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UNION LEADER: USPS IGNORED INPUT, OUTCRY



Published: Fri, February 24, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

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The U.S. Postal Service will close mail handling and distribution operations at the Youngstown Post Office on South Walnut Street.

RELATED: Bill to reform costly postal pension system languishes in Congress

By Karl Henkel

khenkel@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The U.S. Postal Service’sdecision to close the Youngstown processing and distribution facility is “reckless” and shows the post office has “no interest in what the public has to say,” a union representative says.

Dominic Corso, president of the American Postal Workers’ Union Local 443, says Youngstown’s need for its 500-employee plant is greater than that of other plants in Northeast Ohio — and he says he has the numbers to prove it.

Corso provided The Vindicator with postal-service summaries from three regional public-input meetings last November and December.

The postal service received seven letters on its Area Mail Processing studies at similar facilities in Akron and Canton.

In Youngstown, it received 8,419.

“It shows that the public outcry to keep Youngstown intact is clear,” Corso said. “They spoke loudly with their letters and their attendance at the meeting [in December].”

Youngstown, Akron and Canton, along with six other facilities in Ohio, will consolidate with facilities in Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh.

The postal service also is ending mail processing at 10 centers in Pennsylvania, including New Castle’s.

A time line for closures has not been established yet, though when it happens, it will mean mail will take two to three days for delivery instead of the standard one to two.

About 500 employees at the Youngstown center will be affected; about 200 could be reassigned involuntarily to other locations within a 100-mile radius.

One of those transfers is Victor Palo of Conneaut.

“A job is a job,” said Palo, an electronic technician who has worked at the postal service since 1995.

Other workers, such as Dan Napolitan of Austintown, a 25-year employee, have pleaded for a government overhaul to prevent mass layoffs of postal-service personnel.

Napolitan has sent numerous letters to legislators, but so far, his tactic hasn’t worked.

The postal-service maintains it has no other option but to consolidate.

“The decision to consolidate mail processing facilities recognizes the urgent need to reduce the size of the national mail processing network to eliminate costly underutilized infrastructure,” Megan Brennan, postal service chief operating officer, said in a statement. “Consolidating operations is necessary if the postal service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation.”

A 25-percent reduction in mail volume since 2006, the highest volume year for the post office, is one reason the postal service has racked up multibillion-dollar deficits the past two years. At the Youngstown center, the decline in the same period was 20 percent.

Youngstown’s mail volume fell from 54 million to 45 million since 2008, a drop of about 17 percent.

The most-substantial reason for the closings, however, is the government-mandated retiree health-care benefit pre-funding program.

Every year, the postal service starts with a deficit of $5.5 billion, as stipulated in the 2006 Postal

Accountability Enhancement Act, which requires USPS to fund retiree health-care benefits 75 years in advance.

In December, the postal service had decided to close the Youngstown facility and transfer its responsibilities to Pittsburgh, according to internal documents acquired by The Vindicator.

Later that month, after the postal service agreed to postpone closing any post offices or mail facilities at the behest of Congress, it hosted a town-hall meeting in Boardman about consolidating operations with Pittsburgh.

David VanAllen, a postal service spokesman, said it was “decidedly more feasible” to shift operations to Cleveland.

The consolidation means a letter originating from Boardman that is slated for delivery in Austintown will travel about 150 miles, compared with the 15 it would travel if processed in Youngstown.

The Grumman Long Life Vehicle, designed for use by the USPS, gets about 17 miles per gallon, so the postal service will spend about 10 times more to deliver a truckload of mail.

The closing also will impact the city’s bottom line negatively.

Youngstown receives about $500,000 in income taxes from the 500 postal service workers.

The Mahoning Valley’s falling unemployment rate will also take a hit. If 200 employees are transferred and 300 others are laid off, the unemployment rate will tick up 0.1 percent.

Despite the closing of the mail-handling and processing sections of the downtown Youngstown postal center, part of the building on Walnut Street downtown will remain open for regular customer services.

The postal service says it will continue to move forward with consolidation plans until Congress says otherwise.

Consolidation is contingent upon the outcome of a proposal to revise service standards, including the delay of first-class mail.


