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Postal workers rally in favor of keeping Saturday delivery

Sunday, March 24, 2013 6:24 PM
Last updated Monday, March 25, 2013 1:06 AM
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Throughout his 28 years with the U.S. Postal Service, Mike Maynard has seen what Saturday delivery means to the families on his routes.

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Anthony Bailey, who has worked as a letter carrier for 10 years, stands with his wife, Sabine, who came in support of her husband, as post office workers from Augusta, Savannah and Macon held a rally to protect six-day delivery outside the Forest Hills post office branch.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Anthony Bailey, who has worked as a letter carrier for 10 years, stands with his wife, Sabine, who came in support of her husband, as post office workers from Augusta, Savannah and Macon held a rally to protect six-day delivery outside the Forest Hills post office branch.

Even on weekends, elderly veterans are delivered the prescriptions they depend on. The lonely find handwritten letters in their mailboxes. And residents in rural areas stay in touch with the outside world.

Now that lawmakers and postal service officials are considering eliminating Saturday delivery to save money, Maynard is afraid a way of life and thousands of mail carrier jobs could be destroyed.

“Once we lose Saturday there’s not stopping it,” Maynard said. “Then we could lose Thursdays, Fridays, we could go to three days. Who knows? We do need some restructuring, but cutting the service is not the way.”

To voice their opposition to a shortened delivery week, about 100 mail carriers rallied Sunday and lined the sidewalk of the Forest Hills Post Office on Wrightsboro Road. Wearing shirts that read “Delivering for America” and “USA for 6 day,” the carriers waved to cars in traffic and chanted for public support.

For two hours, drivers honked and waved at the group of carriers, which included some who traveled from Savannah and Macon.

One woman stretched her head out of a black GMC Yukon and yelled “March on!”

Congress passed a bill Thursday that outlined federal spending through September that included a provision to require the postal service continue six-day delivery. However postal service advocates who have watched branch closings and cutbacks over the last several years fear that safeguard is temporary and that five-day delivery could become a reality in the fall.

In February, the Postal Service said it could save $2 billion a year by changing the delivery schedule, which would offset its $16 billion loss in 2012 as more consumers turn to the Internet to pay bills and communicate with e-mail.

Georgia State Association of Letter Carriers President Don Griggs, who traveled from Macon for the Augusta rally, said he fears Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe will continue to fight for 5-day delivery in the fall when lawmakers mull over the next federal spending bill.

Griggs said the shortened week would eliminate almost 25,000 mail carrier jobs and disproportionately affect elderly and rural residents.

He said what has hurt the Postal Service more than the country’s turn to digital communication is legislation passed in 2006 that requires USPS to pay for future postal workers’ retirements in advance. The mandate has forced USPS to come up with billions of dollars up-front for future workers when that money could be used to balance financial troubles.

“We have an uphill battle,” said Griggs, a retired postal worker with 31 years of service. “But anything worth having is worth fighting for. The battle is not over.”

The cutback Donahoe pitched to lawmakers last month would cut first-class mail to five days a week, which includes letters, bills and fliers, but would maintain package delivery on Saturdays.

Brett Hulme, public relations specialist for American Income Life Insurance Co. in Savannah, said that system would not work for most of his customers. Clients often wait for insurance claim checks in the mail and would be set back financially by the change.

For that reason he traveled to Augusta to rally with the mail carriers, hoping the drivers who honked in support would contact their lawmakers and representatives about the issue.

“There are the working families at the end of the dirt roads who wait for that mail,” Hulme said. “The effect would be tremendous.” Griggs said the postal workers’ fight will be long and will have to reach lawmakers and postal service officials throughout the country.

But on Sunday, carriers hoped reaching the drivers on Wrightsboro Road was a good start.

“What do we want?”

“Six days!”

“What do we need?”

“Six days!”

“All day every day,” they chanted.

