Forty-seven members of Congress have signed a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging him to stand by his commitment to keep more than 70 mail processing facilities open until next spring.
“We believe it would be imprudent of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to close or eliminate processing of mail, at any facility, ahead of schedule,” the May 20 letter [PDF] says.
The letter was written in response to management’s decision to close or consolidate 71 mail processing facilities this year that were scheduled for possible consolidation in 2014.
Maintaining operations at the mail processing centers would allow Congress to take action on postal reform legislation, the letter said. “It is critically important the Postal Service not preempt Congressional action by unilaterally moving forward with elimination of overnight delivery, allowing for major shutdowns across the country of mail processing facilities,” the letter said.
The letter was initiated by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and was signed by numerous legislators who represent districts where facilities are set to close ahead of the timeframe the USPS announced last year. Rep. DeLauro has spearheaded efforts to prevent the closure of the Southern Connecticut Mail Processing Facility, said Bob Johnson, president of the Greater Connecticut Area Local. Her office has worked closely with Northeast Region Coordinator John H. Dirzius and the local on these efforts, he said.
The letter echoes requests by the APWU urging the Postmaster General to honor the commitment made to communities, lawmakers and postal workers, and encouraging legislators to move quickly to prevent the USPS from implementing the consolidations ahead of schedule.
In a May 16 letter to affected local and state presidents, Executive Vice President Greg Bell noted, “The Postal Service continues to use the lack of action by Congress to justify moving forward with its mail processing consolidations plan. By accelerating plans to close mail processing centers, the Postal Service intends to make saving these facilities a moot point.”
President Cliff Guffey praised the letter. “We are pleased that these members of Congress have recognized the urgency of the situation,” he said. “Accelerating the consolidations will unnecessarily disrupt the lives of employees, harm communities, delay service, and drive away customers,” he said.
“If management is preparing to close your plant and your representative has not signed the letter, we encourage you to find out why,” he added.