Comments

1bumbob(128 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

"....as stipulated in the 2006 Postal Accountability Enhancement Act, which requires USPS to fund retiree health-care benefits 75 years in advance."

BAM. And there you have the entire reason for why the USPS is in such a bind with its deficit. No other government agency is required to fund retirement benefits so long-term the way this branch of the government is forced to do. This is a manufactured crisis, and nothing more [http://bit.ly/yX01y3]. If they weren't forced into this bizarre kind of deal by that piece of trash legislation regarding pensions that distribution center would remain open, as well as many others.

UPS and FedEx must be slobbering puddles as they watch a weathered and useful government enterprise get whittled down to size like this. Absolutely ridiculous.

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2GTX66(343 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Remember these people in November. Obama, .Ryan and Hagan all need to go!

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3Superstar7(122 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

It's the UNION that is ignoring facts:
1. The union has killed our Post Office.
2. The union benefits have killed it.
3. The union wages killed it.
4. The union mentality killed it.
5. Say NO to unions-save jobs.
6. The unions forced jobs south.
7. The unions forced jobs overseas.
8. YOU want things cheap-
you are helping force jobs overseas.
9. Stop supporting unions-the unions that are The USA's #1 job killer.
10. Unions make us non-competitive.
11. You know the unions are corrupt, job killing obstacles to success. SAY NO! Rid our region of its shackles. DRIVE OUT UNIONS, return prosperity & competitivness.

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4AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Good job "representing" your district, Timmy.

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5Irishtiger(41 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Look at the entire situation. First, go out and try to find a box to put your letters in. You gotta drive all over town to find one. Just give it to the carrier. Postal management has never listened to worker input. If they had, they wouldn't be acting like 7 year olds and running crying to Congress. Have you heard ONE thing about any management positions being lost? I'd estimate that 60+% of supervisors don't do 8 hours work in a week. I'm putting the average salary at $90 - 125,000. Now here's a group that acts before it thinks. Always did. Hey. All it cost them was our money! How many businesses tell you how bad it's going to be and then try to close one additional day? Can't anybody see thru this smokescreen? Keep bugging your Congressman. Management could care less about "Service".

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6mike10(84 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Face facts the Post office is becoming a dinosaur.
Technology is taking over. Labor costs can’t compete with e-mail and wire transfers.
It’s a sad reality that good people will lose well paying jobs.
Moving paper is expensive

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7HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Here's the fast and easy solution. USPS workers all take a 25% cut in wages and benefits. They would still make way more than the US median income and with better benefits than most people buying their stamps. Problem solved, no closings.

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8Attis(879 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

This is another act of economic terrorism against Youngstown, something that been going on nonstop since Black Monday in 1977 with no help from D.C. whatsoever. If we had public servants instead of prostituted politicos in D.C. the taxpayer money thrown down the toilet in places like Afghanistan would be invested in places like Youngstown to combat and defeat economic terrorism and domestic terrorism at home.

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9jeratboy(127 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

If it isn't needed it should be closed. Most people only need mail about 3 times a week. This doesn't affect anyone but Netflix subscribers.

Who is the nutjob that signed a no layoff contract?

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10UNCOMMONSENSE(366 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act was passed by 109th Congress. George Bush was president and both chambers of Congress had a republican majority.

"Dec 8, 2006: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote. A record of each representative’s position was not kept."

"Dec 9, 2006: This bill passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent. A record of each senator’s position was not kept."

And how is this a Democrat problem??

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11Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

And how is this a Democrat problem??

Because the right wing is just full of hate for the Black Guy in DC and will lie and cheat to get him out . PERIOD .

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12MLC75(529 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

The no layoff clause is one of the major problems.Make the USPS come back to the real world,with the rest of us.

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13pmeoh(6 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you, UNCOMMONSENSE, for being the sole commenter who actually knows when the problem occurred and who was responsible. Perhaps the dem-haters in the crowd should try to do a little research before they blame Obama, Hagan, and Ryan for everything.

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14AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

This is just a small part of a NATIONAL post office closure.

