Mail Processing Staying Put in Western MD

May 7, 2007

Share this article

The Cumberland Area Local’s anti-consolidation
T-shirt made its debut last summer.

The APWU was notified May 4 that the proposed consolidation of some mail-processing operations involving two sites 90 miles apart in western Maryland has been cancelled.

“After review, it has been determined not to pursue the consolidation of certain mail processing operations at the Cumberland Main Post Office,” the Postal Service wrote to APWU President William Burrus of the proposal to consolidate some activities into the Frederick P&DF.

The announcement of the study in Cumberland, made Jan. 6, 2006, was one of the last of a flurry of approximately 50 AMP studies announced over a 10-week period. Throughout 2006, Cumberland Area Local APWU members spread the word about the problems of shifting mail-sorting operations to Frederick.

Radio and television commercials spotlighting the negative effect of USPS network realignment plans were broadcast to the region (Frederick is less than 40 miles from Washington D.C.) last July and August, and Cumberland Area Local President Phil Jones, Secretary-Treasurer Jim Lawhorn, and scores of fellow APWU activists mounted a spirited campaign to keep the ill-advised proposals in the public eye.

By the time the local participated in the APWU’s
nationwide day of picketing, the Cumberland Area Local’s
protests of consolidation plans had become
a familiar sight in western Maryland. 

The local mailed out letters to more than 300 area businesses, which generated a large amount of mail to former Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D). Sarbanes then met with USPS officials to underscore the public’s concerns. Also last summer, at the Allegany County Fair, APWU members passed out information from the AFL-CIO booth and debuted T-shirts with the traditional “No” circle/slash icon over the word “Consolidation.” T-shirt wearing groups also made appearances at popular “Friday After Five” gatherings at an area mall.

Phil Jones, left, former Sen. Paul Sarbanes,
and Jim Lawhorn. 

The local was also active on Oct. 26, during the APWU’s nationwide day of picketing to protest consolidation. At that time, the Postal Service announced that the reason it had held no public meeting to discuss the proposals was because the study had not been completed.

The announcement that the study was complete — and that no changes were forthcoming — came a full six months later. 

Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.