers at ease.