Texas lawmakers push back on McAllen post office consolidation plans

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A group of Texas lawmakers are pushing back hard on a proposal from U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to consolidate postal service operations in McAllen and Corpus Christi with those in San Antonio.

The lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, say the consolidation proposal — which is part of DeJoy’s 10-year, $40 billion overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service, called the “Delivering for America” plan — is poorly thought out.

Three other Texas congressmen have joined Castro in opposing the consolidation, including U.S. Reps. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Brownsville; Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo; and Greg Casar, D-Austin.

On Friday, the quartet sent DeJoy a letter urging him to reconsider the consolidation plans, which would see mail from McAllen and Corpus Christi sent to a centralized processing center in San Antonio before being routed back to its local community.

“Under this plan, mail sent within Corpus Christi would leave the city to be processed more than 280 miles away before returning to the final destination. The USPS is also considering moving McAllen’s P&DC to San Antonio, a nearly 500-mile round trip,” the letter states.

A “P&DC” is a “processing and distribution center,” the largest kind of facility that the USPS operates.

P&DCs serve as central hubs that organize and distribute mail to a radius of smaller facilities known as “local processing centers,” or LPCs, akin to spokes on a bicycle wheel.

Consolidating McAllen and Corpus Christi postal operations with San Antonio would cause untenable disruptions to the two South Texas communities, which are already well-served by operations as they exist now, the lawmakers say.

And the plan would place undue stress on an aging San Antonio post office that has already been the subject of a host of complaints about late and lost deliveries.

“It is our understanding that the San Antonio P&DC facility is too old and too small to house new equipment necessary to sort more mail. The facility is already struggling to process normal mail streams,” the letter reads.

In February, the president of the San Antonio American Postal Workers Union, told officials that “San Antonio is not equipped to handle the increased influx of mail,” the lawmakers stated in their letter.

A similar consolidation effort in the Houston area caused operations to be “overloaded by new streams of mail,” the lawmakers wrote.

Further, Castro pointed to an incident in 2020, shortly after DeJoy was appointed postmaster general and began to implement operational changes.

San Antonio postal workers were instructed to hide undelivered mail ahead of a visit Castro had scheduled to assess the issue in response to numerous complaints from his constituents about late delivery.

As reported by the Texas Tribune, a postal union member said workers were instructed to hide between 30,000 and 54,000 pieces of delayed mail in order to deceive Castro.

DeJoy claims that his plan to consolidate mail operations through similar efforts nationwide will make the USPS more efficient, while saving hundreds of millions in operational costs.

The USPS projects that the McAllen, Corpus Christi, San Antonio consolidation will net $240,000 in processing cost savings.

But, the four lawmakers are highly skeptical — especially given that mail sent out in the South Texas communities will first have to travel to San Antonio before returning to McAllen and Corpus Christi for local delivery.

At the conclusion of their letter, the lawmakers demand that DeJoy answer a series of questions about the logistics of the consolidation proposal.

They ask DeJoy to explain how San Antonio will accommodate the new mail streams, especially if the current, aging facility isn’t upgraded first.

They also demand to know how a 280-mile or 500-mile round trip “will not result in increased local mail delivery time for Corpus Christi or McAllen.”

They want to know how the consolidation will save between $2.1 million and $2.8 million in annual transportation costs when local mail will be forced to travel hundreds of miles before reaching local mailboxes

And they ask if consolidation plans will be paused pending upgrades to San Antonio’s existing infrastructure..

“We request that you promptly halt any proposed changes to Corpus Christi, McAllen, and San Antonio P&DC until there is sufficient evidence to show that mail in all 3 cities will not be disrupted,” the letter states.

The lawmakers have asked DeJoy to respond by April 18.

To read their letter in full, click here.