08.13.20

SCHUMER REVEALS: WESTERN NEW YORK’S POSTAL HUBS—ALONG WITH THEIR NEARLY 6100 TOTAL WORKERS & DOOR-TO-DOOR SERVICES—FACE A GIANT AXE UNLESS ADMIN. FINALLY MEETS IN THE MIDDLE & NEGOTIATES ON ‘COVID-4’; SENATOR ONCE AGAIN STANDS UP FOR DISTRIBUTION CENTER WORKERS, MAIL CARRIERS, NEIGHBORHOOD POST OFFICES & ADVOCATES FOR CRITICAL SERVICES VITAL TO COMMUNITIES AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY

Western New York Is Home To 3 Postal Distribution Centers, Including Buffalo Facility Schumer Fought To Save In 2012—BUT Without Coronavirus Fed Relief, WNY’s Postal Engine Could Fizzle, Impacting Election, Jobs, Businesses & Everyday Services Like Mail Pickup And Prescription Deliveries   

Schumer Just Met 1-On-1 With Postmaster & Warned Against Inaction; Senator Cited Delayed Medications, Paychecks, Influx Of Mail-In Ballots & More In Plea To Get Stamp Of Approval On WNY USPS Funds 

Schumer: Even A “Back Of The Envelope” Calculation Shows Vital Nature Of USPS Operations In WNY 

Mere days after a 1:1 meeting with USPS postmaster general Louis DeJoy, U..S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that Western New York’s postal hub, along with the region’s 6,093 USPS workers and ordinary door-to-door services could face a giant axe if the Trump Administration does not —like it has in prior pandemic relief bill negotiations—meet in the middle and negotiate a ‘COVID-4’ relief bill. Such negotiations are now on pause in Congress and Schumer warned of the dire situation facing Western New York facilities and personnel if USPS leadership does not fulfill its primary mission and support its agency.

“Last week, I met one-on-one with Postmaster General DeJoy and unfortunately my very serious concerns for Western New York’s postal operations, workforce and customers still remain,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “The Buffalo facility which I fought so hard to save back in 2012, WNY’s more than 6,000 post-related jobs, and the postal operations of the entire region are at stake. So, a place like Buffalo will feel the results of inaction first. From there, it would only get worse. We are here today for two reasons. First, we’re here to make a case for the administration that they have to meet in the middle and negotiate on pandemic relief for the USPS. Second, to urge USPS leaders like Louis DeJoy to back this place up. The whole of Western New York depends on it.”

Schumer said that the USPS has recently made capital improvements to the Buffalo Processing Facility, including a new mail sorting machine. Between the three processing facilities in the Western New York Region, USPS has already processed more than 60 million parcels since January, which is a 25% increase for the same point in 2019. Schumer warned that without negotiated pandemic relief for the USPS, WNY jobs, businesses and everyday postal service in Western New York would be changed --for the worse. He detailed his recent meeting with DeJoy and explained how he pushed the postmaster on these issues of delayed medications, consumer goods, paychecks and more as he made a public case for Congress to act and for the Postmaster General to heed the concerns of postal professionals and the public. 

Schumer is no stranger to the Buffalo Processing Facility or Western New York’s USPS operations. In 2012, Schumer successfully fought an Obama administration plan to consolidate postal hubs, which would have closed the Buffalo Distribution Center and put its 700 jobs in jeopardy. Following his lobbying of then-Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Schumer said, “While I recognize the importance of making cost-saving reforms in order to preserve Post Office’s vital services, I lobbied the Postmaster General to keep the Williams Street facility open, in order to prevent the loss of hundreds of jobs at the facility and hardship for families and businesses in Western New York.”

As it relates to Western New York and its 6,093 USPS workers and countless customers, Schumer said he is taking up the mantle again because the USPS recently directed operational changes in post offices and processing centers. On August 7, 2020, the USPS also announced a significant reorganization of Postal Service leadership and functions, which could impact Western New York. These changes include the elimination of extra mail transportation trips, the reduction of overtime, the start of a pilot program for mail sorting and delivery policies at hundreds of post offices, and the reduction equipment at mail processing plants. Schumer said these decisions absolutely have an impact on Buffalo, Rochester and all of Western New York, a case he made to the postmaster.

“Because Western New York is home to three distribution centers,” Schumer warned.

In urging the postmaster, both in letters and personally, Schumer argued the Postal Service is an “essential public institution with an obligation to serve every community in the nation.” Schumer told DeJoy he should not make changes that will slow down mail or compromise service for veterans, small businesses, rural communities, seniors, and millions of Americans who rely on the mail for medicines, essential goods, voting, correspondence, and for their livelihoods.  The Postal Service has characterized these changes as efficiency or cost-saving measures and add they minimized any “temporary service issues” as an “inevitable” side effect of implementing new procedures, Schumer and colleagues noted in a recent letter.

“We’d like to thank Senator Schumer for his support attempting to secure critical funding for the USPS to continue to provide the kind of service the nation is entitled to,” said Dave Grosskopf, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers WNY Branch. “A funding increase would allow the USPS, as a strategic asset, to continue its critical infrastructural delivery needs to the country.”

“The efforts of Senator Chuck Schumer to obtain postal funding will assure that postal workers will continue to provide, as they have for many decades, prompt, reliable and efficient service,” said Frank Resetarits, President of the American Postal Workers Union Local 374. “But workers alone cannot assure that level service without financial assistance from the government. The continued efforts of Senator Schumer to obtain government funding is essential for our very existence, and the level of service we provide.”

“The United States Postal Service is an American treasure. Every day the employees on the work room floor put their heart and soul into their work serving the community,” said Lori Cash, President of the American Postal Workers Local 183. “We want to thank Senator Schumer for his unending support of the Postal Service. He has always been an advocate of the work we do and the services we provide. During this pandemic, he has been a true fighter in the Senate for stimulus relief that would help the Postal Service remain solvent. We know that he will continue to fight hard for the USPS during these difficult times and ensure it will be around for generations to come.”

Schumer has argued that in the midst of a pandemic, these actions, whether intentional or not, are already causing mail delays across the country and appear to constitute an unacceptable threat to the Postal Service and the millions of Americans who depend on it. According to Time, amid the pandemic, many postal service employees have seen their workload double because Americans started ordering more medicine and food online from inside their homes. But the volume of letter mail – the USPS’s biggest revenue stream – has fallen. In April, the U.S. Postmaster General, told the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that revenue losses this fiscal year could reach $13 billion. Schumer said that the USPS is like any other business that has been provided relief and assistance and that the numbers prove they’ve been hard hit. 

“The bottom-line for Western New York is that even a “back of the envelope” calculation shows that postal operations here would be amongst the hardest hit if action is not taken and if leadership within the agency does not make the right decisions, and we cannot have that and I will not go for it,” Schumer concluded.

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