Durbin, Kirk, Manzullo Stress Importance of Keeping USPS Jobs in Illinois During Meeting with Postmaster General

Post office needs to show evidence that consolidating Rockford, Quincy, Springfield and other Illinois facilities would reduce cost and create efficiencies

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Representative Don Manzullo (R-IL) stressed the importance of keeping good-paying U.S. Postal Service (USPS) jobs in Illinois communities in a meeting with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.  The Illinois members requested the meeting after learning of the Postal Service’s plan to review its mail processing network in the hopes of reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.


Of the nearly 250 facilities being studied for consolidation, nine are in Illinois, including five – Rockford, Springfield, Quincy, Carbondale and Centralia – that are being considered for consolidation with out-of-state facilities.  All nine facilities are owned by the Postal Service and employ a total of approximately 1,800 people. 


“These consolidation studies have created a lot of uncertainty in communities across Illinois that are already struggling during these difficult economic times,” said Durbin.  “Senator Kirk, Congressman Manzullo and I stressed our concern over the Postal Service’s proposals that would cause our state to lose hundreds of good-paying jobs.  We made it clear to the Postmaster General that closing these facilities without solid evidence of cost-savings and community input would be unacceptable.”


“The Postal Service, like the federal government, needs to live within its means during these tough economic times,” Senator Kirk said.  “However, we need to ensure that facilities are not haphazardly closed.  With an already high unemployment rate in Rockford, the Postal Service needs to justify why the facility should be closed, particularly considering the community’s size and geographic location.”


“The Rockford mail processing center is continually rated among the most efficient in the nation. It makes no sense to close Rockford and send the jobs out of state into Madison, especially when Rockford continues to struggle with high unemployment,” Manzullo said. “Furthermore, the people of northern Illinois deserve to continue having overnight mail service. It’s critical to our business climate, and in these difficult economic times we cannot accept the massive delivery delays that would be caused by moving Rockford mail processing operations to Wisconsin. I will continue to work with Senators Durbin and Kirk to keep mail processing operations in Rockford.”


Rockford Processing and Distribution Facility 

The USPS is currently studying the possibility of moving operations from the Rockford Processing and Distribution Facility to an out-of-state facility in Madison, Wisconsin.  This study is the second the Postal Service has conducted on the Rockford facility – which has continually been ranked as a leader in productivity and efficiency – this year.  In March 2011, Durbin, Kirk and Manzullo wrote to the Postmaster General, expressing their concern about the United States Postal Service’s plan to conduct a study examining the possibility of moving operations performed at the Rockford Processing and Distribution Facility to the Postal Service’s Carol Stream facility. 


In 2006, Congressman Manzullo met with Postmaster General John Potter and convinced the Postal Service to delay and eventually abandon its plans to shutter Rockford’s mail processing operations and move them to Palatine. The consolidation would have meant eight counties in northwest Illinois would have lost overnight mail delivery and Rockford would have lost 100 jobs. Nearly 6,000 residents and business owners signed petitions, dozens of local governments passed resolutions of support, and more than 500 showed up for a public forum in 2006 to keep mail operations in Rockford.


Quincy Processing and Distribution Annex 

The USPS is currently studying the possibility of moving operations from Quincy, Illinois to an out-of-state facility in St. Louis, Missouri as part of the nationwide comprehensive review of the Service’s mail processing network.  This review of the Quincy facility runs contrary to an August 2009 letter from then-Postmaster General Jack Potter to Durbin announcing that a similar Area Mail Processing (AMP) study would have yielded no significant cost savings or efficiencies. 


In response, Durbin, in his role as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), inserted language in the committee’s annual appropriations bill that would help protect jobs at the Processing and Distribution Annex in Quincy, Illinois and ensure community involvement in the study regarding consolidation and closure of the facility.  The legislation was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and awaits a vote by the full Senate.


In June 2009, Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) – the committee with financial jurisdiction over the USPS – sent a similar letter to the Postmaster General in regards to their plans to conduct an AMP study on the Processing and Distribution Annex in Quincy.  After Durbin directed the Postal Service not to pursue the study as part of the FY2010 appropriations process, the USPS announced the termination of the study. 


Springfield Processing and Distribution Facility 

On October 12, Durbin and Kirk joined Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Bobby Schilling (R-IL) in sending a letter to the Postmaster General expressing concern about the proposed consolidation of  mail processing operations performed at the Springfield Processing and Distribution Facility with those performed at the our-of-state St. Louis, Missouri facility.  The consolidation could lead to a loss of 234 jobs in Illinois’ capital city which is home to about 115,000 residents.