Postal workers have the blues: Ulster locations targeted in cost-cutting consolidation

Steve HutkinsBlog, News As the month of September draws near, Ulster County postal workers in the 125 postal area are expressing fear and trepidation in the face of organizational changes slated to affect the operation of county post offices, part of a bold USPS nationwide reorganization and consolidation plan to cut costs.

The 125 refers to all the post offices in southeast Ulster County identified by the first three numbers of the zip code. Directly affected are Highland (Town of Lloyd), Milton (Town of Marlborough), Modena and Clintondale (both in the Town of Plattekill), Wallkill (Town of Shawangunk), and Gardiner. The bulk of 125 post offices are in Orange and Dutchess counties.

Clintondale, Modena and New Paltz had been identified in February as three Ulster County sites under consideration for conversion.

The anxiety was contagious last week as state senators Michelle Hinchey and Rob Rolison publicized the contents of a letter they sent to postmaster general Louis DeJoy entitled “Fight to Protect Hudson Valley Post Offices.” They called for the consolidation plan to be reversed.

Diana Cline, president of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Mid Hudson Local #3722, signed on to the Hinchey-Rolison letter, asserting that DeJoy’s plan “will adversely affect customer service in our rural communities.” 

Hinchey also raised the spectre of the potential closure of numerous local post offices or their conversion into sorting and delivery centers, known as S&DCs.

Mark Lawrence, a strategic communications specialist for the postal service, reached out to set the record straight.

“No post offices will be closed,” said Lawrence, “and PO Box service will not be changed with the implementation of the S&DCs.”

Postmaster general Louis DeJoy said this month he would be significantly reducing work hours by closing some facilities and ‘removing inefficiencies.’

Pushed to answer whether post offices could be closed outside the implementation of the S&DC plans, Lawrence did not directly respond. “The transformation of our network,” he said, “is necessary and fundamental to our continuation as an organization and service to the American people and our business customers.”

Read more: Postal workers have the blues – Hudson Valley One