Virginia Congressmen confirm USPS OIG to review Roanoke plant consolidation

Roanoke, June 22, 2016

Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (VA- 06) and Morgan Griffith (VA-09) today announced the United States Postal Service (USPS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has confirmed it has begun a review of the consolidation of the Roanoke Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) mail processing operations into the Greensboro P&DC.

After Goodlatte and Griffith began receiving a significant increase in communications regarding lost or delayed mail, the timing of which strongly suggested a connection to the closing of the Roanoke processing facility, on May 26, 2016, they sent a letter to the USPS OIG requesting an audit.  The audit was requested to review the mail processing operations to determine whether constituents’ mail is being processed in a timely manner. The Congressmen also requested that the audit determine if a business case exists to support this particular consolidation, given that USPS has cited cost savings to support network consolidations. Click here to view the letter.

The USPS OIG has confirmed that such a review is underway, and indicated the final report is expected in December 2016.

Update-on-future-of-mail-sorting-center-in-RoanokeGoodlatte and Griffith said, “Folks in Southwest Virginia deserve quality, efficient, and cost effective postal service, just like those living in larger urban areas.  We remain troubled about the timeliness and quality of service for mail delivery in our districts, and thank the Inspector General for investigating our concerns.  We are also concerned that the Postal Service may have made arbitrary and speculative decisions which ultimately affect the reliability of its service in the Roanoke region, and possibly in other rural areas around the nation.  We are pleased an audit is underway, and look forward to thoroughly reviewing the final report.”

Prior to moving mail processing and jobs to Greensboro, Goodlatte and Griffith joined Congressman Robert Hurt (VA-05) and Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) in sending a letter to the Postmaster General outlining their concerns with the decision to close the Roanoke P&DC.  In their letter, the lawmakers expressed their doubts that this action would improve the financial condition of the USPS.  They also noted that the decision would leave Central, Western, and Southwest Virginia devoid of reliable mail processing, and voiced their concerns that the Greensboro facility would not be able to handle the timely processing and distribution of Virginians’ mail.

Congressman asks constituents: Got Mail?

From Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE):

At my last town hall meeting in Bellevue, we had a robust discussion about the challenges facing America. A big surprise came afterward. A constituent told me he had received the invitation to the meeting that same day. Although the invitation had been sent in a timely manner, most people in the community saw it when they returned home from work—after the event. I found the whole thing quite embarrassing.

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USPS Commits to Take Fresh Look at Plans to close Tucson P&DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Postal Service (USPS) on Friday responded to U.S. Rep. McSally’s calls to update studies used to propose the consolidation of postal facilities around the country, including the Cherrybell Postal Processing facility in Tucson. In the response, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman confirmed that the current studies will be updated and reviewed before any future decisions are made, something Rep. McSally called for in a letter earlier this month. The USPS response also confirmed that previous plans to close down facilities continue to be deferred.

“I’m pleased to see the Postal Service commit to take a fresh look at the situation around the country before making any new decisions related to Cherrybell,” said Rep. McSally. “This commitment is what we fought for last year in appropriations legislation and earlier this month, and is an important victory for Southern Arizona. I’ve worked to highlight in Congress and locally the devastating impact closing Cherrybell would have. As the Postal Service moves forward to revisit its information, I’ll continue to advocate for our community’s needs.”

Earlier this month, Rep. McSally was joined by 33 lawmakers in a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan calling for a new look at plans related to the consolidation of postal facilities around the country. The letter followed Rep. McSally’s successful efforts to include in appropriations legislation that was signed into law language encouraging the Postal Service to update past studies used in its decision-making.

Last year, Rep. McSally participated in a roundtable with Councilmember Richard Fimbres and local leaders to coordinate local and federal efforts in support of the Cherrybell Facility’s continued operation. Rep. McSally also toured the Cherrybell Processing Center and led a bipartisan effort by members of the Arizona delegation to call on Postmaster General Brennan to see the facility’s impacts first-hand.

A PDF of the Postal Service’s response can be found HERE.

Video: Idaho congressman says slow mail service is big problem in Pocatello

When Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson met with local officials in Pocatello recently, he heard about issues like prison overcrowding and fears of what a Ted Cruz presidency would mean for local federal facilities- but the biggest issue on everyone’s mind? Deteriorating mail service following the closure of the Pocatello processing center:

The biggest complaint commissioners had was the recent closure of the mail processing facility in Pocatello. Their concerns were not only the slow mail, but that important mail is not getting delivered in a timely manner. They worry about people awaiting important medical or legal documents that are slow in coming.

Simpson said it’s something he’s currently working on with the U.S. Postal Service. He said he doesn’t think the postal service realizes just how slow the mail has become, or the effects its had on the county since moving to Salt Lake City.

“They said originally that wouldn’t happen,” said Simpson. “That you wouldn’t notice a difference in the speed or delivery of mail or anything else like that. But that’s been a real problem. It’s been a problem here, as the commissioners pointed out, that with mail ballots and mail-in election ballots that have to be here, are they going to get here in time to be counted?”

Simpson said the mail issue is one he’s going to keep working to resolve.

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Source: Rep. Mike Simpson visits Pocatello | News – Home

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Video: Possible closure of Cherrybell mail center has Tucson voters concerned

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -Many Tucson residents are concerned their votes in the upcoming Arizona presidential primary election will not be counted if the Cherrybell mail center, located near East 22nd Street and South Kino Parkway, closes.

