All processing operations previously executed at the College Point facility will be moved to the Brooklyn Processing and Distribution Center, according to a statement released by USPS on Thursday, February 23.
Elected officials and postal union representatives also spoke out against the city recently for its practice of mailing property taxes through Newark, New Jersey, and water bills to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, instead of through its in-house Queens distribution center.
Opponents of the closure argue that sending mail to outer boroughs or states wastes time, money, and increases the risk for residents to pay their bills late.
However, the Postal Service experienced a 25 percent decline in first-class mail volume since 2006. Since it relies on the sale of postage, postal products and services, rather than tax dollars, it has to consolidate resources, according to the statement from USPS.
“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,” said USPS Chief Operating Officer Megan Brennan.
“Consolidating operations is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation,” she said.
In response to the decision, Queens representatives released statements that said the closure will also negatively affect residents and their families.
Congressman Joe Crowley, for example, expressed concern regarding the potential loss of the roughly 1,000 jobs the Queens distribution center provides.
“At a time when New Yorkers, like all Americans, are struggling during these difficult times, relocating or possibly laying off the workers at this facility could be devastating to the local Queens economy,” he said. “Closing this facility and cutting services won't get USPS out of the red, but it will hurt Queens families and businesses.”
In December 2011, USPS agreed on a moratorium on closing or consolidating post offices and processing centers before May 15, 2012, to give Congress the opportunity to devise another plan.
However, in the meantime, USPS continued to review a list of its postal facilities, including several in New York City.
State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky denounced USPS for making its decision prematurely, before the deadline for Congress to devise a new plan.
“Rather than take advantage of the time that has been bought for USPS by Congress in a recent moratorium on post office closures, USPS has decided to finalize their plans to shit down this facility,” she said. “This is like governmental jeopardy – the USPS has the answers before we've asked the questions.”
In addition, “this will be devastating to our neighborhood,” she added, “and many of my constituents' livelihoods will be in peril.”
The Postal Service did not release specific dates for the transition. Until dates are announced, mail will continue to be processed in the College Point facility.
In addition, according to a statement, implementation of the consolidation is contingent upon whether Congress releases an alternative plan. The release of the USPS decision is for the purposes of planning and notification in accordance with existing employee contracts.