FAIRMONT, W.Va. – On Friday, officials from the U.S. Postal Service announced the closure of several offices across West Virginia. According to president of the American Postal Worker’s Union, Sinika Melvin that decision was quickly reversed on Monday.
“They did decide to postpone the closures of the Parkersburg, Beckley and East Side station in Fairmont,” Melvin said,”While they reevaluate the situation, but it’s not permanent.”
The closures would have taken effect on August 22, 2020.
Melvin says seven years ago the processing center in Clarksburg was relocated and hours of smaller locations were reduced making it much more difficult for people to do business with the USPS.
“You have small post offices like Idamay that close at noon or Farmington that closes around 2:30 p.m.,” Melvin said,”So, most people can’t get to the post offices anymore and if we keep letting them cut back we’re not going to have the post office available to the people.”
Post office locations should be accessible and convenient, according to Melvin.
“People need more than just one post office to go to in a city that size,” Melvin said,”Whether it’s location, travel issues or general crowding, and during the coronavirus we need to maintain social distancing.”
Louis DeJoy, the newly appointed United States Postmaster General issued a directive before the closures were announced and suggested proposed changes could save the financially struggling organization $200 million.
“This operational pivot is long overdue and today, we are talking about the first step in a journey we must take together, for the health and stability of the Postal Service,” the directive read. “The shifts will be simple, but they will be challenging as we seek to change our culture and move away from past practices previously used.”
“The Post Master General has given new directives to curtail overtime, to curtail the mail and to curtail hours and now unfortunately, the public is being impacted by these decisions,” Melvin said,”There’s been no communication with union, the employees or the communities.”
West Virginians are urged to contact lawmakers to preserve the post offices, service hours and jobs. Melvin says there are plans to cut hours in Clarksburg, Wierton, Beckley and Wheeling.
While the decision to close the East Side Post Office in Fairmont is under review, hours at the Clarksburg Post Office will be reduced to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to noon for Saturday On August 22, 2020.
Similar to Clarksburg, hours will be reduced at post office locations in cities like Weston, Augusta, Berkeley Springs, Chapmanville, Fayetteville and many more.
“Not only do we need people to speak to their representatives and congressmen to stop them from curtailing hours and closing post offices,” Melvin said,”But, the general practices- we need the mail to get where it’s supposed to go on time and where it should be.”
Melvin has also urged the federal delegation form West Virginia to pass the Heroes Act that contains relief for the postal system.