A Grand Alliance Takes on New York City Postal Cuts
(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
For too many years, in response to pressure from Congress, the Postal Service has slowed mail service, closed community-based post offices and mail processing facilities, slashed hours of operations, tried to end six-day and door-to-door delivery service, and eliminated hundreds of thousands of living-wage jobs.
These cuts continue today around the country. Residents throughout New York City’s boroughs are taking action to stop cuts to service and post office closures. In Harlem, community residents, business owners, and the APWU New York Metro Area Local organized to protest the sell-off of the College Station Post Office and to hold postal management accountable to its promises.
The Postal Service has been talking about selling the College Station property and relocating for years, but had not sufficiently responded to community concerns over poor service and the need for more staffed windows and expanded service hours. Nor have they addressed criticism of the proposed new location. A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service encouraged our organizational and individual supporters to join in the discussion by attending a public meeting in October. The sale of the historic site was not yet final and representatives of USPS management were tight-lipped about the details.
In the Bronx, residents are plagued by broken mailbox-es, two-hour post office lines and undelivered pack- ages, as revealed in a recent audit by the USPS Office of Inspector General. South Bronx Councilmember Rafael Salamanca called the cuts in service “a form of discrimination."
Additionally, postal employees in the Bronx regularly lack access to buildings on their routes and encounter damaged mailboxes. The USPS also announced plans to remove 206 mail collection boxes from Bronx neighborhoods.
Nora Taggart, New York Metro Area Local Legislative & Political Director, said of the cuts, “It seems like the people in the wealthier areas of New York City are not seeing these cuts in services, and the people that need the post office the most are experiencing more cuts in service.”
As the busy holiday season approached, USPS threatened to reduce staffing by hundreds in Manhattan alone.
In November, A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service promoted a letter writing campaign demanding the Manhattan postmaster provide first-class postal services in the borough. This was in response to threats to reduce staffing, which would contribute to longer lines and mail delays.
The USPS predicted a more than 10 percent increase in package volume for the 2017 holiday season, compared to the previous year. New Yorkers and residents across the country need the Postal Service to be prepared to meet everyone’s needs, which includes consistent and timely mail delivery, sufficient mail collection boxes, and an end to long wait times with better staffing and extended hours