Originally created 07/02/96

Postal privatization protested



About 50 members of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO picketed Augusta area post offices Monday to protest plans to turn some of the postal service over to private businesses.

"We're not here to make a profit but to serve," said Karen Gilmore, president of the Augusta area American Postal Workers Union.

Postmaster General Marvin Runyon has suggested privatization as a possible way of running the postal service more efficiently and helping it to compete in the private sector.

But Ms. Gilmore worries that those changes could come at the expense of service, particularly in rural areas.

No large-scale privatization plans are currently underway, said Carol Klein, customer relations coordinator for the Augusta post office.

"The only thing the post office is looking to do is to keep up with the changing times," she said.

The union members chose Monday to picket because it marked the 25th anniversary of the formation of the U.S. Postal Service.

The picket did not affect delivery of the mail, Ms. Klein said. The picketers used either vacation time or time off to take part in the protest, Ms. Gilmore said.