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Public Statements

Letter to Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General - Reject a Plan by US Postal Service to Close a Facility in Syracuse

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Binghamton, NY

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today urged U.S. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe to reject a plan that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is currently reviewing that would result in 73 jobs being either cut or relocated from the Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility to Syracuse. Hinchey noted that the Area Mail Processing (AMP) proposal, which is part of a broader national consolidation program, would adversely impact customers, postal workers, and the overall community.

"I recognize USPS is under tremendous pressure to streamline mail handling in order to remain economically viable in a changing market," Hinchey wrote in a letter sent today to Donahoe. "However, I remain strongly opposed to removing any jobs from the Binghamton region and disapprove of any changes that would result in hardships for current USPS employees. While my office has received assurances that many of the workers at the Binghamton facility will be given similar jobs at the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center, I am concerned that there will not be an adequate number of jobs to absorb the loss of jobs that will occur if the processing activities are removed from the Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility...Moreover, as you know, the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center is over 80 miles from the Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility, which presents a hardship for the many workers who live in the Binghamton area. These changes would undoubtedly lead to the loss of important jobs in this region and would reduce essential USPS services in Binghamton."

Hinchey previously urged Postmaster General Donahoe to prevent the closure of the Binghamton facility when the USPS first initiated an AMP study to consider consolidation. The congressman offered official comments opposing the potential closure of the facilities on December 1, 2011. Later that month, Hinchey sent another letter to Postmaster General Donahoe signed by 37 other House members opposing the proposed closure of mail processing and distribution centers nationwide.

The congressman is a cosponsor of legislation designed to help ease the financial challenges currently faced by the USPS. The United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011 would free up billions in financial resources for the USPS for years to come. Under current law, the Postal Service is required to pre-fund health care benefits of future retirees at a cost of over $5 billion annually. H.R. 1351 would help reduce the financial burden of this requirement by allowing the Postal Service to use billions of dollars in overpayments to their pension fund to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees. The legislation is strongly supported by the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Hinchey has also joined several of his House colleagues in introducing the Postal Service Protection Act, which is legislation designed to alleviate the USPS's immediate financial crisis and prevent the layoff of thousands of employees nationwide.

The full text of Hinchey's letter to Donahoe follows:

September 25, 2012

Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General
United States Postal Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010

Dear Mr. Donahoe:

I am writing in response to the USPS proposal to remove mail processing services from its Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility. I understand that your office is currently reviewing the Area Mail Processing (AMP) proposal for the Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility and I urge you to give thorough consideration to the negative impacts that the AMP's proposed changes would have on customers, postal workers, and the community.

I recognize USPS is under tremendous pressure to streamline mail handling in order to remain economically viable in a changing market. I understand the financial stress that USPS is under and, as you may know, I have been pushing for reforms to bring USPS relief from mandated overpayments to the Federal Employee Retirement System as well as the prefunding requirements for retiree health benefits. However, I remain strongly opposed to removing any jobs from the Binghamton region and disapprove of any changes that would result in hardships for current USPS employees.

While my office has received assurances that many of the workers at the Binghamton facility will be given similar jobs at the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center, I am concerned that there will not be an adequate number of jobs to absorb the loss of jobs that will occur if the processing activities are removed from the Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility. Although the USPS has suggested that there would be 52 available positions at the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center, I have also been made aware that the actual number of jobs available may be significantly lower. In addition, neither estimate of available jobs at the Syracuse facility account for all 73 positions that would be lost at the Binghamton facility. Moreover, as you know, the Syracuse Processing and Distribution Center is over 80 miles from the Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility, which presents a hardship for the many workers who live in the Binghamton area. These changes would undoubtedly lead to the loss of important jobs in this region and would reduce essential USPS services in Binghamton.

I strongly urge you to reconsider any proposal to remove jobs from the Binghamton Processing and Distribution Facility. I appreciate your consideration of my views on this important matter and ask to be kept informed on any decisions relating to this process.

Best regards.

Sincerely,

Maurice D. Hinchey


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