Schumer urges Postmaster General to reconsider Utica Post Office consolidation

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. - U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says he is urging the U.S. Postmaster General to reconsider a plan that would close the Processing Plant at the Utica Post Office on Pitcher Street.

The Postal Service is considering moving mail processing machines from Utica, a decision that Schumer says would lower postal service productivity and delay local mail service.

Schumer wrote to the U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging him to reconsider the proposal to consolidate the Utica Processing Plant with a Syracuse facility.

In his letter, Schumer joined local officials in noting that closure of the top-ranked Utica Processing facility would present significant challenges to the local economy, impact the timely delivery of local mail, and put up to 150 local jobs at risk. In the face of rising gas prices, Schumer also believes that consolidating the plant, and putting more mileage on postal service trucks and employees' personal cars, makes little economic sense given the current climate.

"In these tough economic times when the economy is just starting to turn around, any delay in the arrival of one's paycheck could be devastating," said Schumer. "A small business waiting for much needed revenue should not be forced to wait an additional day, nor should a senior citizen waiting for her or his Social Security check. I worry that the proposal to eliminate the Utica processing services could result in job losses or a much longer commute for workers, adding increased hardships for families. I urge the Postmaster General to reconsider the proposal to consolidate the facility, as it will negatively impact the local economy, as well as the quality of service provided by the U.S. Postal Service."

Under the USPS proposal, Schumer argues that closing the Utica Processing plant, a nationally ranked facility, would negatively impact the quality, productivity and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service.

Under the plan, Schumer joins local officials to argue that in addition to putting up to 150 jobs at risk, service standards would be negatively affected. For instance, mail to Albany would become a 2-day delivery, instead of the standard 1-day.

This would represent a significant hurdle for businesses in the Utica area, Schumer said, adding that the closure would create a regional bottleneck that would negatively affect the market share of the USPS in this region.

Furthermore, a closure would reroute mail service to surrounding areas, decreasing lead time and detouring consumers and business alike that expect service to remain efficient, the Senator said.

The same 2006 and 2009 studies that underpin the current consolidation study also found that the Pitcher Street facility in Utica was one of the most efficient plants in the northeast. This is still the case, and in fact, the Utica processing facility ranks in the top ten of the over two-hundred plants in the nation.

"It is more efficient than alternative plants that may accept the work, and keeping the Utica plant open would prevent other plants from paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime costs annually," Schumer said in a released statement.

A copy of Senator Schumer's letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe appears below:



April 19, 2011


Patrick R. Donahoe

Postmaster General

U.S. Postal Service

475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW

Washington, D.C. 20260



Dear Postmaster General:

I hope this letter finds you well. I understand the U.S. Postal Service is currently conducting a consolidation study of the Utica Processing Plant, located at 100 Pitcher Street. I write today to urge you not to close this facility. I've reviewed facts, figures, and the opinions of postal workers and elected officials representing the area. The information provided to me has showcased a genuine need to keep the Pitcher Street Processing Facility open.

In 2006 and 2009, a similar study found the Pitcher Street facility to be one of the most efficient plants in the northeast. In fact, the Utica processing facility ranks in the top ten of the over two-hundred plants in the nation.

Losing the Utica Processing Plant would lower USPS productivity and create a regional bottleneck that would negatively affect the market share of the USPS in this region. Furthermore, a closure would reroute mail service to surrounding areas, decreasing lead time and detouring consumers and businesses alike that expect service to remain efficient.

As USPS continues its consolidation study, I sincerely hope that you consider the plant's current productivity, its 150 person workforce, and the negative impact this closure would have on the USPS.

Again, I urge you to keep this building open and continue the vital services that aid everyone here in Central New York. The Pitcher Street location has proven time and time again to be a necessary and integral part of Utica's continued economic recovery and success.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

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