Oct. 30, 2003 – Delegate Donna M. Christensen is protesting national consolidation plans of the U.S. Postal Service which she says would result in disproportionate layoffs of V.I. personnel and put an end to the cancellation of mail within the territory, thereby delaying the delivery of local mail.
In letters to Postmaster General John E. Potter and Roberto Perez de Leon, Caribbean region district director, Christensen objected to what she said are plans for the Virgin Islands to absorb more than 25 percent of a proposed reduction in work-hours for the Caribbean region. She noted that the territory's population is less than 5 percent that of Puerto Rico.
"It appears that the plans to implement those changes in the Caribbean Region will be disproportionately enforced in my district," she wrote.
The plans, according to a release distributed from her Washington, D.C., office on Thursday, call for a reduction of 200,000 work hours a year in the Caribbean region, 72,000 of them to come from the Virgin Islands.
"It is unconscionable to expect a financially depressed area to unfairly shoulder the burden that should be distributed among all facilities in the entire Caribbean Region," Christensen wrote.
The delegate also assailed what she said is the Postal Service's plan to eliminate the cancellation of mail in the Virgin Islands, including mail for delivery within the territory. She said the plan calls for all mail cancellations in the region to be handled in Puerto Rico, with intra-V.I. mail to be routed to Puerto Rico and then back to the territory for delivery.
She questioned the logic of "sending time-sensitive materials such as bills from V.I. utilities to their customers to Puerto Rico first, then back again for distribution," the release stated.
Christensen said she has requested full disclosure of the consolidation plans being considered for the region and "fair consideration for Virgin Islands postal employees and for the quality of postal service in the territory."
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