US Senators Urge Pause on Postal Center Closings

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown joined 49 of his colleagues in urging members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations to halt the planned closing and consolidations of several U.S. Postal Service main processing centers around the county, including one in Youngstown set to close next year.

Brown, D-Ohio, and 49 other senators sent a letter Thursday to the chairmen and ranking members of the Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

To cut costs, the postal service plans to close 82 mail-processing centers in 2015, eliminating up to 15,000 jobs. The senators asked the committee and subcommittee to prevent all closings and consolidations in fiscal 2015 through omnibus appropriations legislation or a continuing resolution, giving Congress time to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation to fund the postal service’s operations.

“Closing Youngstown’s mail processing facility will deprive the community of hundreds of good-paying jobs, making it difficult for families to make ends meet,” Brown said. “Immediate action needs to be taken so workers can keep their jobs and continue providing reliable service for the city.

The letter was signed by 43 Democrats, six Republicans and two Independents. The text of the letter, as prepared by the senators, follows:

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is facing many serious challenges.  While a number of reform proposals have been introduced in both the Senate and the House to tackle these problems over the past several years, we have yet to enact legislation. In the absence of Congressional compromise, the Postal Service has proposed more sweeping changes to its operations.

The Postmaster General has announced that the Postal Service will consolidate up to 82 more mail processing facilities and eliminate up to 15,000 more jobs in 2015. This wave of closures will directly impact 37 states across our nation, and more importantly, the citizens who count on their Postal Service to be reliable. At a time when our middle-class is disappearing, the loss of 15,000 good-paying Postal Service jobs will harm our local communities and economies.

The Postal Service has already consolidated 141 mail processing facilities since 2012. As the postal network has been weakened, service delivery has suffered. Since the Postal Service slowed down the delivery of First-Class Mail over two years ago by revising its service standards, it has been more difficult for the American public and small businesses to receive mail in a timely manner. Slowing down mail delivery even further will hurt senior citizens on fixed incomes, small businesses and the entire economy.

To address this immediate problem, we respectfully request that you include language in any omnibus appropriations legislation or continuing resolution that would prevent the USPS from closing or consolidating any more area mail processing facilities during Fiscal Year 2015.

In addition, we would ask that you include language to maintain and comply with service standards for First-Class Mail and periodicals effective on July 1, 2012. This one-year moratorium will give Congress the time it needs to enact the comprehensive postal reforms that are necessary for the Postal Service to function effectively into the future.

We look forward to working with you on this important issue. Thank you for your consideration.

SOURCE: Office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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