It’s no secret that the U.S. Postal Service is looking at shutting more than 3,200 post offices as part of a major downsizing initiative. Less known is that 20 privately run post offices are also on the chopping block, but in this case because of a labor agreement with the American Postal Workers Union.
Under its latest contract with the APWU signed last year, the Postal Service agreed to close 20 “contract postal units” (CPUs) or else insource the work “as soon as practicable.” Those units are in New York, Texas, Florida,Puerto Rico and several other states. Given that there are more than 3,000 contract postal units nationwide, it’s not clear why these were singled out, but several Republican members of Congress aren’t happy about it.
The 20 CPUs in question provide “handsome levels of revenue” to the Postal Service “in a more cost-effective manner than traditional post office facilities,” Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Steve Southerland, both of Florida, and John Carter and Ted Poe of Texas wrote in a letter earlier this month to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and APWU President Cliff Guffey. Besides employing more than two dozen people, the units generated an estimated $20 million in revenue last year and are “highly-trafficked businesses that provide their surrounding areas with unparalleled levels of customer service,” they added. The four lawmakers concluded by asking for a review and reconsideration of the decision to close them.
It should come as no surprise that the APWU would prefer to have the work done in-house by career postal workers. It’s not clear, though, whether this is a first-ever arrangement or has some precedent in previous contracts. FedLine’s attempts to get comment from the Postal Service and the APWU were unsuccessful.