Tag Archives: Jobs

Flushing mail center may close

| jlane@queenscourier.com


Due to drastic declines in mail volume, state and nationwide, the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in Flushing may be closed or consolidated, according to the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The center — the only one in Queens under study — is responsible for sorting and distributing mail throughout Queens. It joins 255 other centers nationwide that are at risk of being shut down.

“We have too many processing plants that are not operating at 100 percent capacity because we have no mail,” said USPS spokesperson Darleen Reid. “It doesn’t make good business for us to continue 452 facilities when we can reduce that by half and still process the mail.”

Reid said the USPS is looking to possibly consolidate its operations into the Brooklyn New York Processing and Distribution Center or the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in Manhattan.

As far as service, only first-class mail products would be affected, Reid said.

“Right now we can get first-class mail from Queens to Brooklyn or to Manhattan in one to two days. We’re changing that nationally to two to three days,” she said.

There will be no other changes since other mail classes already follow a two to three day delivery standard, Reid said.

According to the USPS, annual mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years and is continuing to decline. Total first-class mail has dropped 25 percent and single piece first-class mail — letters bearing postage stamps — has declined 36 percent in the same timeframe.

“Mail volumes have been going down drastically since 2006 and we anticipate that our first-class mail product is never going to return to previous peak levels,” Reid said.

The postal service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies completely on their own products and services for funding. Its main product is first-class mail, Reid said.

“As first class mail declines, so does our revenue and our revenue continues to go down. We’re facing a financial short-fall by the end of September,” she said.

USPS studies will be concluded in three months. By then, they will announce the results to the general public. At that time, mailers will be given the opportunity to comment during public meetings. Their comments will then be considered before the final decision.

Could dozens of Walmarts be coming to Queens?

| brennison@queenscourier.com


A recent study estimated Walmart could open over 150 stores in New York City – 43 in Queens alone – if the retail giant is allowed to enter the New York City market.

ALIGN, a New York-based nonprofit, released a study after analyzing Walmart’s market share in the grocery industry – 21 percent – and calculating the minimum number of stores the retailer would be required to open to reach a corresponding share in the five boroughs.

To reach this market share, the study estimates Walmart would need to open 43 stores, three supercenters, nine Walmart Markets and 31 Walmart Express stores.
Reports have indicated the chain would open smaller stores – 15,000-square-foot range – in the city, as opposed to the 185,000-square-foot megastores.

In recent years, Walmart has expressed its desire to establish a presence in the largest consumer market in the U.S., only to be denied each time. A recent poll by NY1/Marist said 64 percent of Queens residents support Walmart opening a store within the city limits. Seventy six percent of residents said they would shop at the store if one opened in their neighborhood. The WalmartNYC Facebook page has garnered 47,000 likes.

According to Walmart, Queens residents spent $84.3 million last year shopping at the store. There are five Walmarts within driving distance of Queens in Nassau County.

In response to the ALIGN study, Walmart said that the market share they have in other markets took over five decades to achieve. The store called the insinuation that 159 stores will open overnight an attempt to “manipulate reality.”

“We remain focused on solutions for New Yorkers who need jobs and want more affordable grocery options in their own neighborhood,” Walmart said in a statement. “It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of residents want Walmart in the city and we’re working hard to make access to our stores more convenient.”

“Walmart is desperate for growth in New York City, because the company has saturated most non-urban U.S. markets, and its U.S. stock has been stagnating,” said Josh Kellerman, an ALIGN researcher who co-authored the study with Stephanie Luce.

The study also estimates over 1,000 jobs in Queens – and almost 4,000 throughout the city – would be lost, a number Walmart disputes as based on an out-of-date study.