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USPS Processing Center Gets A Reprieve

The United States Postal Service's Queens processing facility, located in Whitestone, will not close until at least May 15, according to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The US Postal Service has agreed not to close its for at least another 5 months, according to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's office.

Gillibrand and 14 other US Senators requested that the USPS voluntarily put a moratorium on postal facility closures, giving Congress time to put forth legislation to reform the struggling service. It will end on May 15, 2012, according the agreement between the lawmakers and USPS.

The American Postal Workers Union has blamed Congress for the proposed closures. Legislation passed in 2006 which forced USPS to pre-fund fund retiree health benefits 75 years into the future, has put the agency in dire financial straits, according to the union.

The closing down all Queens mail processing and distribution centers and calls for the elimination of first-class overnight local delivery service, replacing it with a standard , but no date has been set or final decision made.

Both ideas have been met with . One of those criticisms being that the time alotted for public input was too short.

Late last month, the postal service announced an aggressive consolidation plan that would close over 300 of its 500 nationwide processing centers.

On the proposed chopping block is a USPS facility located at 20th Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway in College Point. Some 700 employees working at that facility would be without a job.

The management team of the USPS said that consolidation of its mail processing operation would save the organization over $30 million annually just by closing the Queens facility.

"While this is not a permanent solution," said Gillibrand, "I am pleased that the Postmaster General is putting a six-month moratorium on the closures of postal facilities."

Additional reporting by Pat Conti.

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