The mail service intends to consolidate up to 82 facilities, including the Queens center on 20th Avenue, beginning January 2015 to continue its plan to cut losses, which was approved in 2011. The initiative is projected to save the cash-strapped delivery service more than $3.5 billion in the next five years, according to the USPS.
There are currently 1,015 employees at the Whitestone facility, and it’s yet to be determined how many employees will be affected, a representative for the organization said.
“These cuts will be devastating for so many families already struggling to get by and it is unconscionable for the USPS to balance their books on the backs of working class New Yorkers while compromising their service for Queens residents,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, who fought the announced closure in 2012.
When the Whitestone center faced closure in 2012, the USPS planned to send hundreds of workers to a Brooklyn facility, while others would be scattered to other locations throughout the city, New Jersey or Long Island. But the organization halted the closure.
A representative from the mail service boasted the benefits of past consolidations in other areas. In 2012 and 2013, the USPS consolidated 141 mail processing facilities nationwide, which resulted in “negligible service impact, required no employee layoffs, and generated annual cost savings of about $865 million,” a spokeswoman said in an email.
“In the last three years, the Postal Service recorded financial losses of $26 billion,” the spokeswoman said. “As an organization that receives no taxpayer funds to pay for operating costs and derives all of its revenues from the sale of our products and services, the Postal Service continues to face significant financial challenges associated with the decline of First-Class Mail volume and revenue, wage and benefit inflation, increasing operating costs, as well as legislative mandates and significant debt pressures.”
But representatives from Local 300, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, said the downsizing could affect delivery times, and would be a hit to families that live near the facility, and ultimately impact the neighborhood.
“We’ve had [workers move] from the Bronx to Melville, Long Island,” said Paul Hogrogian, president of the union, as an example. “It’s very inconvenient. What used to be a 10-minute commute is now a two-hour one. People may move.”