Despite the winter storm, postal workers rallied against the proposed removal of Saturday deliveries.
Workers and supporters sloshed around in front of the Post Office’s main branch in downtown St. Louis, carrying signs that read “Missourians for 6 Day.”
“These people understand the importance of their job, the importance of delivering six days a week, and the role that we play in the community,” said Kevin Boyer, Missouri state president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
Postal workers said they want to raise awareness about the importance of Saturday delivery, which U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue has proposed eliminating as way to save the postal service $2 billion a year.
Boyer said cutting a delivery day could impact the livelihood of close to 800 postal workers across the state.
“Their plan is to see this company, that’s for the public, be broken down into a privatized business,” Boyer said. “I think that’s ultimately what they want to do.”
Boyer said workers want Congress to do away with a mandate under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that requires the postal service pre-fund the benefits of future workers for the next 75 years, and stipulates a payment of $5.6 billion is made by September of this year. That same yearly payment increases to $5.8 billion in 2016.
Trimming deliveries to five days a week, however, might not happen in the immediate future.
Last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the postal service doesn’t have that authority, at least for now. The GAO said the continuing resolution, which was approved by both the House and Senate last week to continue government funding, keeps the “status quo” in place with regards to a six day delivery week.
In contrast, Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is urging the postal service to go ahead and cut Saturday deliveries.
Delivering for America, a group that advocates for a six day delivery week; says it organized 100 similar events across Missouri and the rest of the nation on Sunday.