From Staff Reports
CUMBERLAND — A protest march and rally against cuts to post office hours and delays in mail deliveries is planned for Sunday at Ryan’s on Foxcroft Avenue in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Community and Postal Workers United (www.cpwunited.com) announced the rally that is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday. The date marks the 43rd anniversary of the Great Postal Strike of 1970 on St. Patrick’s Day.
Postal union officials charge that elimination of Saturday delivery, scheduled to occur in August, will not only harm the postal service, but small businesses, rural communities, the elderly and the disabled.
Union officials describe the decision as “misguided and counterproductive ... in keeping with the postmaster general’s slash-and-shrink approach to dealing with the postal service’s financial challenges.”
“Instead of offering a real business plan to tap the full potential of this essential American institution, he is offering a plan that will doom USPS to failure,” the union news release said.
Area post offices reducing hours from previous eight-hour schedules include Oldtown, Little Orleans and Wiley Ford, W.Va., all four hours a day; Spring Gap, two hours per day; and Ellerslie, Mount Savage and Great Cacapon, all six hours per day.
Rally organizers said that Martinsburg and Cumberland mail will be sorted in Baltimore.
In January, the USPS announced a list of 81 mail processing plants to be consolidated by July 31.
The USPS board of governors has pressured Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to speed up the consolidations, resulting in 18 more processing plants added to the list, according to the news release.
Martinsburg and Cumberland mail sorting operations will end and mail will be trucked to and sorted at Baltimore, leaving no mail sorting facilities in the tri-state area. Last year, Winchester’s (Va.) mail sorting operation was closed.
More than half of the nationwide processing and distribution centers will be eliminated.
Mail from Cumberland will be shipped 136 miles to Baltimore and then shipped back — 272 miles round trip — to send a letter across the street.
Mail from Martinsburg will be shipped 90 miles to Baltimore and then shipped back — 180 miles round trip — to send a letter across the street.
Mail sorted locally can be delivered the same or next day. Mail shipped to Baltimore will be delayed by one or more days, maybe even weeks, according to rally organizers.