APWU Donation to Save Small-Town Post Office

April 16, 2008

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The APWU has given a one-of-a-kind gift to the people of McCausland, Iowa: a donation of $30,000 to help save their post office. The contribution will pay for renovations to a building the small town purchased in order to stave off threats by the USPS to discontinue regular postal service for its 300 residents.

The saga began more than four years ago, when the Postal Service closed McCausland’s only post office because of mold contamination. A “temporary” post office has never been up to code, and the USPS threatened in January of this year to close it on April 25.

Without a new building, McCausland would lose its post office, and all of its residents would be switched to rural route delivery, postal officials announced.

The people of McCausland did not take the news lying down. The town purchased a building to house the post office in February for $55,000, and residents set about the daunting task of raising another $55,000 to pay for the wiring, plumbing, heating, and cooling needed to meet USPS demands.

The campaign to save mail service was led by McCausland City Council member Lloyd Claussen. Funds were raised “one pork sandwich at a time,” and events included bake sales, hog roasts, and soup suppers.

But even with the town’s purchase of a building and fervent fund-raising efforts by its citizens, the Postal Service remained non-committal about whether it would allow the post office to operate.

After the union and Iowa legislators got involved, the uncertainty ended. On March 28, Postmaster General John E. Potter confirmed, in a letter to APWU President William Burrus, that if USPS conditions were met, the threat of a McCausland Post Office suspension would be lifted.

Speaking about the unusual contribution, Burrus said, “We wanted to ensure that McCausland keeps its post office — and its identity. We felt the demands made on the community by the Postal Service were beyond their means.

“We were inspired by the efforts of local citizens to take matters into their own hands,” he said, “and we were proud to help.”

The union contribution “took a huge load off of everybody’s mind,” Claussen told the Quad City Times, but the tiny town still has other fund-raisers in the works, including a car show and a rummage sale. 

Most of the renovations will be done by volunteer labor, and city officials expect the building to be ready by July 31. The Postal Service will lease the building from the town for $400 per month.

The APWU donation will be officially presented by Bruce Clark, Iowa APWU president, on April 19 — at a fund-raising taco dinner. 

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