Loss of St. John Postal Workers Due to Overstaffing, Says USPS

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The U.S. Postal Service decided it had too many employees on St. John moving the island community’s heavy volume of mail through an overcrowded, outdated facility in downtown Cruz Bay. St. John Tradewinds News Photos by Eliza Magro

Three employees transferred to St. Thomas Post Office

The U.S. Postal Service blamed the transfer last week of three employees from the St. John post office to St. Thomas on an internal survey which determined the St. John office had more employees than were needed.

The transfer came after a periodic evaluation of the facility’s work load, explained USPS spokesperson Mildred Diaz.

“The Postal Service periodically evaluates staffing needs according to work volume, and it was determined that the St. John post office had more employees than were needed to manage the work load,” said Diaz. “We’re constantly reviewing operations and staffing needs, and placing resources where they will be most effective. We realign the work force according to service needs.”

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St. John Tradewinds News Photos by Eliza Magro

 

Two of the transferred employees live on St. John and one lives on St. Thomas. Postal service employees are responsible for their own transportation costs, including the fees incurred riding the ferry to and from St. Thomas each day.

Schedules Will Not Conflict
“In comparison, employees in New York pay way over $100 a month in either parking fees or subway fares, so it just depends on where you’re situated,” said Diaz. “It’s either the subway, gasoline, or in this particular case, the ferry.”

The Postal Service is working to ensure the St. John residents’ schedules do not conflict with the ferry schedule, Diaz explained.
“We’re working with these employees to ensure that their work schedules coincide with the ferries,” she said. “My understanding is that was taken into consideration.”

Despite residents’ complaints and St. John Administrator Leona Smith’s public campaign to keep the postal employees on St. John, the transfer of the employees will not affect mail delivery on St. John, explained Diaz.

“The mail for St. John is processed and worked in St. Thomas as well, so the mail service to customers on St. John will not be impacted,” she said. “The employees will not physically be on St. John, but they will be enhancing the operations on St. Thomas.”

The USPS is a business that does not receive government funds, Diaz added.

“Like corporate America, we have to manage our resources effectively,” she said. “Where necessary, we need to take cost-effective measures to cover the cost of delivering to every address in the nation.”

New Post Office?
In addition to losing three employees, plans for a new St. John post office appear stalled.

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources has confirmed a zone change will be needed for the construction of a new post office at the Boynes family-owned property next to the VIPA Marine Facility in Enighed, for which the USPS has already signed a long-term lease.

DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen did not have information on whether the Boynes family has requested a zone change.

Boynes family spokesperson Cheryl Boynes-Jackson was not available for comment last week.