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Postal Workers (APWU), Community Response, Congressional Delegation & More Pressure USPS to Pause Hampden Mail Consolidation

Andy O’Brien
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After aggressive input from local unions, state legislators and allies, Maine’s Congressional delegation — in partnership with members of Congress across the country — has pressured Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to pause the consolidation and network changes impacting the Eastern Maine Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Hampden until at least January of 2025. 

In a letter to Sen. Gary Peters, chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, DeJoy said he “need[s] more time to evaluate” the effects of these mail consolidation reviews "on timely mail service following outreach from lawmakers in both chambers and that he “will not advance these efforts without advising you of our plans to do so, and then only at a moderated pace of implementation.”

“We were very pleased to see that the Postal Service is pausing the current network changes until next year,” said Scott Adams, President of the American Postal Workers Union of Maine,  in a statement. “That should give sufficient time to assess the current delayed mail issues and hopefully correct them, inclusive of returning the process to the way it was before DeJoy's changes were implemented. There are no details to the effect this will have on the Eastern Maine P&DC, but since most changes have yet to take place, we see this as great news that should benefit Mainers and their mail service.”

The Maine AFL-CIO and the full labor movement in Maine are deeply committed to making this pause permanent and fully cancelling the consolidation.

Last month, the US Postal Service announced that it would go ahead and move outgoing mail processing from the Hampden facility to the other distribution center 130 miles away in Scarborough, despite strong objections from community residents, postal unions and top political officials. According to APWU Local 536, which represents workers at the Hampden facility, this move will likely result in delayed mail delivery for customers in rural Maine where we rely on the USPS for the delivery of medications, ballots and other critical mail as well as the loss of union jobs  in Hampden.

The action is part of Postmaster Louis DeJoy’s "Delivering for America" plan (more aptly described as the  "Delaying For America" plan), which plans to reduce operations at dozens of sites across the country.

The move was strongly opposed Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, Congressman Jared Golden, Senate President Troy Jackson and Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows. Sen. Collins and Sen. Gary Peters wrote a letter to DeJoy and the USPS Board of Governors dated May 8, calling on the USPS to halt any changes in mail operations at the Hampden facility until it could be studied further to ensure it wouldn’t delay mail deliveries. Collins said in a statement that she welcomed the decision but argued that the consolidation should be cancelled rather than postponed.

Golden also introduced bipartisan legislation to freeze mail processing facility consolidation plans nationwide. Mail Processing Facility Reviews were launched in 2021 to study the feasibility of relocating certain postal operations from local facilities to larger regional ones.

“I’ve fought tooth and nail to protect rural communities from the restructuring proposed by USPS because I know how Mainers rely on the mail to receive medicine, conduct business, and keep in touch with their loved ones,” Golden said in a statement. “This announcement is a big win for the entire state, and I’ll continue to push for a permanent stop to any plans that threaten mail service.”