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Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 03/24/13 - 07:48 pm
7
1
Nostalgia

I am as nostalgic as anyone about days gone by and Saturday mail delivery. But, let's face it, Saturday mail delivery is a luxury we can no longer afford (i.e., the cost of providing it is more than the revenue it brings in).

Others have had to downsize. Others have taken pay cuts to avoid losing their jobs outright. It's time for the Post Office workers to support five day a week mail delivery.

Now, here is a compromise I would support. Let's keep Saturday mail delivery for the nostalgia factor, but end Monday mail delivery. It's a win-win.

Just My Opinion
5704
Points
Just My Opinion 03/24/13 - 07:50 pm
3
1
So, where were these guys

So, where were these guys before now? Why weren't they rallying before their jobs were on the line? Sorry...I just don't feel sorry for these folks like maybe I should. They are self-serving and desperate, and I actually get that. Nobody wants to lose their job. I just think they should've spoken up before it got to this.

fatboyhog
1987
Points
fatboyhog 03/24/13 - 08:56 pm
6
1
Going broke

The Postal Service is going broke. I wonder why? I'm sure that union greed has something to do with it. Factor in email. The USPS is leaking like a sieve. If the ship is sinking, you need to do something to bail it out. Continuing to raise prices isn't going to work. Treating your customers like they are doing you a favor isn't going to work. Tough times call for tough measures. And I'm throwing the Bull Stuff flag on this, "Brett Hulme, public relations specialist for American Income Life Insurance Co. in Savannah, said that system would not work for most of his customers. Clients often wait for insurance claim checks in the mail and would be set back financially by the change." Banks close at noon on Saturday. do they guarantee that the checks are delivered in time for the customers to get the the bank? Do you really think that making customers wait until Monday to get their claim checks is going to set someone back financially??? Hulme must think we are stupid. Or, maybe he's a Democrat with that kind logic.

Now, can we get 4 day school weeks???

thauch12
6739
Points
thauch12 03/25/13 - 02:48 am
6
2
Absolutely ridiculous

Add the postal service to the list of things that no longer are relevant, like VCRs, polaroid cameras, and telegraphs. The sad fact of the matter is that private enterprise can do the postal service's job cheaper, faster, and better. Add to the mix the postal union's ridiculous demands of obscene salaries and pensions and it is no wonder why this archaic beast is on its last legs. There's no need for Saturday service when the company is losing $16 billion a year...

southern2
6263
Points
southern2 03/25/13 - 08:45 am
5
0
If the USPS workers want the

If the USPS workers want the support of their community customers I would suggest to start with a little courtesy at the counter. On many visits to this same location I have been treated rudely and disrespectful. I started using different locations, Stovall St and Appling, though less convenient, I left feeling that my business was valued and appreciated.

Wonder how many BILLIONS could be saved by closing this location?

seenitB4
88080
Points
seenitB4 03/25/13 - 07:45 am
3
1
Great service at some locations

Yes..I can understand why you would use Appling...they will have to cut back somewhere....I thought wednesday would be the best day....

seenitB4
88080
Points
seenitB4 03/25/13 - 08:03 am
2
0
Private enterprise

I would suggest the school system go to private enterprise....you talk about a system that has hit the skids....the POFC is still needed by many..... some older folks could care less about digital everything....keep the POFC running.

Adam Bomb
357
Points
Adam Bomb 03/25/13 - 08:33 am
5
0
Prove yourselves first.

I live in area served by a blind letter carrier. Hire the handicapped is real here. He must be blind because several times a week neighbors are seen trading mis-delivered mail. Even one Vet's medicine package went to the wrong house. I realize the names and addresses on the mail are written in hieroglyphics and the carrier has a hard time translating them but before letter carriers tell us to help save their jobs, they need to start doing their jobs properly. If it says 47 Blah Street and you deliver it to 47 Blab street who's wrong?

itsanotherday1
43718
Points
itsanotherday1 03/25/13 - 08:55 am
4
1
If they are that passionate

If they are that passionate about it, take a cut in pay and benefits to make up the shortfall.

