U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens/L.I.) announced today that after a vigorous campaign, the United States Postal Service has reversed its decision to shut down the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in College Point, Queens.
Postal officials had recently placed the center on its list of facilities to be closed across the country due to budget cuts. But after leading a coalition of Postal customers, civic groups, the community board and Postal unions, the Congressman was informed by the Postal Service late today that the facility will remain open.
"The decision to take the Processing and Distribution Center off the chopping block is great news for the residents of Queens and the many businesses that depend on the critical services provided by this facility," said Ackerman. "The plan to move the center's responsibilities to the Brooklyn distribution location was a horrible idea that would have reduced the borough's accessibility to a critical facility that hundreds of thousands of people rely upon. I thank Postal officials for finally coming to their senses, and for realizing how adversely impacted Queens would have been if this facility was closed."
Since last year, Ackerman has urged Postal officials to keep the facility open. Last December, he sent a letter to Frank Calabrese, the Postal Service's Triboro District Manager, urging the agency not to eliminate any mail operations from the College Point facility. The Congressman sent the letter after the Postal Service first proposed to move the facility's operations to the Postal Processing Center in Brooklyn, a move that would cut an estimated 700 jobs in Queens. A copy of the letter is attached below. He also held a rally with Postal unions in front of his office in Bayside last September to highlight the importance of the facility, and had his letter read aloud during a packed public meeting that Calabrese and other Postal officials held on the plan last December in the auditorium of Bayside High School.
The Queens Processing and Distribution Center is located at 140-02 20th Avenue.
The following is the letter Ackerman sent Calabrese last December:
Frank J. Calabrese
Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact
1050 Forbell Street
Brooklyn, NY 11256-9621
Dear Mr. Calabrese
I am writing to express my strong opposition to the United States Postal Service's (USPS) proposed elimination of some mail operations from the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in College Point --- Queens is the 2nd most populous county in New York State. While I understand the USPS must make difficult decisions to confront its current fiscal condition, I urge you to reconsider a decision that would negatively impact the entire Queens community. If the USPS carried out this proposal, 702 jobs would be lost from the Queens community during difficult economic times. Postal service to my constituents and Queens residents wouldalso be adversely affected.
Shifting the mail-processing responsibilities of the Queens Center to outside the borough to Brooklyn would reduce the accessibility to a vital postal facility that tens of thousands of my constituents rely upon for efficient and predictable mail delivery. Moving processing operations would also decrease the high level of customer service that New Yorkers have come to expect from the USPS through the streamlined delivery made possible in good measure by the Queens Distribution Center. Businesses and organizations that send bulk mail would be particularly impacted as collection times would be earlier, while drop off times would be later. Mail would also likely be sorted more slowly and large mailings would no longer have a reliable drop-off location in the same geographic area they are being sent.
Instead of forcing Queens residents into accepting an unsatisfactory level of service, there are other options that Congress is considering to ease the financial burdens of the USPS. We must fight instead for measures I support that would allow the USPS to be more flexible in its business practices and pricing structure, and legislation that would relieve the burdens of prefunding retiree health costs. I accept that changes are needed to allow the USPS to continue functioning, but the closing of a viable facility should not be one of them. The large loss of jobs would not only devastate the hard-working postal workers themselves, but would have negative consequences for the local businesses and individuals that are dependent on reliable postal service in Queens.
Many postal workers, constituents and businesses have contacted my office and conveyed to me the hardships that service reductions would have on them. I strongly urge you to keep the current functions of the Queens facility in place.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
GARY L. ACKERMAN