Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Five Bronx post offices saved, 12 others still at risk

Here's a story from the Riverdale Review and Bronx Press

By Brendan McHugh 

The Bronx went postal on the United States Postal Service when 17 post offices were being studied for closure last year. Through rallies and community meetings, along with sending thousands of letters, five of the 17 have been saved so far. 

Fieldston, Einstein in Co-op City, Castle Hill, Hunts Point and West Farms Post Offices have all been removed from the list, the USPS announced last week. 

Robert Gratz, far right, held a successful
rally to save the Fieldston Post Office.
“I am so glad USPS has come to realize what the community and I have known all along: these post offices are much more than a place to drop off mail; they provide the essential services that residents rely on every day,” said Rep. Joseph Crowley, who has four of the offices in his district. 

Rep. Eliot Engel, who has the Fieldston office in his district, was thrilled at the news as well. 

“It is also encouraging that the Postal Service is listening to the rising chorus of reason. The Postal Service is facing difficult times but cutting off service to its customers is not the way out. The Post Office cannot fix its financial problems by making access to post offices more difficult and inconvenient.  This is a business plan designed for failure,” Rep. Engel said, noting that the Mount Vernon office in his district has also been saved. 

“But since the Post Office announced that no offices will be closed or consolidated until May 15, 2012, we have until then to make them see the light and keep our post offices open,” he said. 

The Bronx still has 12 offices that are being studied for closure. 

The Einstein office in Co-Op City serves the largest senior citizen community in the country. A rally was held in the fall of 2011 with Crowley and New York Metro, the postal service union, to protest the closures. 

A rally was also held for Fieldston, led by community activist Robert Gratz. 

NY Metro legislative director Chuck Zlatkin was proud that the Bronx community really let their voices be heard. 

“There was tremendous response from the community,” he said. “Closing those post offices would have been unjustified. When everyone works together to fight to keep post offices open, it makes it a lot more difficult to close them.” 

But he was quick to note there is still work to be done. 

“We have 13 others hanging in the Bronx, it’s not like the struggle is over.” 

Crowley also vowed to continue working, both in the Bronx and in Washington, to keep the offices open. “I also want to reassure the community that I will continue to fight to keep the remaining post offices and facilities in our area open.” 

Citing financial concerns, USPS announced the possible closure of over 3,000 facilities nationwide last summer. The USPS had a net loss of $3.1 billion in the third quarter last year, according to a USPS spokesperson, and relies only on sales of postage, products and services to fund its operations. 

Engel and Crowley are co-sponsors of H.R. 1351, legislation that will free the Postal Service from pre-paying its pension obligations in an effort to alleviate the financial burden facing the Postal Service. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, a law that, among other things requires the Postal Service to prefund its retirees’ health benefits, a requirement that no other independent government agency or private company needs to fulfill.

1 comment:

  1. the call for keeping the post offices open is a just cause,,, it is therefore a right idea to post on this site,,,,