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 03/25/13 - 10:27 am
0
1
First, they need to learn to read and write so's they can
Unpublished

deliver the right mail to the right address!!!!!

prov227
3157
Points
prov227 03/25/13 - 11:15 am
4
0
It takes a while ...

for a recession to filter down to "institutions" such as higher education, federal government, medical delivery systems (hospitals) and, yes, privatized USPS, by, my, it does eventually get there. Welcome.

Dudeness
1544
Points
Dudeness 03/25/13 - 11:33 am
4
0
"Restructuring" on the

"Restructuring" on the federal level always equates to making the customer/taxpayers pay more only to see the debt increase still. If they feel that restructuring could solve the billions in losses, then why hasn't it taken place to the point of closing the gap? This is not a new problem. I have been hearing about it for years. USPS is practically an outdated business that is no longer needed 6 days a week. Taking away one day of delivery does not deprive people of things they receive in the mail the other 5 days of the week. Federal businesses should not be exempt from the harsh realities that the rest of us have to live through.

bubbasauce
21101
Points
bubbasauce 03/25/13 - 12:08 pm
1
0
People will service without

People will service without Saturday delivery. Plain and simple, cut it!

rural carrier
3
Points
rural carrier 03/25/13 - 12:11 pm
1
0
for just my opinion, this is

for just my opinion, this is not the first rally we have done to save the postal service this has been ongoing awhile

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 03/25/13 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Country Boy

In a few years they will want to cut out Tuesday and Thursday delivery; but as Hank Williams Jr. says, “A Country Boy Can Survive.”

CobaltGeorge
160802
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/25/13 - 03:25 pm
0
1
Red Headed Step Child
4097
Points
Red Headed Step Child 03/25/13 - 03:35 pm
0
1
It's Bush's fault...

It's Bush's fault...

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 03/25/13 - 03:54 pm
0
0
This is ironic because the
Unpublished

This is ironic because the head guy of the USPS sat before Congress two weeks ago and BEGGED for an hour or so that Congress allow them to end Saturday delivery immediately. The fools in Congress are the only ones keeping six day delivery alive because the USPS is losing like a million dollars per day. Rather than waste their time picketing, these postal workers need to find a part-time job or another job to support themselves. Even raising the stamp prices are not even putting a dent in the losses.

Darby
26032
Points
Darby 03/25/13 - 06:03 pm
2
0
If the Postal Service had to....

compete in the free market, then there would be deliveries every day.

.......Or they would fail and go the way of the Pony Express.

I would be happy in either case.

Darby
26032
Points
Darby 03/25/13 - 06:07 pm
2
1
"Nobody Has Mentioned "....

"Unions"
.

I'm sorry, I thought that if nobody mentioned them, they might go away...

Wonder who paid for those nice shirts???

Darby
26032
Points
Darby 03/28/13 - 12:19 am
2
0
Well, I see that at least....

one union type is online...

Adam Bomb
357
Points
Adam Bomb 03/27/13 - 08:07 am
0
0
I disagree somewhat Darby

UPS and FedEx do compete on the free market. Yet, neither delivers routinely on the weekend or holidays. You can get your stuff delivered on weekends if the shipper pays a premium but there is no such thing as normal scheduled delivery. I personally have been inconvenienced just recently with their "3 business day delivery" option. It was sent on Thursday but because of a Monday holiday I didn't receive it until the following Wednesday.

Darby
26032
Points
Darby 03/28/13 - 12:07 pm
1
0
AB - it was never my intention to....

present a direct comparison between the USPS and UPS or FEDX.

I just wanted to make the point that had not the post office benefited from years of government support and intervention, they would long ago have joined the Dodo bird in blissful extinction.

If there is a significant need for daily "snail mail" then that niche will be filled by one or more entrepreneurs.

If not, then Que Sera, Sera.

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