Postal workers staged a rally outside U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer’s office Tuesday in Columbia, in an attempt to gain support for legislation making its way through the U.S. House.
By Ryan Schmidt (Columbia, Mo.)
United States Postal Service workers held two different types of signs at the rally. Some were homemade, while others were navy blue and bore the words “Save America’s Postal Service.” Retired letter carrier Roy Hartley’s sign claimed the Postal Service delivers more than 167 billion pieces of mail a year to more than 150 million addresses in the United States. He says the postal service is a vital part of this country.
“Newspapers and magazines provide information for everybody in the country depend upon postal service to get their message out,” says Hartley. “It’s a way for everyone in the country to communicate with everyone else for just the price of a postage stamp.”
The workers’ reason for rallying was to support two pieces of legislation in the House. National Association of Letter Carriers state president Kevin Boyer says House Resolution 137 is an attempt for representatives like Luetkemeyer to preserve the six-day delivery period.
“The rural districts depend on mail delivery six days a week,” says Boyer. “He’s wanting to make sure that by doing that that these small-town post offices and people that live in areas that are serviced by them are not left out on mail delivery.”
Meanwhile, House Resolution 1351 fixes the Postal Service’s pre-funding problem, which forces them to put $5.5 billion into a retiree health fund each year for 80 years. But Boyer says the fund already has $55 to 70 billion, and the Postal Service is trying to plan ahead.
“It’s basically funded out now till about 70 years,” says Boyer. “We’re funded for people that the Postal Service hasn’t even hired yet.”
Luetkemeyer was not at the rally, but did issue a statement about the problems the United States Postal Office is facing. USPS spokesperson Valerie Welsch says the postal service is making these changes to allow it to respond more quickly to marketplace changes.