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Congressman Brian Higgins and the group pose outside of the William Street post office. (Submitted)
Congressman Brian Higgins and the group pose outside of the William Street post office. (Submitted)

Higgins, Schumer, Kennedy, Nowakowski join postal workers & letter carriers in fight to preserve mail services in Buffalo


Fri, Jan 26th 2024 04:05 pm

Leaders say USPS proposal could move mail processing to Rochester, create delays in delivery

Congressman Brian Higgins, New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy and Buffalo Common Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski joined Western New York postal workers and letter carriers expressing concern about potential plans by the United States Postal Service to move mail processing operations from Buffalo to Rochester.

Higgins’ team said, “As part of its 10-year strategic plan, ‘Delivering for America,’ the U.S. Postal Service is considering a consolidation of mail processing services at facilities across the nation. Buffalo is on a list of 29 sites under consideration. The USPS is reviewing a plan to move some operations currently conducted at the William Street mail processing facility in Buffalo to Rochester. Leaders expressed concerns about the impact this would have on mail delivery in Western New York.”

In a letter to the postmaster general, Higgins calls for Buffalo to be removed from the list: “The relocation of operations from Buffalo to Rochester will result in delayed mail and diminished services. We are calling on you to immediately remove Buffalo from consideration.”

Higgins added, “The USPS uses language like ‘modernization’ which doesn’t tell the full story of how services will be impacted and ultimately when changes are made it’s too late. If you live in Cheektowaga and send a card to your grandchild in Lackawanna, that mail would go to Rochester first, adding transportation costs and slowing delivery. That’s inefficient and the people of Western New York need to stand up and demand better from the USPS.”

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said, “Any plan that would undermine the quality and timeliness of mail delivery in Western New York or undermine workers here should be marked ‘Return To Sender.’ Our local postal workers and the public deserve full transparency and answers from the USPS – ASAP – so that they can understand how these changes would impact their day to day or if the proposal will lead to late delivery times for Western New York. I have already personally wrote to Postmaster General DeJoy and put him on notice that we will not tolerate any diminution of mail service in Western New York. We defeated the last USPS effort to close the William Street processing facility and we will defeat any future proposal that tries to do the same thing. I encourage everyone to attend the public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 3 p.m. at the Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga on the new operations proposal and make their voices heard.”

Kennedy also issued a letter to the USPS. He said, "The USPS plays a core role in daily life in Western New York – it's how school tax bills are sent out in a timely manner, how packages from across the globe make their last-mile delivery, and how prescriptions are received by patients when they need them.

"Any weakening of our confidence in the ability of the USPS to make these deliveries without delay can have deleterious effects that can make our region less economically competitive."

Nowakowski, who sponsored and won approval for a resolution in support of the Buffalo mail processing center, added, "Our local postal workers, and the services provided by hundreds of hard-working Western New Yorkers, are essential to efficient mail delivery in Western New York, and moving these operations could lead to delayed mail and diminished services. The William Street location within the Fillmore District plays a crucial role in Western New York, ensuring timely postal service, offering well-compensated union jobs, and making a significant contribution to the local landscape.”

American Postal Workers Union Buffalo & New York President Frank Resetarits said, “In the not-too-distant past, the postal service had an ‘on time’ delivery standard of 98%. The current percentage is now 95%. Sending mail that originates in the Buffalo area, and is intended to be delivered in the Buffalo area, to Rochester for partial processing, is a recipe for delaying service to postal customers here. The nine sites that have had their reviews completed, all have had machines taken out, which specialize in keeping the processing in the initial facility, prior to delivery.”

David J. Grosskopf Jr., president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 3, added, “The USPS’s lack of transparency relating to its 10-year plan and more specifically the public meeting being held for the review of Buffalo’s processing and distribution center consolidation has not been done in good faith with employees, union representatives or federal, state and local officials. The postal service knows it has a problem with these types of consolidations as they have resulted in major service disruptions across the country. Yet they believe the public is naive enough to just think the mail always comes through. Over the last 10 years, the USPS has slowed the service standard to the American public. This consolidation of the Buffalo’s processing and distribution move to Rochester will further erode that standard, and that is simply unacceptable to Western New Yorkers who rely on this public treasure.”

Higgins’ team said, “In 2011, when the USPS included Buffalo’s mail processing facility on the list of closures, the Western New York community fought back. After a tough battle, in May of 2012, the postmaster announced the William Street facility would remain open.

“Elected and labor leaders are encouraging the public to voice their opinion again in support of preserving services in Buffalo. Comments can be submitted online until Feb. 15 at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/mpfr-buffalo-ny. Residents are also encouraged to attend a public meeting hosted by the USPS at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, at the Creekside Banquet Facility, 2669 Union Road, Cheektowaga.

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