Post Office Employees Rally at Congressional Offices
Postal service workers across the country held a "Save America's Postal Service" rally outside of Congressional district offices, urging lawmakers to support legislation that they say will help solve the post office's financial problems.
The measure (House Bill 1351) would issue changes to a 2006 law that requires the U.S. Postal Service to pre-fund 75 years of employee retirement benefits over the course of a decade. Post office employees cite roughly $20 billion in loses that have happened as a result of the requirement.
A group of post office workers gathered outside of Congressman Tim Johnson's office in Champaign. Dave McCleary was one of them. McCleary is the president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 692 in Champaign.
"The post office and the workers, we have no problem paying for retirees health benefits and the post office has worked with us on it as a negotiation in the contracts," McCleary said. "But why should we have to pay 75 years in advance? Who else is paying 75 years in advance? Nobody."
While McCleary said he does expect some post offices to close, he expects House Bill 1351 could mitigate some of those cuts.
Congressman Johnson said he wants to see post offices stay open, which is why he said he is sponsoring the measure.
"When we have issues like a proposed shutdown of rural post offices; when we look at layoffs to some of you; when we look at a reduction to five day delivery and other reductions in services," Johnson told a crowd of postal workers grouped outside of his Champaign district office. "There is something wrong with that picture."
In an effort to fill a $10 billion budget deficit, the U.S. Postal Service is considering shutting down several of its offices, and it may also end Saturday deliveries.