Rep. Suzan DelBene hails decision as ‘major victory for families and businesses in our region’
REDMOND, Wash. (March 2, 2022) — Following an outcry from local postal workers, community members, and some timely intervention by U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1st), the U.S. Postal Service has announced it will not end mail processing at the Seattle East Delivery Distribution Center facility in Redmond after all.
In a Feb. 25 letter to union representatives, a USPS official wrote that after “further consideration of the Washington District,” it has scrapped plans to consolidate mail processing at the Redmond facility and move operations south to Tukwila. This consolidation would have slowed mail delivery across King and Snohomish counties. The facility processes mail for Mercer Island, Bellevue, Issaquah, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Snoqualmie Pass, Carnation, Duvall, Fall City, Mill Creek, Bothell, Woodinville, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Kirkland, Redmond, and Everett.
DelBene toured the facility in early January and listened to the concerns of constituents and USPS employees about the plan to eliminate mail processing at the Seattle East Delivery Distribution Center (DDC) facility in Redmond. She then wrote a letter to Postmaster Louis DeJoy urging against the plan and requesting that he visit the center with her to see its importance to the growing region.
“Today is a major victory for families and businesses in our region that rely on the post office every day,” Rep. DelBene said. “The planned consolidation of the Redmond facility would have further delayed mail delivery to nearly 1 million residents in King and Snohomish counties by routing mail through Tukwila. Earlier this year, supported by union leaders, I demanded Postmaster General DeJoy scrap his plan that relied on decade-old data to move operations from this facility. We delivered for our communities today by finally putting an end to this planned consolidation. Our region is growing and now is the time to invest in expanding postal capacity, not curbing it.”
“Since 2013, when the Postal Service announced the planned consolidation of mail processing from Redmond and over 100 other sites across the country, we have won partial victories in delaying many of those events,” said David Yao, Vice President of the Greater Seattle Area Local APWU (American Postal Workers Union). “The resistance of our local union and the intervention of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene have kept that work onsite, preventing needless extra miles of travel for mail heading to east King County, as well as preventing dislocation for the workers who have served there for many years.”
In a Sept. 17, 2021 news release, the Postal Service announced “new service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals” that “will increase time-in-transit standards by 1 or 2 days.” Only 61 percent of First-Class Mail will be unaffected. For example, mail from Washington state being sent to the eastern United States will take five days to deliver, as opposed to the longtime three-day delivery standard.
More than 130,000 postal customers submitted comments in opposition to slower mail delivery, as part of the public comment process. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined Attorneys Generals from 20 other states in filing an Aug. 20 Statement of Position opposing the slower mail standards.
The East DDC in Redmond was one of 18 facilities nationwide that were initially targeted to lose their local mail processing capability. USPS employees and their supporters held a protest there last October in opposition to the proposal.
DelBene is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2021, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a strong bipartisan vote of 342-92 on Feb. 8. Strongly supported by the American Postal Workers Union and other unions representing USPS employees, H.R. 3076 would protect six-day delivery, increase public transparency about USPS performance, and perhaps most importantly, repeal the onerous pre-funding mandate from a 2006 law that required the USPS to fully pre-fund the health benefits for postal workers 75 years in advance. This requirement, which no other public or private entity is burdened with, is responsible for 84 percent of the Postal Service’s net losses since 2007.
TAKE A STAND — Following years of debate to build consensus, it is time to pass this vital and carefully constructed legislation, a bipartisan compromise bill that will bring financial stability to the Postal Service. Send your U.S. senators a message urging them to pass the Postal Service Reform Act. You can also click here to call or go ahead and dial 844-959-1425 to leave them that message. And finally, sign the petition in support of H.R. 3076.