Fighting for Saturday; USPS Workers Rally Against Delivery Changes

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LANSING (WILX)-- Mail delivery on Saturdays is facing an uncertain future.

The postal service needs to fill a 20 billion dollar budget gap by 2016 and want to cut Saturday mail delivery to save money. USPS says cutting mail delivery down to 5 days will save 2 billion dollars annually, but some local postal workers don't see it that way.

In February the USPS Postmaster Patrick Donahoe warned congress that they was on the brink of default. He proposed the 5 day mail delivery schedule as a way to save money, but local workers in lansing predict it will do the opposite.

He's looking at trying to make a quick fix as fast as he can," said American Postal Workers Union member Jesus Gonzalez.

"The savings are not going to be that great because we are still going to be processing the mail and we are still going to be delivering of packages," said member of the Nation Association of Letter Carriers Jami Groce.

One of the reasons the Postal Service is losing money is because it must pre-pay into a fund that covers pensions and health care for future employees. Local workers believe if this policy is changed, then 6 day delivery can be saved.

"We're pre-funding retiree health benefits for 75 years. That's 5 1/2 to 6 billion a year for people not even born yet," said Groce.

Congress is not making it easy for the Postal Service to change delivery schedules. Legislation requiring a 6 day delivery schedule was passed as part of the federal budget. But Postmaster Donahoe wants to go through with the delivery change with or without congresses approval. It will become effective as of August 5th of this year.

The Postmaster of Lansing's office denied to speak with WILX, but did release this statement:

"Once the delivery schedule language in the Continuing Resolution is signed into law, we will discuss it with our Board of Governors to determine our next steps. Establishing a new delivery schedule - which will generate approximately $2 billion in annual cost reductions - is an important element of a larger strategy to close a $20 billion budget gap by 2016, and to avoid the potential that the Postal Service may eventually become a significant burden to the American taxpayer. Independent market research and polling shows strong public support for the new delivery schedule in communities across the country and is a responsible and reasonable approach to address our urgent financial situation and America’s changing mailing habits."

If congress does not allow the post office to adapt they may be forced to ask for a taxpayer bailout of 47 billion by 2017, according to USPS Spokesman David Partenheimer.

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