Reps. Chu, Napolitano and Schiff Denounce Consolidation of Local Postal Facilities

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Representatives Judy Chu (CA-32), Grace Napolitano (CA-38) and Adam Schiff (CA-29) urged U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to reconsider his decision to close Pasadena’s Mack Robinson Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) and the City of Industry P&DC.  Donahoe announced new plans last week to consolidate the two facilities, jeopardizing the livelihoods of hundreds of local employees and threatening the timely delivery of mail throughout the entire region.  According to the USPS plan, the Pasadena facility’s mail processing capacity will be dramatically reduced this summer through so-called “limited consolidation activity.”  The three Congressional leaders sent a letter to the Postmaster General to express their strong opposition and released the following statements:

Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32):  “I am deeply troubled by the Postal Service’s announcement on the pending consolidation of the Pasadena & City of Industry mail processing facilities.  Hundreds of our neighbors have been struggling with the possible consolidation of both the Pasadena and Industry facilities for far too long.  Not only are the livelihoods of postal workers being turned upside down, but our small businesses and economy will be adversely impacted by degraded mail services.  I have consistently and strongly fought these mail processing center closures in our area and this is truly a sad development.”

Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-38):  “We have attempted for years to work with the Postal Service, meeting with their officials, requesting information, and supporting legislation that would ease their financial troubles without harming jobs or our economy. The Postal Service should hold off on closing the Pasadena and City of Industry mail processing facilities until Congress can finish its work on legislation that would save USPS billions of dollars per year. We must continue to work together until we can put the Postal Service on solid financial footing without sacrificing the local jobs and timely mail service that are critical for our economy.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-29):  “I remain deeply disappointed by USPS’s short sighted decision to close the mail sorting facilities at Mack Robinson and the City of Industry. The closure of these and other mail processing facilities across the county will result in the losses of thousands of good-paying jobs and impair the efficient delivery of mail. I will continue to urge the Postmaster General to refrain from this destructive course, and develop a more sensible and comprehensive solution to USPS’s poor financial health.”

Chu, Napolitano and Schiff have been outspoken advocates for the preservation of both the Mack Robinson and City of Industry’s P&DCs.  The two facilities service countless local businesses and act as major arteries for shipments throughout Southern California.  

The letter can be found below:

May 31, 2012

The Honorable Patrick R. Donahoe
Postmaster General
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010

Dear Postmaster General Donahoe,

We write to again express our strong opposition to consolidating Pasadena’s Mack Robinson Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) and the City of Industry P&DC.  On May 18, 2012, you notified us that the Mack Robinson P&DC is one of 48 facilities where you will be conducting “limited consolidation activity” this summer.  Your plan then calls for fully closing the Pasadena P&DC in early 2013 and later closing the Industry P&DC in a second wave of consolidations.

Consolidating either of these facilities would have dramatic and dire consequences for our constituents, area businesses, and postal workers.  The first step in your plan – the so-called “limited consolidation” of the Mack Robinson P&DC – is extremely troubling.  Out of approximately 270 employees, you plan on sending 128 clerks and 44 mail handlers to the Los Angeles P&DC.  Another 37 maintenance employees would be sent to work at a Santa Clarita installation.  Removing these workers from the Mack Robinson P&DC is not a limited consolidation – it is gutting the very core of the facility and would destroy its mail processing capacity, thereby delaying mail deliveries throughout the area.  We believe Congress must have an opportunity to address the Postal Service’s finances through comprehensive legislation before you move ahead with these crippling cuts.  The Senate has already passed their bill, S. 1789, with bipartisan support.  It would be improper for USPS to proceed with such far-reaching decisions before Congress has a chance to make necessary reforms to the Postal Service.

Moreover, we do not see how the two gaining facilities in Mack Robinson’s “limited consolidation” can accommodate so many new workers, even when considering how early retirement offers may reduce the number of employees.  We demand that you provide us with the current number of vacant positions that are now available in these gaining facilities and provide us with clear answers as to what will happen to these workers.

The stakes are incredibly high not only for the hundreds of postal workers who will be displaced and see their livelihoods threatened, but it will harm Southern California’s economy as a whole.  The communities we are privileged to represent are recovering from one of the toughest economic downturns in generations.  Both the Pasadena area and the City of Industry are bustling centers of commerce and their businesses need timely and reliable mail deliveries to succeed.  We are at a critical juncture with the nation’s economic recovery and moving ahead with these consolidations will make these businesses less competitive.

Moreover, it is also very troubling to consider how even the “limited” consolidation of the Mack Robinson facility alone may affect our constituent’s voting rights as the general election quickly approaches.  41.6% of all California voters cast their ballots by mail in the 2008 general election, and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has expressed her grave reservations on how mail processing facility closures may adversely affect voters.  Indeed, after three USPS mail processing centers were closed in California last year, ballots sent in by mail took up to seven days to arrive at county election offices.  We believe your phased-in schedule for consolidating mail processing facilities in of itself demonstrates the challenge of shutting down mail processing centers at this critical time, as you admit there will be no “consolidation activities” for mail processing centers between September 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 because of “…heightened mail volumes predicted for the election and holiday mailing seasons…”  

We believe Congress must come to your aid and help right USPS finances – but moving ahead with these severe cuts now would impose far-reaching hardships on our constituents before a more reasonable solution could be found.  We request a prompt reply to our concerns and to meet with you personally to discuss this situation before you proceed any further.  

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

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