BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - 700 workers at the William Street mail processing center can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
The Postal Service is backing off of its plan to close the facility, thanks - in no small part - to public backlash.
Rep. Brian Higgins said, "They established a public review process, and they never directly answered the questions that were raised during that process, like - 'Did you do a cost-benefit analysis? What is the factual basis for closing this facility?'"
News 4 has learned, the plan was legally doomed, as well. The Senate passed a bill last month, prohibiting the closure of any mail processing center, where doing so would end overnight delivery.
"Overnight delivery could not be guaranteed, without having a mail processing facility in Buffalo," said Higgins.
The William Street operation is safe for at least the next three years. As for what will happen after that?
Higgins said, "I think what we can do is, encourage the United States Postal Service to invest in upgrading, making that plant a state-of-the-art plant."
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Williams Street Processing Center, which would have been eligible for closure when the current post office and facility moratorium expires on May 15 th, will remain open for at least three years. Throughout the postal reform debate, Schumer lobbied the Postmaster General to keep the processing facility open, in order to preserve overnight mail service in Western New York and the facility's 700 jobs. In a personal conversation with Postmaster General Patrick Donohue, Schumer secured a commitment that the Williams Street center will remain open for the next three years.
"Western New York businesses, residents, and senior citizens rely each and every day on the Williams St. Processing Center for timely and reliable mail service that delivers everything from paychecks to Social Security payments at their door. The Buffalo processing facility is simply too important to the Western New York community, and its 700 employees, to be shut down, and I'm thrilled to announce that the Postmaster General agrees," said Schumer. "While I recognize the importance of making cost-saving reforms in order to preserve Post Office's vital services, I lobbied the Postmaster General to keep the Williams Street facility open, in order to prevent the loss of hundreds of jobs at the facility and hardship for families and businesses in Western New York. Today's news means the Buffalo processing facility's doors will be open for years to come, providing Western New Yorkers with the timely mail delivery that they deserve."
Following news in September 2011 that Buffalo would be one of eight facilities to be studied for closure or consolidation within New York State, and throughout the postal reform debate in April, Schumer pushed to keep the Buffalo Center open. In February, USPS announced that the Buffalo facility was included in the closure and consolidation moratorium which would have ended on May 15 th, when the Postal Service planned to transfer the operations of the William Street facility to Rochester. Schumer's effort will keep the facility open for at least 3 years.
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