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U.S. Senators Manchin, Capito urge USPS to reevaluate initial mail processing facility review findings

West Virginia Press Association

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) submitted a letter to United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to express their concerns with the initial findings of the USPS Mail Processing Facility Review (MPFR) of the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). The initial findings recommend transitioning the Charleston P&DC into a Local Processing Center (LPC), which would result in a reduction of jobs and could also result in service disruptions and other negative impacts on the local workforce.

“The loss of the only P&DC in West Virginia would have a negative impact on our constituents and leave our state at a competitive disadvantage. Based on the information that has been provided to us, the full scope of potential impacts on West Virginia’s postal services. While we understand the need for USPS to improve operational efficiencies, this should not come at the cost of West Virginia jobs and disruptions to service standards,” the Senators wrote in part.

“As USPS proceeds, we urge you to work with affected stakeholders, including relevant unions, state and federal representatives, and West Virginia customers, to address these outstanding concerns,” the Senators continued. “In the case of career reassignments, we ask the Postal Service to address the needs of impacted employees. Finally, we ask for proactive communication with postal workers about the impact of this MPFR on their careers.”

The full letter is available below and here.

Dear Postmaster DeJoy,

We are writing to express our concerns regarding the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)’s ongoing Mail Processing Facility Review (MPFR) of the Charleston Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) under the 10-year Delivering for America plan. As the MPFR’s recommendations are finalized, the Postal Service must do right by West Virginia: minimizing staffing reductions, addressing impacts to affected workers and proactively preventing any deterioration of service. The Charleston P&DC is the largest mail processing and distribution facility in the state, and we are pleased to see that USPS’ initial findings support keeping this critical facility open. However, we are disappointed to learn that the initial findings of the MPFR recommend a net reduction of jobs in West Virginia, and are concerned that the facility’s transition to a Local Processing Center (LPC) collocated with a Sorting and Delivery Center (S&DC) could result in service disruptions and negative effects on the local workforce. Further, we question whether USPS’ facility review truly shows that this is the best course of action, given the inconsistent and nonspecific answers that we and the public have received.

The loss of the only P&DC in West Virginia would have a negative impact on our constituents and leave our state at a competitive disadvantage. Based on the information that has been provided to us, the full scope of potential impacts on West Virginia’s postal services is unclear. While we understand the need for USPS to improve operational efficiencies, this should not come at the cost of West Virginia jobs and disruptions to service standards. We were proud to support the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 (PL 117-108) because we know the importance of USPS to West Virginia communities and ensuring the Postal Service meets the challenges and needs of our modern economy. As USPS modernizes this facility, we urge the Postal Service to ensure this process minimizes short- and long-term disruptions to mail service and delivery.

Due to these recent challenges, we are particularly concerned that the initial findings of the MPFR call for a net reduction of 24 craft and 1 management positions. The initial findings also reference potential reassignments for career postal workers. We are also concerned about how USPS plans to prevent any service disruption during this transition period.

Furthermore, throughout the review process, USPS has not engaged with the public or postal workers openly and transparently. During the public review period, USPS held just one public meeting, which was initially scheduled during working hours on a weekday, only to be abruptly postponed four days before it was to be held and rescheduled for the evening of Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2024. In addition, despite identifying a potential reduction of 25 staff, we have yet to learn who will be affected, how USPS plans to relocate these workers within the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, or the cost of implementing the transition and staff relocation. As USPS proceeds, we urge you to work with affected stakeholders, including relevant unions, state and federal representatives, and West Virginia customers, to address these outstanding concerns. In the case of career reassignments, we ask the Postal Service to address the needs of impacted employees. Finally, we ask for proactive communication with postal workers about the impact of this MPFR on their careers.

We look forward to working together to ensure that USPS can continue to serve the people of West Virginia efficiently and effectively. We thank you for your attention to this matter.

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