February 15, 2024

Any Loss of Services at USPS Center Is Wrong

Since I last visited the U.S. Postal Service’s processing and distribution center in South Charleston, right after a review of operations at the facility was announced, I have spoken at length with U.S. Postmaster Louis DeJoy, USPS staff and postal workers. I am now more concerned than ever about the potential for staff relocations and significant reductions in services for West Virginia families and businesses.

I also need to set the record straight in response to an opinion piece penned by a USPS spokesman that ran in the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Wednesday.

First and foremost, West Virginians’ concerns about the transition of this facility from a processing and distribution center to a local processing center are not due to an inability to “comprehend” what is happening. West Virginians understand all too well what is happening. The USPS Inspector General has already identified problems with the ongoing USPS consolidation effort that has resulted in less efficient, less reliable mail service. If the Charleston facility becomes a local processing center, every piece of our mail will have to travel hundreds of miles from Charleston to Pennsylvania and then back to West Virginia. There is simply no way that will result in better service for West Virginians.

I also take issue with the USPS spokesman’s assertion that the Postal Service is self-sustaining. Just two years ago, Congress had to step up to bail out the Postal Service because it was hundreds of billions of dollars in debt. We did that because of the essential services the USPS provides to rural communities in places like West Virginia. But that investment of American taxpayer dollars comes with a responsibility to include them in the decision-making processes.

The USPS Inspector General has repeatedly faulted the Postal Service for not sufficiently communicating with stakeholders and impacted communities before final decisions are made. The spokesman’s opinion piece implied that the future of the Charleston facility is already decided. That would be a slap in the face of every West Virginian who spent their Valentine’s Day at a public meeting to make their voices heard.

If the USPS is worried about saving money, they should consider consolidating operations right here in West Virginia. The cost of living in Charleston is 62% lower than in Pittsburgh. West Virginia is also home to the hardest working, most loyal workers in the nation, and the West Virginians who work at this facility proudly come to work every day to keep the mail running efficiently for their neighbors.

Let me be clear: any reduction in services or personnel at the Charleston facility would defy the Postal Service’s mission of reliably serving every community. It is a gross offense to the public’s faith and trust for such an important organization that receives federal dollars to spread misinformation and disinformation about the people of West Virginia, and I will personally hold the USPS accountable for transparency and honesty throughout this process.

By:  Senator Joe Manchin
Source: Charleston Gazette Mail