With the proposed shuttering of the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in Flushing, as well as many other regional processing hubs across the country, short-sighted and irresponsible Postal bureaucrats are proposing the elimination of this overnight standard with which the USPS rewards its customers' modest 44-cent investment.
These bureaucrats admit that the proposed closing of these plants would replace this standard with a new two to three-day standard within our metropolitan area. They laid out these plans at a shockingly under-publicized public meeting on Friday, December 2, at the Bayside High School.
At this meeting, attended almost exclusively by postal workers and their families directly affected by these misguided proposals, management spokesperson Frank Calabrese announced the proposed closing of the most efficiently operated plant in the Triboro District, along with the prospective abandonment of the Overnight Metropolitan Delivery Standard.
The response from the representatives of the few public officials and neighborhood groups who could make the meeting despite inadequate notification was unanimous shock and consternation.
State Senator Tony Avella, who spoke first and most forcefully, called for an extension of the public comment deadline, and a more open deliberation process with more public input. A representative of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall spoke of the dedication of the postal workers, now forced to defend their positions with political action while continuing their backbreaking holiday workload.
Characteristically, almost no figures were included with management’s presentation beyond an inaccurate and incomplete estimate of potential savings.
These decisions are being made under the false burden of a strictly manufactured deficit. One obscure California legislator is blocking consideration of the most common sense approach to postal restructuring: House Bill 1351.
This bill, co-sponsored by hundreds of politicians from both sides of the aisle, calls for a definitive accounting of overpaid postal retirement and health accounts, which Congress mandated to carry onerous burdens of billions of dollars. These payments are the only reason that the postal service is not showing a profit this year.
First-class mail is the enduring jewel of the American Postal service, the envy of governments worldwide, and a key component of American business communication.
It is, furthermore, the rock on which a perpetual postage presence in American must be based. First-class mail with a two to three-day Metropolitan Delivery Standard would be first-class mail in name only. Overnight metropolitan delivery is what makes the USPS a vital part of corporate commerce. Compromise it, and we are no more than a provider of periodicals and bulk mailings.
I am alarmed that these closings, and the inevitable degradation of our once great and still proud postal system in the country is but weeks away. These changes are imminent without a public outcry. The virtual world may be all well and good, but it is not the world where all Americans live and work, especially in immigrant and senior filled Queens County.
Robert E. Warman is a postal clerk who lives in Glendale.