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USPS to Move Some Mail Processing from Hampden to Southern Maine, Congressman Golden Submits Bill to Halt Merger

Andy O’Brien
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PHOTO:APWU Maine members protest mail merger on February 24.

This week, the US Postal Service announced that it will go ahead and move outgoing mail processing from its Eastern Maine Mail Processing Facility in Hampden 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 for postal workers in Hampden.

“It is offensive that the Postal Service has declared the consolidation of the Eastern Maine P&DC as ‘good news,” Scott Adams, President of the American Postal Workers Union of Maine said in a statement. “The announcement fails to address the public input regarding new delays in mail delivery, the negative impact on the public’s confidence in ballot delivery, and how ‘network modernization’ is a regression from the ability to deliver parcels, medications, bills, and more.”

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.

Local 536 President Bob Perocchi said that he wasn’t surprised that the agency is moving forward with the plan, but he was disappointed. In a statement to Maine Labor News, he noted that the Southern Maine facility is already having problems in processing and delivering outgoing prime flats, a service that Hampden handled for years before it was moved to Scarborough last year. Perocchi said that last week Southern Maine Processing and Distribution asked the Eastern Maine facility for help processing its prime flats.

“This just goes to show you that the push back from the Maine people, our Maine congressional representatives, and the entire 151 state legislators opposing this consolidation means nothing in the pursuit of implementing the Delivering for America Plan," said Perocchi. "The Postal service continues to lie to Maine people."

Senator Susan Collins heavily criticized the decision and urged the postal service to “be transparent with Mainers about its impact.”

“This misguided decision, which I repeatedly urged the USPS to reject, jeopardizes the reliable delivery of mail, including critical medication for Mainers,” Senator Susan Collins said in a statement. “In addition, residents will certainly see their local mail delayed.”

Congressman Golden Introduces Bill to Freeze Consolidation Plans

Congressman Jared Golden immediately announced Wednesday that he will introduce legislation to freeze USPS consolidation of mail processing facilities all over the country, including in Maine.

“The Postal Service’s choice to move forward with consolidation of its Hampden facility despite overwhelming opposition across the state is unacceptable to Mainers who rely on timely mail service for everything from paying bills to receiving life-saving medication,” Golden said in a statement.“The move already caused significant delivery delays across the state when trialed last year, and will exacerbate existing challenges the USPS faces in fulfilling its obligation to Maine’s rural communities. It’s time to freeze the USPS’ broken review process and keep its bureaucrats accountable to the people they serve.”