by Bill Cleary
(cnbnews.net)A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said on Thursday that the letter carriers
from the Gloucester City Post Office along with carriers that serve Bellmawr, Brooklawn and Haddon Heights will be moved on August 25 to a carrier annex on Mt. Ephraim Avenue, in Camden City. Letter carriers from Camden already work out of that building.
Local residents and businesses with postal boxes will still be able to pick up their mail. And there will be a clerk working the window selling stamps and money orders etc.
CNBNews received a tip about the switch from one of the postal employees who didn’t want to be identified.
Post Office spokes person Ray Daiutolo Sr. said, “This is an efficiency move happening in post offices across the country. This doesn’t affect the retail part of the post office. We are doing this to combine resources and save transportation costs. Instead of having truck drivers drop the mail off at each post office for delivery we will only have to drop it off to one. Haddonfield has already been merged with Cherry Hill. In the near future other carriers will be moved such as those in the Buena and Franklinville post offices.”
Asked if the postmasters and supervisors at these offices will lose their jobs, Daiutolo said, “If the carriers are moving to another office then the postmaster responsibility for those employees will switch to that office. However, that individual will still be a postmaster of that office. As for supervisors we have a good history of finding jobs for anyone whose position is eliminated internally. We rely on attrition and retirements. When we plan moves like this we freeze jobs as they become available long before the change so that there are openings when they are needed.”
Daiutolo was asked about the effect on customer service? For example what happens with a package or certified mail of a customer who isn’t home? Normally they can pick it up that day; what happens to it now?
“The customer can still pick it up at the local post office but they may have to wait until the next day, it depends. We will not make customers go out of their way to pick up packages or their mail.”
Daiutolo said most customers won’t even know there has been a change. There will still be a Gloucester City Post Office just that the letter carriers will not be working out of that building.
Steve Lipski, President of NALC Branch 908 the union that represents South Jersey Letter Carriers was asked how this reorganization was going to affect the carriers and postal customers.
“I can’t comment on what is happening until all the facts are known. But I will tell you there are three different scenarios in play. The first, is because machines are going to take over that section of the Bellmawr Postal Facility that carriers presently occupy those postal employees are being forced out of the building. Because carriers who serve Gloucester City and Brooklawn are connected with Bellmawr then all carriers have to relocate. However this is not how the National level has defined this action. What the union is saying is why should all of us have to be moved when only the Bellmawr carriers are being forced out of their present location. We want the carriers who serve Gloucester City and Brooklawn to stay where they are."
"The second scenario, the carriers from Gloucester City, Bellmawr and Haddon Heights become Camden. We bid on all the routes based on seniority. Whoever is last on the list gets the last route available, whether it be in Bellmawr, Camden, Gloucester City etc.”
Lipski said in the third scenario the Camden annex is just a housing unit and the carriers from Haddon Heights, Gloucester and Bellmawr keep the same seniority and routes they presently are working. “These are the three scenarios we are hearing. We still don’t know which one will win out. I can’t file a grievance until then.”
Lipski believes there is reason for residents of Gloucester City to be concerned. “It will be a logistical nightmare. Packages and mail you can’t deliver for one reason or another that day will have to be dropped off at the Gloucester post office for the customer to pick up. If management determines it is taking the carrier too much time to drop off that mail at the Gloucester post office that will impact the daily delivery standards.
Lipski said the Gloucester City post office building is outdated and needs to be brought up to code. It was built in the 1930’s. “Are they going to continue to heat and cool a building that can house 30 people for only one or two employees? Or will the Postal Service say this is the end of the Gloucester City Post Office? There is no doubt in my mind that Gloucester City residents need a local post office.”
Asked for a response Daiutolo said, “This process is designed to help us reduce operating costs and make better use of our resources. These changes are transparent to customers and do not impact delivery or retail services. The interchange of staff, equipment, and other resources are put in place to improve efficiencies. Continuous improvement in our operations enables us to fulfill our mission of providing our nation with universal service to every home and business address at affordable prices. We will continue to provide customers who visit the retail locations with the same service. If a customer needs to retrieve a certified letter or package, they will continue to retrieve these articles at their regular Post Office. We are following all applicable collective bargaining procedures regarding employee changes and we are communicating regularly with our unions and management associations. Our goal is to keep mail relevant, affordable, and growing.”