Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Senate postal reform bill that passed yesterday would keep the Buffalo Mail Processing Center open for at least three years if it becomes law. Schumer and Gillibrand pushed for the provision to keep this facility open as part of S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, which reforms the Postal Service and identifies cost savings to keep the Postal Service strong. It passed the Senate 62 to 37.
In February, the U.S. Postal Service announced a cost-saving plan to close 223 mail-processing facilities nationwide, including the Buffalo facility. The Senate-passed postal reform bill, states that for at least three years, the U.S. Postal Service cannot close or consolidate any postal processing facility if it would prevent maintenance of modified overnight delivery service standards. This will keep approximately 100 of those facilities currently in moratorium open, including Buffalo. USPS officials have confirmed that the bill, if it becomes law, would keep the facility open for at least three years.
“The Senate passage of major postal reform yesterday clears a major hurdle towards keeping the Buffalo mail processing center up and running for years to come,” said Schumer. “As the economy is turning the corner, it is critical to keep our postal processing facilities open for business, so that Western New Yorkers get their paychecks on time, small businesses aren’t forced to wait for much needed revenue, and senior citizens aren’t stuck without a Social Security check. I am pleased that the Senate bill makes the important cost-saving reforms needed to preserve the Post Office’s vital services, while still preventing the loss of hundreds of jobs at the Buffalo processing facility and hardship for families and businesses in Western New York. These are smart provisions that recognize that the USPS needs reform, but balances that need with the importance of timely delivery in Western New York.”
“This is a step in the right direction for the Buffalo Mail Processing Center,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Local small businesses, families and seniors depend on it every day to keep them on the move. The postal reform bill we passed sets the foundation to keep the Buffalo Mail Processing Center open, saves job, supports the local economy, and keeps mail services available for our community.”
The Senate bill prevents the Postal Service from closing a postal facility if such an action would prevent maintenance of its modified overnight service delivery standards, which includes guarantees to all postal customers to have regular and effective access to retail postal services on a reasonable basis. This will prevent approximately 100 mail processing facilities nationwide currently set for closure to remain open, including Buffalo. Schumer and Gillibrand have confirmed with the U.S. Postal Service that if the Senate bill becomes law, the Buffalo processing facility will remain open. In September 2011, the USPS informed both Senators’ offices that Buffalo would be one of seven facilities to be studied for closure or consolidation within New York State. Buffalo is currently included in the closure and consolidation moratorium which ends May 15th, when the Postal Service planned to transfer the operations of the William Street facility to Rochester. The Senate-passed postal reform bill would prevent this closure and transfer of service for at least 3 years.
The Senate bill also requires the Postal Service to maintain a modified overnight delivery standard for first class mail and periodicals for a period of 3 years. Specifically, this bill requires that the Postal Service provide overnight delivery for mail that is both mailed and delivered in an area served by the same processing plant. That translates to mail sent from and delivered to areas with the same first three digits of the zip code would get overnight delivery. The bill also requires the Postal Service to maintain a maximum delivery time of 3 delivery days for first class mail within the continental United States.