"The US Postal Service is closing or consolidating almost half of its mail processing centers nationwide as part of a $15 billion cost-cutting plan. Some 223 centers will go, in a move that puts 35,000 jobs at risk and will slow down first-class delivery, AP reports"

Blaming Ryan and Betras for Youngstown Post Office closing is just plain IGNORANT. If we had a Dem Gov you would blame him also. But now with job loses teabaggers give kasich a free ride.

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15walter_sobchak(1909 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Just because the USPS is a constitutionally mandated service does not mean that it also operates in its own world without market forces. Sure, the 75 year pension funding requirement is ridiculous but so is a no layoff clause. The PO will exist but in a vastly different way. There is no reason to deliver the mail 6 days a week anymore. E-mail, cell phones and texting has taken care of that. Volume is down and will continue to shrink and this will require less people including management. MAil rates also need to be adjusted to take into account the distance a piece travels. In addition, pay scale has to be more in line with what the market can bear. After all, a vast majority of the jobs in the PO are unskilled labor. I mean, to be a letter carrier, one needs good feet, a driver's license, and the mental capacity to count and alphabetize. Plus, there is no incentive to perform the job quickly and efficiently as they do at UPS and FedEx. All that resposibilty and you get between $20 and $27 per hour plus benefits and overtime. All in all, a poorly run program.

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16AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I suggest everyone return all empty envelopes the credit card companies send us. That way the post office will have a large increase in mail.

Walt,
Good idea, bring full time bread winners down to the poverty level. Way to support your neighbors.

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17redvert(2064 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

As stated, the PO is a operation that has been outdated by technology and needs to be downsized. I bought thirty "forever" stamps six months ago. I used the first one for 2012 yesterday. All my bills are paid electronically, most automatically.

But, never fear politicians with a "D" behind your name, you are safe as you have been for the last 50-60 years. The Valley wouldn't be where it is without all of you........Opps!!!

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18JME(801 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

AAC,

wft does Kasich have to do with this?

Full-time bread winners? Is that why you want the rich to support your lazy ass with higher taxes? Way to support your neighbors.

Try and make intelligent comments before posting.

Walter hits it right on the head.

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19JME(801 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

AAC, why would you want to put more money into any organization that is losing money?

The volume isn't there to support the costs!

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20ts1227(137 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

It's a broken system that no one has any desire to fix, so while you all blindly blame political parties because it sounds good, the rest of us will address the issues. For those of you blaming Tim Ryan for "letting it go", wouldn't him fighting for it to stay open be "aiding a massive taxpayer drain/sinking ship" and just as bad? See, you can't really blame anyone like that. It's a comprehensive disaster.

The fact is a HORRIBLE deal was agreed to with the union. We all know the post office needs to trim both manpower and facilities unless you want to pay an ungodly amount for postage instead (they are trying to be able to get a reprieve to allow them to raise rates faster than inflation).

With the population about 1/3 of what it was in its prime, and those 1/3 sending probably 1/2 as much mail as before, why would they even consider keeping this facility open? Most all of the people will still have jobs, just not as close by as they may like.

Consolidate buildings, cut Saturday delivery (you'd still be able to pick it up at the PO on Saturday if it bothered you that much), and cut any employees that the contract will allow.

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21AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Correct Kasich has nothing to do with this. Neither does Ryan or Betras. But many are quick to blame them.

I never said put more money into the losing situation did I? There are many ways to cut cost. I agree get away from 6 day delivery. I think 4 days would be enough. M T Th F. That would save a lot of cash.

JME where did I say the rich are supporting anybody. I think I struck a nerve.

Again I gave a suggestion for the post office to get more money.. I back all those useless credit card apps I get in the mail.

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22walter_sobchak(1909 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

AAC,

Thanks for the compliment but I don't want to bring the workers down to poverty level. But, the PO must do the work with less people over shorter amounts of work time. Many of these workers take all the OT they can get at time and a half. I have a family member that carries mail and makes about $70k per year. This is untenable and not sustainable without changes. The PO does a good job by getting a letter between any two points for one price and that can't be denied. Just as the PO no longer is Govt subsidized, it will have to change to compete or the price for a letter will be $1 soon.

