Postal workers rally against proposed cuts

December 8, 2011 8:40:21 PM PST
A monthly meeting for letter carriers Thursday night turned into a rallying cry against cuts proposed by the U.S. Postal Service.

The postal workers said that many customers do not understand how deep the cuts may be.

They deliver your mail and they want to continue to do so, but the U.S. Postal Service plans to cut service.

"We are the United States Postal Service - you don't take the 'service' out of the service," said Mack Julion, president of National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 11.

More than 170 postal workers from the Chicago area gathered at their South Side union hall Thursday night. They say citizens do not understand how proposed cuts will impact day-to-day postal service.

"The only time you think about the Postal Service is when you don't get your mail on time, when you need to go and buy some stamps and then you're going to go and buy some stamps, and the post office is not going to be there - that's a real wake-up call," said Mildred Cross, a retired letter carrier.

On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service announced possible cuts like eliminating half of the country's mail processing facilities, including three facilities in the Chicago area, and laying off 30,000 workers.

"Any loss to income in this economy would be bad for everyone," said letter carrier Phillip Wilkes. "We have to be realistic here. Jobs are important to everybody."

That is why the carriers are welcoming supporters, like Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. They want citizens to pressure congress in hopes of saving the service they currently provide.

The postal service says it is $5 billion in the red, but union leaders argue the postal service pays for itself.

"Everything that we do is generated by our hard work and the products that we sell," said Rich Coleman, Sr. of National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 306.

The cuts announced on Monday are scheduled to happen in March. The postal service is also considering cutting service from six days to five. That would need congressional approval.

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