09/11/2014 – If Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe thought his speech to a group of business mailers in Salt Lake City on Sept. 10 was going to be a quiet, uneventful affair, he was mistaken.
A coalition of unions and postal customers showed up outside the Grand America Hotel, the site of the speech, to protest the PMG’s plans to privatize postal operations and cut service to the people.
“We are here today to tell Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe that his destructive cutbacks to the American people’s Postal Service will not be tolerated,” Charlie Cash, president of Salt Lake City Area Local APWU, told media outlets.
Demonstrators carried “Wanted” posters bearing Donahoe’s image, as well as Stop Staples signs and posters supporting six-day mail delivery. The marchers were loud and their message was clear: The closure and consolidation of mail processing centers, the degradation of delivery standards, and the elimination of Saturday mail delivery are unacceptable to postal workers and the public.
Protesters blasted the PMG’s plans for the Provo mail processing center, which is slated for closure on Jan. 10, 2015. More than 50 employees are expected to be “excessed” to Salt Lake City – 49.5 miles to the north.
Provo’s mail will be divided among three mail sorting facilities – in Las Vegas, which is over 200 miles to the south; Grand Junction, CO, which is more than 150 miles to the east, and Salt Lake City.
Mail delivery will be drastically slowed as a result, Cash said.
Are There Really Savings?
The local president doubts that the closure of the Provo facility will save money. A brand new 308,000 square foot facility was built in Salt Lake City to house the consolidated operations. “The cost of the new building and lease is in the tens of millions of dollars. Based on the cost of the new building, moving equipment and furniture into this new facility, and additional mail transportation costs alone – the Service cannot justify the consolidation of Provo,” Cash said.
The demonstrators felt confident that they got their message out. Marchers passed out more than 200 flyers to pedestrians, people at the nearby train stations and drivers stopped at traffic lights. Members of the National Association of Letter Carriers, United Association (Pipefitters and Sprinkler Fitters), United Steelworkers, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, IBEW, and the Utah AFL-CIO participated in the event.
“If Postmaster General Donahoe thought he could come to Salt Lake City without being confronted – he was wrong! Postmaster Donahoe needs to resign or be fired so that a replacement who actually believes in a vibrant Postal Service can be put in as PMG,” Cash told demonstrators.