TOPEKA (KSNT) – The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is fighting the closure of the USPS Sherwood Annex, according to APWU President Catherine Hackett-Brown.
On July 17, the USPS posted a notice at the Sherwood Annex that the location would be relocated in 30 days by Aug. 26. Hackett-Brown told 27 News the way the post office closed violated Title 39 of the U.S. Federal code. Since closing, the local APWU filed a formal complaint with USPS.
Under section 241.3 of Title 39 of the U.S. Federal Code, there are rules to consider whether a Post Office, station or branch should be discontinued. The rules apply when combining, replacing or discontinuing a Post Office, station or branch without providing a replacement facility.
Under requirements for closure of facilities, a district manager, headquarters vice president or designee of either may initiate a study of facilities for possible discontinuance. Certain factors must be considered before closure or consolidation including:
- The effect on the community served
- The effect on employees of the USPS-operated retail facility
- Compliance with government policy that the Postal Service must provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities and small towns where post offices aren’t self-sustaining
Hackett-Brown claims the USPS failed to follow mandatory procedures prior to discontinuance:
- The public must be given 60 days’ notice of a proposed action to enable the persons served by a USPS-operated retail facility to evaluate the proposal and provide comments.
- The written determination must be made available to persons served by the USPS-operated retail facility at least 60 days before the discontinuance takes effect.
Hackett-Brown said the USPS failed to give 60 days of public notice. Additionally, Hackett-Brown said the Sherwood Annex operated as a retail facility and the effect on the community served and on employees of the facility weren’t adequately considered.
“They [customers] now have to wait an hour to an hour-and-a-half at Gage,” Hackett-Brown said. “Sherwood serves 33,000 customers and now they want to put it at the worst and smallest location.”
KSNT 27 News contacted Strategic Communications Specialist Mark Inglett for comment on the APWU’s recent actions. A request was made for comment, for details on the APWU’s motion, if USPS had heard from the APWU’s attorney, whether Title 39 would apply to the closing and what the current status of the situation is.
Inglett said the USPS will review concerns raised by the APWU and will respond directly to them.