Queens postmarks may be a thing of the past if the United State Postal Service (USPS) goes through with a new proposal to consolidate mail processing operations from their Queens and Staten Island centers into their Brooklyn facility.
And, more than 90 local workers could lose their jobs and mail could take longer to be delivered, according to members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), who believe the consolidation plans are bogus and will only be detrimental to their employees and people who rely on the mail.
“We’re the ones who are going to take the first hit,” said Trevor Stuart, the Branch President of the Mail Handlers Union, who said 39 of his workers are likely to lose their jobs if the new proposal takes effect. “The problem is management has not told us or shown us data on why they want to do this. We can’t see the cost savings analysis.” In February, the USPS conducted a study to see whether it would be more efficient and cost effective to consolidate some operations performed at the Queens and Staten Island facilities into the Brooklyn one.
The study results support consolidating some mail processing operations into the Brooklyn facility, which would save about $6.9 million, but USPS spokesperson Monica Hand stressed that the organization has not reached a final decision yet. It plans to hold public hearings, including one at Bayside High School on May 6 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“The public input process is really a very important part of the process,” Hand said.
However, union officials believe that it is pretty much a done deal and the USPS is all set to move some of the operations, including the canceling and first pass operation, to the Brooklyn plant.
Currently, if a person mails a letter in Queens it gets sent to the Whitestone Processing and Distribution Center located at 20th Avenue and the Whitestone Expressway where employees perform all of the checks on the mail.
But, under the new plan, instead of being sent directly to the Whitestone facility, the mail would go to the Brooklyn plant where it would be cancelled, first passed and postmarked, and then sent back to the Whitestone facility via delivery truck, according to union officials. They believe the extra travel on the Van Wyck during rush hours will add on additional time to the mail service and will affect any cost saving measures.
“It’s going to take more time, more fuel they aren’t going to save a dime,” said Bob Yaccarino, President of Flushing Local of the American’s Postal Workers Union (APWU).
Mark Sobel, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Flushing, said that his union’s jobs likely would not see any job cuts, but it would take longer for the letter carriers to get the mail, and it could even delay some mail by a day because of the increased time getting the letters to and from Brooklyn.
“It will be madness,” Sobel said.