WASHINGTON — Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, is lashing out at the U.S. Postal Service for what he calls “illogical” and unsubstantiated justification for the planned shuttering of a mail processing facility on Loyola Avenue in New Orleans and giving the work to an existing facility in Baton Rouge.
Richmond obtained a 2012 report from the Postal Service that claims $16.58 million in savings during the first year of the consolidation, offset by one-time relocation costs of $1.16 million.
The report projected that consolidation of New Orleans/Baton Rouge mail-processing operations will cause 529 employees in New Orleans to lose their jobs and result in a net loss of 24 managerial jobs overall. But it said those losses are offset somewhat by a gain of 234 jobs in Baton Rouge and the eligibility for retirement of 202 workers in New Orleans.
But Richmond, who has opposed the consolidation, said significant data in the Postal Service report is redacted, making it impossible to assess the Postal Service’s claims.
“Given the profound impact that this decision will have on my constituents, it is unacceptable that, despite several requests from my office, the USPS has provided data that either fails to explain the financial advantage of consolidating these facilities, or is so heavily redacted it is impossible to interpret in any meaningful way,” Richmond said in a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan. “There are numerous cases in the report in which the USPS reports savings that are illogical, while redacting all data used to reach these numbers.”
Richmond contends the consolidation will cost New Orleans more than 800 middle-class jobs, and threaten small businesses and households that rely on the Postal Service for timely mail service.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is also fighting to keep the New Orleans processing facility open.
“To close this facility – which has been a lynchpin for postal services in the region for over 50 years and processes over 2 million pieces of mail a day – is unwise and unnecessary,” Landrieu said. “I recognize the Postal Service must reorganize, but any cuts made must be smart, sustainable cuts that don’t do more harm than good. More than 800 jobs are at stake and neither the Postal Service nor its workers can afford the impact of such a short-sighted, incomplete decision.”