About 100 U.S. Postal Service workers delivered a message with picket signs and bullhorns last Friday on the sidewalks outside the Whitestone Processing and Distribution Center.
They were protesting the planned downsizing of the facility’s operations and consolidation by next April with a Brooklyn center. The move would be part of a national facilities consolidation the financially beleaguered Postal Service plans, one that union officials say is being forced by unreasonable health plan pre-funding requirements.
“This is one of the few processing centers that works even above expectations, so it doesn’t make any sense to close this facility,” said City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside). Vallone, who was out supporting the picketers, noting that the facility provides 600 to 1,000 local jobs, depending on the time of year.
Vallone said all the area’s local, state and federal elected representatives are united in wanting the Whitestone facility to stay open.
“They should keep it open,” said Ron Suslak, president of the Queens area local of the American Postal Workers Union. “The only reason they’re closing it is they’re reducing service standards come Jan. 5.”
With the consolidation plan, locally mailed letters would be delivered within two days instead of one.