Peters: USPS halts proposed changes to Kingsford

Local lawmakers support plan pause

WASHINGTON — Proposed changes to the mail processing center in Kingsford and other U.S. Postal Service facilities are on hold until at least 2025, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a letter to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters Monday.

Last week, the USPS announced it had finalized plans to convert the Kingsford center to a local processing center, with mail deliveries within the U.P. first going to Green Bay.

Peters, D-Michigan, chair of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, spoke to DeJoy Wednesday after the announcement, and also led 25 of his colleagues in a bipartisan letter calling on the USPS to stop the facility and transportation changes in its network plan until they can be studied to make sure they will not harm mail delivery service.

“I’m glad I was able to secure this pause on changes to the Iron Mountain Processing and Distribution Center, which will help ensure that residents and businesses across the Upper Peninsula that depend on the Postal Service for reliable mail delivery will continue to be able to count on that service,” Peters said. “I appreciate Postmaster General DeJoy’s efforts to work with me on this issue. However, I still have concerns about additional changes, including to local transportation trips, that impact Michiganders.

“I urge the Postal Service to pause and reverse local transportation changes in addition to facility changes, until we have more information about their effects. I will continue to push for a comprehensive study by the Postal Regulatory Commission to ensure any changes implemented do not impact mail delivery,” Peters continued. “It’s absolutely critical that we understand the full scope of these changes, as well as their impact on service and communities, before moving forward.”

Peters has championed efforts to protect the Postal Service and its 250-year tradition of delivery service to all Americans. Last month, Peters convened a hearing with key USPS officials to examine proposed changes to its delivery network. In February, Peters wrote a letter to DeJoy requesting further details into changes at the Iron Mountain Processing Center. In 2022, Peters authored and led passage of a bipartisan law to set the Postal Service on a more sustainable financial footing and support the goal of providing long-term reliable service across the country. The law made the first major reforms to the Postal Service in more than 15 years, including requiring six-day delivery.

In his letter, DeJoy said before resuming its plans in 2025, the USPS would inform Peters first, and then implement the changes at a “moderated pace.” DeJoy said he would also consider getting an advisory opinion from the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.

Other state lawmakers in the region also reacted to the pause in Kingsford plans.

“While we appreciate the delay, the hardworking men and women at the Kingsford processing center deserve to know if they have a job in the U.P. after the election,” said state Rep. Greg Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Regardless of the results of the election, I urge the Biden Administration and Senate Democrats to stop the attempt to shut down U.P. mail processing.”

State Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, weighed in: “Hopefully this delay to after the election will get the agency away from the climate change agenda and back to the delivering mail as quickly as possible agenda. People cannot afford to have their services compromised by bureaucrats that only pretend to care.”

Marquette Democrat Rep. Jenn Hill shared her appreciation for Peters’ advocacy for the Upper Peninsula.

“I’m glad the U.S. Postal Service appears to be reexamining an ill-advised plan that could significantly harm mail delivery in the U.P.,” Hill said. “I appreciate the willingness from Sen. Peters to listen to our concerns and advocate on behalf of our communities. I also want to thank the workers from the Kingsford/Iron Mountain facility and other local residents who spoke out on this issue. We depend on our mail service, and I’ll continue fighting for it.”

DeJoy said planned upgrades, which included up to $6.3 million at the Kingsford center, would also be paused. He said he did not believe the USPS plan would have negative impacts on service, but would provide more reliability and be more cost-effective.

“… I suspect that these misconceptions are based on the past when we did close these types of facilities as part of a decidedly different strategy, and conflated with some current service issues we are experiencing,” DeJoy said. “I also know that there is legacy desire among some segment of our workforce at the local level to maintain the status quo, which I understand but frankly am disappointed by. Through continued training and education, we will try to work to change hearts and minds and to sell the virtues of our plans for service excellence and financial health.”


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