Dozens of demonstrators rallied and attempted to occupy the Main Post Office in Portland on Friday in protest of postal privatization, but a heavy presence of Department of Homeland Security police, Postal Inspectors and a half dozen postal managers standing inside the post office lobby prevented the protestors from entering the building. That didn't stop them from breaking out into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to celebrate the July 26, 1775, establishment of the U.S. Post Office. Read more.
The APWU has joined the fight to stop the sale of historic post office buildings. The union has created a guidelines document that it's distributing to local and state leaders who are engaged in efforts to stop the Postal Service from selling historic post offices. Finding common ground with communities fighting the sales, APWU President Cliff Guffey and Legislative and Political Director Gary Kloepfer write, “These protests coincide with our efforts to stop consolidations, excessing and reductions in service standards."
The historic preservation review process requires the Postal Service to complete five key tasks prior to selling a historic postal building. These tasks are outlined in Fighting for your Historic Post Office: Guidance for APWU Locals [PDF]. Read more.
The Postal Service is moving forward on its plan to sell the 1936 post office in Glendale, California. As with so many other New Deal post offices in California — Venice, Santa Monica, La Jolla, Ukiah, and Berkeley — the Postal Service says the building is too large and it would prefer to lease a small space. As usual, the Postal Service is rushing the process, so opponents don't have time to fight back.
Opponents of the building’s sale said two months isn’t nearly enough time to weigh alternatives, including leasing out unused space or consolidating one or more of Glendale’s four other post offices into its Broadway operations.
“This shouldn’t be a fire sale,” said Vartan Gharpetian, a real estate agent recently appointed to the city’s Historic Preservation Committee. Read more.
The Postal Service seems to be having a mold problem. In 2011, it closed the post office in Royalton, Kentucky, because mold had rendered it unsafe. Last year, post offices in Knox, New York, and Bangor, Wisconsin, were deemed unsafe and unsanitary for customers and employees because of mold and other problems. This week, the post office in Dupree, South Dakota, was closed because of mold that developed after some water got into the building. Read more.
A British parliamentary spokesperson announced on May 13 that the world’s oldest postal service would be privatized this fall. The U.S. Postal Service, originally part of the British postal system, is also threatened with privatization by powerful congressional and corporate forces. Postal workers, however, are organizing resistance to the for-profit theft of the “people’s post office” in both countries. “Save our post office!” will be a main chant in nationally coordinated protests against privatization on July 26 and 27, the USPS’s 238th birthday. Read more.
The Postal Service closed retail operations in the Santa Monica post office in June, and the building will soon be up for sale. The city's Landmarks Commission is finalizing a proposed covenant for a meeting on August 12 that will protect and preserve the 1938 building. The Commission will recommend that the city accept responsibility for the preservation plan and enforce it before the building is listed for sale. The covenant will designate the building as a city landmark, but the change in status won't take effect until after it is purchased. Read more.