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Metro Creative Connection

Higgins sounds alarm, calls for reversal as USPS pulls mail equipment out of Buffalo


Fri, Aug 14th 2020 10:35 am

Documents show plans to remove 5 machines out of Buffalo; 671 pieces of equipment pulled from post offices nationwide

Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, wants the postmaster general to return the equipment that is being taken out of the William Street mail processing facility in Buffalo.

His camp said an internal memo outlining the massive reduction in equipment indicates plans to remove five machines from the Buffalo facility between June 13 and Sept. 30. Over a period of three months, the postal service has intentions to pull 671 machines used to process the mail across the nation.

In a letter to Postmaster Louis DeJoy, Higgins wrote, “I am extremely concerned about the impact this purported change would have on the service and delivery of mail in the Western New York region. I strongly oppose such a move and, if this is already underway, I urge you to reverse it immediately.”

Higgins’ press release stated, “In addition to the removal of machines, the postmaster has issued sweeping directives that undermine the traditional one- to two-day service standards, which have been customary for the postal service.”

Higgins was among over 170 members objecting to these changes.

The release noted, “Western New Yorkers are very concerned about these changes. In the last two weeks alone, over 450 people have reached out to Higgins office expressing concern about the postal service. Some are business and residents experiencing delayed mail, others are local postal workers upset by the new protocols that diminish their ability to deliver mail swiftly and efficiently.”

Higgins is a cosponsor of the Protect Our Post Offices Act and, in May, voted to approve the Heroes Act. Both provide the $25 billion in emergency funding the USPS testified was needed to offset coronavirus-related losses.

Higgins has a history of fighting for the retention of post office services and jobs. In 2012, the congressman successfully fought the proposed closure of the William Street mail processing facility in Buffalo.

Earlier in the week, Higgins was among over 170 members of Congress sending a letter to the postmaster general. They wrote, “The Postal Service provides critical services for the people: delivering medicine to seniors, paychecks to workers, tax refunds to millions and absentee ballots to voters. It is always essential that the Postal Service be able to deliver mail in a timely and effective manner.”

Higgins said, “There is real concern about the immediate effect this is having on businesses and residents who rely on the postal service as well as the long-term impact this will have on the viability of the postal service in a competitive economy that has come to expect rapid delivery.”

During a video briefing given by the previous Postmaster General Megan Brennan to the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform in April, the postmaster reported the USPS will “run out of cash this fiscal year” and requested $25 billion in emergency appropriations to offset coronavirus-related losses.

Higgins’ team said, “Recent maneuvers by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is leading to serious operational delays to mail delivery. These include the elimination of overtime, prohibitions on extra trips to deliver the mail, and other restrictions on letter carrier activities, measures which leaves mail piling up at processing centers.”

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