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23a1belle(9 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

In Cincinnati, The mayor there lobbyed to keep the center opened. Any it will stay open. What did the Mayor of Youngstown and Tim Ryan do to keep the center open?

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24legend33(169 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I blame Lebron!!

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25ahCanfield(5 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

This is by no means politicians fault. Stop blaming Ryan, Hagan, Obama, etc.

The decline of the postal service is a modern day reality. There is less mail being sent . . . PERIOD. Postal employees are also ridiculously overpaid.

It's sad people are going to lose their jobs, but times change. Many years ago bowling alley pin setters lost their jobs too. It's reality.

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26allstar720(253 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Blame the workers. Don't pay any attention to that law forcing the post office to fund retirement benefits for 75 years. Don't blame management. Always blame the workers.

In this case most of the workers are veterans who everyone claims to care about in this hypocrite-dominated country. Oh well, I guess I'll just pray on it.

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27legend33(169 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I blame Stan? Where is he?

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28mickeyg(6 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

blame the poliitcian for something the union did. i bet they are all repub that are crying, about getting rid of the dems

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29georgejeanie(807 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Let us come up with ideas of how to make the PO profitable,. My idea is this. We have main usps terminal in major cities. We keep postal rates the same for the time being. Everybody has an option to either pickup their mail a the post office or to pay an additional charge to have their mail deliveredx once a week. You then get rid of all the mail carriers and offer them a bujsiness oppurtunity to buy one of the us mail trucks. You set up your delivery days for the once a week delivery charging ther people for this additional service. You would be surprised how fast these self employed busness people would get the job done. problem solved usps profitable within the first month. If these mail carriers do not want to open their own small business open it up to other entreprenuers,

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30Philo(99 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

The closure of the Youngstown Postal facility is but one more consequence of not having a viable two party system in the Mahoning Valley. Think about it. From a national standpoint the GOP would never help the valley because we wouldn't support them no matter what they did for us. The Dems, on the other hand, don't need to help the valley because we'll vote them in no matter what they do or don't do for us. Nationally, the Dems can save a postal facility in a region where they need to actually compete with the GOP.
Just keep blindly voting for idiots like Hagan, Gerberry, and Ryan. They'll take care of you. Meanwhile, pray for your kids and grandkids as this area continues to deteriorate.

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31SkyKing310B(253 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Do you remember January 3, 2007??

The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was actually January 3rd 2007,the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.
The Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.

For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this:
January 3rd, 2007, the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress:
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%
The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION!
Remember that day...
January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.
The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!
THANK YOU DEMOCRATS (especially Barney) for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6% Unemployment...to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!

(BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie -starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy). Barney blocked it and called it a "Chicken Little Philosophy" (and the sky did fall!)
And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac? OBAMA
And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie?
OBAMA and the Democrat Congress, especially BARNEY!!!!
So when someone tries to blame Bush...
REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!"
Bush may have been in the car but the Democrats were in charge of the gas pedal and steering wheel they were driving the economy into the ditch.
Budgets do not come from the White House.. They come from Congress and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party. Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009 as well as 2010 & 2011.

In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.

For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budget.

And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009.

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32SkyKing310B(253 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.

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33VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Excellent posts SkyKing...
It is too bad our liberal media never mention statistics like you posted.

Of course we needn't worry, as Obama has already informed us he has 5 more years to correct our country's issues. I guess we may as well forget about going out to vote, because our leader has already declared victory.

This election year will set new records for the amount of money spent by big business to re-elect an incumbent President. And yet, those who oppose big business support Obama...strange bedfellows for a common cause...liberal policies designed to spend, spend, and spend for personal gain at the expense of our future.

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34jimmyd123(196 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh well...... So some more overpaid goverment workers will be out of a job... I'm sure they will find some place for them...

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35Hatman(1 comment)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Do we need mail everyday? I do not think most people do.
A. My opinion they should start a mail delivery every other day. If you want your mail every day, get a mail box. Very large firms this may not work, but 90% of the Business world it would.
B. Should require everyone possible to have a mail box at their drive as most houses and apartments build since the 70's do. Give them 1-2 years to get it installed Get the mail person off there feet and they can do 2 or 3 routes at day and no more dog or falling on ice and snow problems.

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