This past Monday Postal Service officials held a public hearing in Asheville, NC. Presumably, the public forum was held so USPS management could decide on whether or not to close a major mail processing facility there and move its operations down to Greenville, SC. If they decide to close it up and move to SC, the move would eliminate about 20 good-paying jobs and relocate 180 employees. I say “presumably” because the cynic in me believes they are just going through the motions and that their minds are already made up.
According to the account in the Asheville Citizen-Times, the turnout of concerned citizens was quite impressive (around 250), especially when one considers it was Thanksgiving week and most people had visions of turkeys and Black Friday dancing in their heads.
A poll conducted at the hearing was equally impressive. Asked who in the crowd thought moving the mail facility to Greenville was a good idea, no one held up their hand.
Officials at the hearing attempted to justify the closing by informing those present that the move would save the Postal Service ever so much money each year.
The audience wasn’t impressed.
The USPS bean-counters are currently in the process of “studying” the possible closure of more than half of its mail processing plants–252 out of 487–in a misguided effort to radically realign its network, a realignment that would also “realign” its delivery standards. Mail that today takes a day to deliver would, once realigned, take two to three days to deliver. Mail that today takes two days to deliver, would take three to four days to deliver, and so on.
Asheville resident Beverly Switzer said she was trying to understand how sending mail from Asheville to South Carolina made things more efficient since it would take longer for one of her letters to make it across town.
Ms. Switzer can’t understand it because the Postal Service’s concept of efficient is quite different from that of the general public.
Her dilemma reminds me of a former co-worker at the Thomasville post office. He was forever trying to understand the “reasoning” behind various plans initiated by postal management, as if reasoning had anything to do with it. Attempting to discover “reasoning” behind many of the Postal Service’s decisions will only cause a rational human being to go stark, raving mad.
Monday’s hearing once again underscored the fact that in many cases the general public has a better grasp of what these cuts will ultimately do than does postal management.
One of the attendees, Jonathan Dudley, made the insightful observation that by closing mail facilities, like the one in Asheville, it would speed up the demise of the Postal Service, not prevent it. Said Mr. Dudley, “You guys are pursuing a plan that’s going to shoot yourself in the foot.”
Jake Reess, a retired postal worker, offered some sound advice to postal officials when he said that it would be better for the USPS to concentrate on building up its business rather than driving customers away with longer delivery times.
Postal officials in Washington have said that if proposed closings, like the one in Asheville, receive enough opposition, they won’t close them.
If they’re being honest, the strong opposition voiced at last Monday’s hearing should convince them to leave the Asheville mail facility and its 200 hard-working employees where they are.
That’s if they’re being honest.
Based on my own past experience, it’s doubtful that they are. I hope I’m wrong. I guess we’ll find out early next year.
NALC President Fred Rolando announced earlier this week that 800,000 signatures have been collected so far in an effort to convince Congress to retain six day’s of mail delivery. The goal is 1 million by the end of the year. If you would like for mail delivery to continue six days a week and to save the Postal Service from being privatized, I would encourage you to print off a petition, have your friends and family sign it, and mail it to NALC headquarters in Washington, DC. If all of us who care about the future of the Postal Service would just gather 10 signatures, we can easily reach that goal of a million. To print off a petition, click here. For more information on how you can help save America’s Postal Service, click here.