Local News

Raleigh Postal Union Drops Lawsuit

Posted November 21, 2001

— A postal workers' union has withdrawn the lawsuit it filed following last week's discovery of a trace of anthrax within a mail distribution center here.

The American Postal Workers Union decided Tuesday to end the legal action after additional state tests at the Westgate center released Monday afternoon were negative for anthrax.

Union officials did not think test results would be back so soon when they decided to sue last week, said Travis Payne, the union's Raleigh lawyer.

The federal lawsuit filed Monday - just before the test results were released - asked for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction closing the center until it was proved safe. It asked that employees be placed on paid leave while the building was closed.

``Certainly, had any of the test results come back positive, we would have pursued closing the facility down,'' Payne said.

Late last week, state health officials detected a ``medically insignificant'' trace of anthrax on a shrink-wrapped plastic cover on a pallet of boxed stamps. The stamps had come from the Washington, D.C., mail center where two postal employees had died after contracting inhalation anthrax.

The dismissal was filed late Tuesday afternoon.

The lawsuit also asked the U.S. Postal Service to pay for medical testing of employees who worked near a pallet of stamps contaminated with anthrax and for antibiotics for workers who wanted them. Payne said the union now will pursue those issues through the grievance process.

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