BY JOE MARVILLI
United States Postal Service workers from Queens joined their brothers and sisters throughout the country for a day of protest against new policies the agency is recommending.
The national day of action from unions and workers across the United States on Nov. 14 came in light of a planned delay by the postal service. In order to deal with a $5.5 billion net loss for Fiscal Year 2014, a problem created partially by increasingly digital world, the agency would slow down regular mail.
USPS is set to make the cuts in service on Jan. 5, 2015. It would lower service standards to remove nearly all overnight delivery of mail. Instead of local items taking one day to reach their destination, they would take two days. Mail shipped nationally could take three days instead of two.
More than a dozen members of the American Postal Workers Union Local 2286 and the Flushing branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers met outside the Queens Processing and Distribution Center at 142-02 20th Ave., Whitestone. With chants of “Stop delaying America’s mail” and “U.S. mail is not for sale,” the protestors gave out flyers to cars stopped at red lights and received honks of support from many passing vehicles.
“We want the public to know this is what’s happening,” Robert Yaccarino, president of the APWU, said.
Besides slowing down service, the USPS is also considering the closure of 82 processing centers, including the branch in Queens. According to Yaccarino, this would have a massive impact of residents of the Borough, as all of its mail would be processed in Brooklyn instead.
Although the Brooklyn branch is just across the Queens border, that one building would be responsible for the mail of more than 4,800,000 residents. All of Queens’ mail would come up through the Belt Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway. The Queens processing center, right off the Whitestone Expressway, is near several major highway routes, limiting congestion.
The closure of the Queens processing center would also affect the 600 to 1,000 employees who work there.
“They don’t care about the people,” Yaccarino said. “They say they don’t need this building, but in order to give the public the proper service, this building has to remain here.”
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe recently announced his retirement from the USPS. He plans to step down in early 2015. His replacement, Megan Brennan, will be the first woman to lead the agency. It is unknown whether Brannan will keep her predecessor’s proposal in place.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, email@example.com, or @JoeMarvilli.