October 02, 2014

Kaine Reiterates Concern Over Planned Postal Consolidations In Roanoke, Norfolk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine sent a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, reiterating his concern over recent decisions by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to consolidate the mail processing facilities in Roanoke and Norfolk. Noting that both consolidations would move the centers by nearly 100 miles, Kaine requested that the Postmaster General respond to his questions regarding the moves’ effects on jobs and mail service in Virginia. Kaine first expressed concern over consolidation of the Roanoke processing facility in a letter with U.S. Senator Mark Warner to Donahoe in July.

“Both consolidations would move the processing facility operations by nearly 100 miles, upending many of my constituents and their families’ daily lives,” said Kaine. “These changes ripple through a community.”

“Many of my constituents have expressed concerns that, due to the consolidation of the mail processing facilities, it will be more difficult for individuals and small businesses to receive mail in a timely manner,” Kaine added. “For those who still see the Postal Service as the primary way they send and receive mail, especially the elderly population and those without internet service, the postal service is the main way they communicate with the outside world.”

Kaine also stated that, as a member of the Senate Budget Committee, he understands that difficult measures may be necessary to achieve cost savings at USPS but that he hopes the Postmaster General will keep in mind the impact that any actions may have on Virginians.

Full text of the letter is below:

September 29, 2014

 

The Honorable Patrick Donahoe

Postmaster General

United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20260-0050

 

Dear Mr. Donahoe:

I write regarding the operation and future plans for Virginia Processing and Distribution Centers, including your recent announcements to close the processing facilities at Roanoke and Norfolk.  I understand recent financial difficulties have sparked several proposals for saving money, and that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is currently undertaking many different ways to shore up its finances. 

It is my understanding that the Roanoke facility will be consolidated to Greensboro, North Carolina and that the Norfolk facility will be consolidated to Richmond, Virginia.  Both consolidations would move the processing facility operations by nearly 100 miles, upending many of my constituents and their families’ daily lives. 

I am therefore mindful that the decisions made by the Postal Service are done in a transparent manner and supported by accurate and up-to-date data.  Specifically, I request a response in writing that addresses the number of positions that are currently open at both facilities, what options are available for Virginia employees impacted by the closure, and the number of positions the Postal Service expects to transfer from the closing facility to the facility absorbing the operations. 

Your letter dated August 14, 2014 only addressed the net difference in positions once the consolidations at Roanoke and Norfolk are completed.  While I understand there are difficulties in assessing the total number of positions due to attrition, my concern is with the total number of people whose lives will be changed by closing the facility, as well as the impact on local businesses. For example, some who choose to stay at the Postal Service could find themselves having to travel long distances to find similar work.  Others will not be able to commute such a long way, and will either look for new work or be forced into unemployment.  These changes ripple through a community.

I also respectfully request a response in writing regarding mail servicing standards.  Many of my constituents have expressed concerns that, due to the consolidation of the mail processing facilities, it will be more difficult for individuals and small businesses to receive mail in a timely manner.  For those who still see the Postal Service as the primary way they send and receive mail, especially the elderly population and those without internet service, the postal service is the main way they communicate with the outside world.  Specifically, I request information on when and by how much mail servicing standards will be revised, and how that information will be disseminated to the public. 

As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I understand the importance of getting our fiscal house in order while maintaining funding for critical programs and services.  While I understand that difficult measures may be necessary to achieve needed cost savings, I urge the Postal Service to keep in mind the impact these consolidations will have on Virginians.  I look forward to working with you on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Tim Kaine

###