July 01, 2009

Gillibrand, McMahon Statement on Consolidation of Staten Island Mail Sorting Facility

Lawmakers Express Concerns Over Consolidation and Vow to Fight to Preserve Jobs

Staten Island, NY - Today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Michael E. McMahon were informed that the U.S. Postmaster General has decided to close the Manor Road mail sorting facility and consolidate the distribution operations with those at the Brooklyn processing and distribution facility.

In a letter dated July 1, 2009, USPS District Manager Vito J. Cetta informed Rep. McMahon that the USPS had decided to close the mail sorting facility after conducting a feasibility study this spring.  The letter cites increased productivity and efficiency, in addition to making better use of space and equipment, as reasons for the consolidation.  Further, the letter informs that the consolidation is scheduled to be completed by July 20, 2009.

Rep. McMahon had received a prior letter, dated June 25, 2009, from USPS Government Relations Representative Katherine A. Sitterle, wherein Ms. Sitterle stated that closing the processing operations at the Manor Road facility would save $1.9 million annually.  The closure of the processing operations, according to the letter, would cause a net decrease of 26 positions.  Further, "all reassignments of career employees would be made in accordance with the collective bargaining agreements with the postal unions."

In response to the July 1, 2009 letter, staff for Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. McMahon immediately contacted representatives for the USPS to determine the number of jobs which will be affected and the fate of the Staten Island postmark.  The lawmakers have not received a response to their inquiries yet.

"It is very disappointing to see the USPS has decided to close this facility after only opening a dialogue with the people of Staten Island at the 11th hour," said Senator Gillibrand. "It's wrong for Staten Island and I will continue to work with Rep. McMahon to ensure that the jobs affected are preserved."

"I am very disappointed that the US Post Office has decided to move forward with its consolidation plans despite the outcry from the community," said Rep. McMahon. "The Post Office needs to inform us immediately of the number of employees on Staten Island who will be affected.  While I understand the need for businesses to employ new methods of efficiency and productivity to stay afloat in this economy, that should not be accomplished at the expense of hard-working, dedicated individuals.  Sen. Gillibrand and I have requested further documentation explaining the cost savings analysis and proof that the consolidation will not affect delivery of the mail on Staten Island, but we have never received this documentation.  Sen. Gillibrand and I will fight to make sure that the jobs affected will be preserved one way or another.  Consolidation is the wrong decision, period.  The people of Staten Island deserve better."

Earlier this year, in a letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter, the lawmakers cited serious issues the proposed changes may cause, including delays in mail service, the potential transfer of Postal Service employees who reside in Staten Island and who would face an arduous commute to work, and the increase of traffic and pollution created by trucking mail from Staten Island to Brooklyn for processing then back to Staten Island for delivery.  Gillibrand and McMahon also requested a meeting with the Postmaster General so they could personally deliver the concerns of their constituents.

The lawmakers' fight to keep the Manor Road facility open began in February 2009 after Rep. McMahon received a letter from Mr. Fred C. Fischer, President of the American Postal Workers Union, informing him of the USPS' spring feasibility study.  This was in response to a letter sent from the USPS on February 10, 2009 soliciting ways to streamline and improve mail delivery and efficiency. According to the USPS letter, Mr. Fischer was merely being informed of the study and if the results supported consolidation, the USPS would then consider community input.  Upon hearing this news, Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. McMahon took action to fight to prevent this unnecessary consolidation.