The Impact of Plant Closures: Beyond the Postal Sphere

From the American Postal Workers Union:

apwulogoHow can we stop the usps from lowering service standards and closing or consolidating mail processing plants? How can we reach our communities? How can we motivate our legislators and neighborhood organizations? How can we reach the businesses in our cities and town?

We must let residents know the effect the reduction in service standards and the closure or consolidation of postal facilities in their communities will have on their town and on them.

Most of these groups don’t realize that they will also take a big hit if service standards are lowered and 82 mail processing plants are shuttered. They may feel sorry that postal workers will be forced to work outside the community. However, they have been told over and over that the USPS is broke and must make cuts. The Postal Service doesn’t dare tell members of the communities how they will be adversely affected.

Who is going to tell the truth? We have to. We have to reach our community and tell them the facts!

The facts are:

• The USPS is not broke. In the last two years, the Postal Service made a profit from operations.

• On Feb. 14, 2014, the USPS placed an “indefinite hold” on Phase 2 of the service standard changes and plant closures and consolidations it had announced in 2011.

• Four months later, on June 30, 2014, the Postmaster General lifted the “indefinite hold” and announced that service standards would be drastically reduced, effective Jan. 5, and 82 plants would be closed or consolidated.

• If carried out, the Postmaster General’s plans would further delay mail service across the country. This action would tarnish the great work that postal workers do every day to service their communities.

Quantifying the Effect

To quantify the effect the planned closures and consolidations would have on the communities whose mail processing facilities are targeted for closure or consolidation, the Postal Union Alliance commissioned studies of the economic impact. The Postal Union Alliance is comprised of the APWU, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA).

The Fiscal Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan research organization, conducted the studies. Five facilities were chosen, representing a cross-section of the 82 sites: Tucson, AZ; New Orleans, LA; Newburgh, NY; Youngstown, OH, and Huron, SD.

The studies demonstrate the negative consequences on the economies of the cities, towns, and communities that are slated to lose postal facilities in 2015. They show that job losses and economic hardship would extend far beyond postal employees if the cutbacks are carried out.

Communities would lose good, living-wage, union jobs. Businesses would suffer, and some could even close.

America’s proud, prompt service would disappear. The right, guaranteed by federal law, to receive equal, prompt, affordable and efficient mail service would become an empty promise.

Our members must be a part of the movement to educate our communities. We need you to work with your community to fight this injustice, and to take an active role in democracy.

What does that mean? Join your local union in setting up community meetings. Send letters to the editor of local newspapers. Help your local build community coalitions. Take part in saving your community, as well as saving the future of the Postal Service. When it’s time to retire, we want to leave good, living-wage jobs for our communities’ children and grandchildren.

We have to stand up, fight back and look out for each other.