Imperial Beach

What's going to happen to the US Post Office in Imperial Beach?

Local union president warns the postmaster general may close Imperial Beach's only USPS

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Imperial Beach City Council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday night opposing any changes — especially any closures — to the city’s only United States Post Office.

Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre said the USPS has transferred a number of employees to a postal location in Chula Vista's Eastlake community. She’s also worried the IB Post Office’s lease has not been renewed.

“And the fact that they haven’t even bothered to give us the time of day other than sending us their ten talking points shows a lot,” shrugged Mayor Aguirre.

The mayor and two dozen community members held a rally outside the Imperial Beach Post Office two weeks ago to try to get answers from the USPS.

“And they told us to ‘take a hike’ basically. When they tell the mayor to take a hike, they’re telling the community to take a hike,” said Aguirre.

The USPS said at the time it had no intention of closing the IB location. A USPS spokesman sent a longer statement to NBC 7 on Wednesday:

“There is, unfortunately, a lot of misinformation floating around out there about our Imperial Beach postal operations. The misinformation is causing unfortunate--and completely unnecessary--confusion and anxiety within the Imperial Beach community,” said spokesman Duke Gonzales. “The most important fact is that the Imperial Beach Post Office is not closing. We’re simply relocating the mail carriers who work at the facility to the Chula Vista Post Office. This internal tweak to our operations is similar to logistic changes that we’ve made over the years at countless other postal facilities, which are essentially back-office moves that do not affect service to our customers.”

Mayor Aguirre rolled her eyes.

“They sent me the same talking points," Aguirre added.

She said she wanted direct answers to her concerns and a plan from USPS to keep the IB location open.

“Nobody would answer her calls. When they did, they said they’d send someone out. Nobody showed up. When they finally did, they just gave her a bunch of B.S.,” explained Bob Waterhouse.

Waterhouse is the president of American Postal Workers Local 197. The former clerk said he is sounding the alarm for his union members. He said transferring clerks from Imperial Beach to the Chula Vista location will eventually lead to IB closing for good.

“They had five clerks. One’s gone already. Another one’s going to be gone in about three weeks. Now you have two-and-a-half clerks left,” said Waterhouse. “They’re going to minimize it and you’re going to look around one day and there’s going to be no more Post Office.”

Gonzales countered in his statement, “The relocated Imperial Beach mail carriers will continue to serve Imperial Beach delivery routes. They will begin their days at the Chula Vista Post Office but throughout the day they’ll be out and about in Imperial Beach delivering to their customers, just as they always have. Likewise, Chula Vista mail carriers will continue to serve their Chula Vista delivery routes.

“There will be no changes to the retail and PO Box operations of the Imperial Beach Post Office,” Gonzales continued. “Imperial Beach customers who would normally pick up their undelivered packages at that office will continue to do so.”

Waterhouse didn’t buy it.

“You thought it was tough to find your package now? Now they just moved it to another city. So, you have to go all the way over there and if you take the bus, good luck,” he shrugged. “They’re winking and nodding, ‘Don’t worry. Your Postal Service isn’t going anywhere’ as you watch it go away.”

Waterhouse blames the boss at the top: U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

“When his plan is over with, he’s going to cut 50,000 jobs,” explained Waterhouse.

Waterhouse said Postmaster DeJoy is regionalizing the USPS to operate more like Amazon.

“He’s running it like a business when he should be running it like a service,” he said. “And instead of running it like a service, they’re trying to cut costs, consolidate, and pretty much minimize everything’s that there.”

“The relocation of our carriers is one of the initiatives of our Delivering for America plan, which aims to transform our network and upgrade our offices so that we are better positioned to serve our customers in Imperial Beach and across the country today, tomorrow, and long into the future,” concluded the statement from Gonzales.

“This is already happening. They’re trying to turn the Postal Service into the Amazon,” said Waterhouse.

Mayor Aguirre said she simply wants guarantees from the USPS that her city’s only post office will remain open.

“Are they committing to continuing to having a location here in Imperial Beach? That’s the bottom line," Aguirre said.

Waterhouse said the union and community members will host a rally outside the Imperial Beach US Post Office on Monday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

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