The center has kept their doors open despite budget issues that were announced last summer, but their future has yet to be determined.

Officials from the Pima County Recorder’s Office said they believe closing the office would delay service and cause some mail-in ballots to not be counted.

Tucson News Now

Source: Possible closure of Cherrybell mail center has Tucson voters con – Tucson News Now

APWU: Important Arbitration Win in Fight Against Plant Closures and Consolidations

12/04/2015 – Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled on Dec. 3, 2015, that the American Postal Workers Union and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union may now go forward with their Step 4 grievances challenging the Postal Service’s decision to close or consolidate approximately 82 mail processing facilities starting January of 2015. The grievances had contended that the consolidations violated the PO-408 Handbook, Closures and Consolidations Area Mail Processing (AMP) Guidelines.

apwulogoThe USPS challenged the grievances stating the PO-408 was not a handbook covered by Article 19. The arbitrator agreed that the PO-408 has a direct relationship with “wages, hours or working conditions” and the hearing on the merits can go forward.

The hearing took place on April 6, 2015, brought forth by the NPMHU with the APWU as an intervenor.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein pointed to “the great work and preparation that the National Mail Handlers Union put forth as well as the essential efforts by the APWU team led by case officer Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy.”

Szeredy noted, “This is an enormous win, and we are now eager to get the merits heard before any further consolidations occur.”

Source: Important Arbitration Win in Fight Against Plant Closures and Consolidations | APWU

PMG meets with Portland postal protestors

From Portland Communities and Postal Workers United:

Postmaster General Megan Brennan met briefly with protesters after giving a speech to a conference of Portland mailers yesterday.  Rev. John Schwiebert and retired letter carrier Jamie Partridge, leaders of Portland Communities and Postal Workers United, were invited in from the picket line to discuss their demands with the PMG. “We appreciate the willingness of the new Postmaster General to meet with community groups impacted by cuts, closures and delay of the mail,” said Schwiebert.  “We’ll see if our pleas, petitions and postcards result in preserving the people’s postal service.”

Displaying Jamie John Megan.jpgA chanting and singing group of several dozen postal workers, retirees and postal customers held banners and signs reading “No Closures, No Cuts” and “Mail Delay, Not OK” on the sidewalk outside the Portland Art Museum, site of the annual meeting of the Greater Portland Postal Customers Council.   Meeting attendees received copies of an Open Letter to the Postmaster General” which outlined PCPWU concerns about mail delay and reduced service standards related to mail processing plant closures and drastic cuts in rural post office hours.

Since 2007, the US Postal Service has eliminated 155,000 jobs while closing 153 (almost half, including Salem and Pendleton) its mail plants and reducing service at half the nation’s post offices.  Currently the PMG is considering shuttering another 68 mail plants, including Bend and Springfield in Oregon, plus reducing hours at 5,000 more rural post offices, including 37 in Oregon.  The previous PMG attempted to cut one day of delivery and eliminate at-the-door delivery.

“The postal service is not broke,” said Partridge.  “But the agenda of the 1% and their friends in Congress is to cripple the USPS, to soften it up for union busting and privatization.  The USPS is a $67 billion annual business with over $100 billion surplus in its pension and retiree health benefit funds, over 30,000 post offices and 200,000 vehicles.  We’re facing a huge transfer of public wealth to Wall Street investors.”

Recent small victories in the struggle to save the postal service have included a one year moratorium on mail plant closures and a National Labor Relations Board charge against the USPS to stop outsourcing postal retail jobs to Staples Office Supply stores.

Portland Communities and Postal Workers United is part of a national network (Communities and Postal Workers United) to defend and enhance the US Postal Service.

Senator Expresses Concern Over Erie Mail Delivery Delays

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the United States Postal Service and Postmaster General Megan Brennan to look into the noticeable mail delivery delays since the consolidation of the Processing and Distribution Facility in Erie, Pennsylvania. Members of the community have reported serious delays, resulting in penalties and late fees due to the delayed delivery of bills, mortgage payments, and related mail.

“As the USPS considers future decisions and reforms to improve cost-savings, I ask that you please take into consideration the viewpoints of your customers and the problems they have faced due to the recent consolidation and pending closure,” Senator Casey wrote. “I ask that you work on collecting this data and that your future decisions ensure that customers’ needs and expectations continue to be met.” Continue reading

Arizona Congressman to Re-Introduce Bill Preventing Post Office Closures In High-Growth ZIP Codes

Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) is set to introduce legislation to prevent the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from closing any post office or postal facility that serves a high-growth ZIP code – including the facility at Tucson/Cherry Bell – which is slated for closure in 2016, moving all Arizona postal sorting to a single center in Phoenix.

Grijalva’s bill would require USPS officials to work with the Department of Commerce – which conducts the U.S. Census and keeps annual demographic data – to ensure that no closure would negatively impact a “high growth” ZIP code, as defined by Commerce officials at the beginning of each year.

“Closing postal facilities in high-growth localities like Tucson threatens jobs and undermines timely delivery in the exact places where we should be doing the opposite,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Our goal should be to catalyze economic development, not stunt it in the fastest growing population centers in the country. The employees of Cherrybell, residents and businesses of Tucson, and the people of Arizona deserve better than haphazard facility closures that undermine the basic services of our society.”

Rep. Grijalva first introduced this legislation in 2012, and continues to fight for its passage. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).