Rage over plan to close postal plant

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Some tempers flared at a public hearing Wednesday night on the plan to shut down the main post office on William Street.

People refused to yield the microphone, and lit into Postal Service managers over the plan to close the William Street facility.

"Fatally flawed" and "lacking integrity" - those are just a few of the more polite terms used by citizens, elected officials, and Postal Service employees, who are outraged over a proposal to close the Processing and Distribution Center on William Street.

The Postal Service argues consolidating with the Rochester facility would save $28.8 million a year. No one listening to that argument Wednesday night believed the numbers add up.

Jim Price of the American Postal Workers' Union, Local 186, said, "They're putting this plan over the American public, pulling the wool over their eyes, saying it's a volume issue, taking advantage of the economy, and it's just not right!"

Fillmore District Councilman David Franczyk said, "The kind of bean-counting and doubletalk that I heard tonight is what's wrecking our country."

Congressman Brian Higgins added, "In September, Buffalo was recognized with a gold award for efforts to implement and create business growth opportunities for the Postal Service. Why are you closing this facility?"

Some 200 people turned out for what was billed as a "public meeting" about the plan - in spite of the fact that the Postal Service only notified the media, politicians, and its top business customers that the meeting was taking place.

"The lack of transparency and public involvement in this process is downright appalling and insulting. Insulting," declared Rep. Higgins.

If the consolidation happens, first-class mail that currently receives overnight delivery would take a minimum of two to three days to go to its destination.

American Postal Workers' Union president Frank Resitarits said, "If they move the plant from Buffalo to Rochester, next-day delivery is gone. One-day delivery will become two-day and three-day delivery."

The future of the 700 workers at the facility remains uncertain. The final decision about keeping or closing the William Street postal facility will be made by the Postmaster General. Only an act of Congress can supersede that, so either way, it's up to Washington.

Congressman Higgins said Wednesday night, "We have only begun to fight."

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