For months we have been rallying against the unjustified plans for closure of the Buffalo mail processing facility which has included a flawed public process, no substantial economic rationalization and even secret studies.
We have been fighting for a better review of the economic impact, maintenance of next-day delivery standards, and relief of the pension prefunding requirement, all measures this bill achieves.
Bottom line, the legislation approved by the Senate, while not perfect, saves thousands of jobs in Western New York. Yesterday’s passages crosses one hurdle in the necessary path toward postal reform and now I will fight for the House of Representatives to approve legislation that keeps the United States Postal Facility strong and viable and fulfils our goal of keeping the William Street facility open.
Job Impact Background:
· Nearly 700 people are employed at the Buffalo Mail Processing Facility
· 5,000 people in the Buffalo region are directly employed in the printing industry with many thousands more employed in supporting occupations. Buffalo’s unique position as the gateway to the U.S. for Toronto and the golden horseshoe of Southern Ontario is critical to these companies’ viability.
· In addition WNY is home to 50 companies with more than 16,000 employees in back office operations including: HSBC, M&T Bank, First Niagara Bank, Geico, Chase, Citigroup, etc. Companies like these rely on next day delivery.
· The Buffalo facility processed 30 million pieces of mail a week from Canada, a statistic that illustrates the strong interconnectivity between the Western New York and Southern Ontario economies.
What the bill does:
· This bill institutes a one-year moratorium on all post office closings and consolidations.
· In addition it requires the USPS to maintain certain overnight delivery standards for 3 years.
· The bill will require additional evaluation before a processing facility can be closed such as determining economic impact and providing alternative plans for closing the facility.
· This bill allows the USPS to recoup $11 billion in overpayments to its pension that will help in the short term to fund USPS operations
· Caps bonuses to postal executives
· Provides greater protections for community post offices by requiring the Postal Service to consider several factors before closing post offices, such as lack of access to broadband and internet services, transportation challenges and the age and demographic factors in the area served.
Timeline of Congressman Higgins’ fight to keep the William Street facility open:
February 28, 2012: In Meeting With Postmaster General, Higgins Fights for Buffalo
February 23, 2012: Statement by Congressman Higgins On USPS Announcement
January 19, 2012: Statement from Higgins on William Street Mail Facility Job Posting
January 12, 2012: Congressman Higgins Requests Meeting with U.S. Postmaster General
January 4, 2012: Public Hearing Testimony By Congressman Brian Higgins
December 5, 2011: Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins
November 28, 2011: Higgins Ask USPS: “Are You Really Listening?”
October 4, 2011: Higgins & Slaughter Protest William Street Postal Facility Closing
September 26, 2011: Higgins Files Complaint with Postal Regulatory Commission
September 15, 2011: Statement on News of Potential William Street Post Office Closing