In hundreds of rallies in large cities and small towns, postal employees, other union members, community supporters and others rallied Sunday to preserve Saturday mail delivery.
In many cases, the participants protesting Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe‘s decision to suspend Saturday mail delivery beginning Aug. 5 exemplified the “neither rain nor sleet or snow…” postal motto by braving a major spring storm barreling across the nation’s mid-section.
In Lincoln, Neb., Mayor Chris Beutler told the crowd in the parking lot of a downtown post office that the weather was symbolic of the U.S. Postal Service and its employees.
Mail carriers are out in all weather, rain, shine, sleet or snow, a true testament of their hard work and dedication.
On the other hand, he said, it also “symbolizes the pretty shabby treatment” postal employees and customers who depend on Saturday delivery are receiving.
Protesters called on Congress to take action against the plan to end Saturday delivery that would result in deep service cuts to residents and businesses in every community across the country. Mark Guilliams, owner of Direct Line Marketing and Premium Regional Mail of Jackson, Mo., who spoke at a Cape Girardeau rally, said, “Saving six-day delivery is absolutely crucial for businesses like mine.”
More than 200 people rallied outside Minneapolis’ main post office, where Michael Zagaros, president of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 9, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that in addition to job losses and disruption of service to homes and businesses, he believes reducing service has other implications. “This is about privatization,” he said.
In Decatur, Ga., several hundred Atlanta-area postal employees and their supporters rallied (see video above). Cindy Chreiman has worked for the Postal Service for 25 years. She told CBS Atlanta News that many of her customers who are elderly depend on her.
I know my customers. I know what they need and what they expect from me. I’m a rolling post office.
In Seattle, the nearly 200 labor and community leaders from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California, Colorado and New Mexico in town for the AFL-CIO Western Regional Conference joined local postal employees and community backers for a downtown rally.
In Henrietta, N.Y., near Rochester, more than 300 people rallied outside the post office, where Ken Montgomery, president of NALC Branch 210, told reporters
This really isn’t about letter carriers, clerks and mail handlers. It’s about the American public and giving the American public the service they’ve come to expect and deserve.
NALC President Fredric Rolando says, “Our fight is about the cost of losing Saturday mail delivery and how it would affect people in each and every state.”
Cutting Saturday mail would delay important household and business transactions, including bills, invoices and personal correspondence, and may force customers to shift to high-cost competing services. Established by the U.S. Constitution and using no taxpayer funding for its operations, the Postal Service is a vital public institution that we cannot afford to see dismantled.
The root cause of the agency’s fiscal problems is the unique congressional requirement—the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA)—that USPS prefund retirement benefits for decades into the future. Repeal of that requirement would restore financial stability to the USPS.
Take a look at more photographs from the St. Louis action by Cathy Sherwin, AFL-CIO Midwest Field Communications director, and see others from several rallies across the nation, courtesy of the NALC.