Advertisement

Local postal workers rally to keep Saturday delivery

March 24, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Supporters of United States Postal Service employees were holding signs for passing motorists at Sunday's rally on West Franklin Street in front of the U.S. Post Office.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

More than 100 people attended a rally Sunday afternoon in downtown Hagerstown that a local branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers held to advocate maintaining six-day delivery of mail.

In February, the postal service announced plans to cut mail delivery to Monday through Friday, but to keep delivering packages on Saturdays. The cut is expected to save about $2 billion a year, according to a news release from the postal service.

Current and retired postal workers, as well as family and friends, showed up in front of the post office on West Franklin Street to garner support for keeping six-day mail delivery.

Cutting back service will result in losing 23,000 postal service jobs nationally, said Tonya Detrick, a Hagerstown resident who is president of the Maryland/Washington, D.C., State Association of Letter Carriers.

Julie Mitchell, president of Branch 443 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said she didn’t know how many jobs would be lost locally. The union branch represents postal workers in the Hagerstown, Hancock and Williamsport areas, but people from the Tri-State area showed up for the rally.

“It would mean the loss of jobs, which ... we all know in this economy ... we can’t afford to lose jobs,” Mitchell said.

Detrick said the letter carriers are supporting proposed federal legislation to mandate six-day delivery and to refund overpayments the postal service made toward future retirees’ health care.

In his testimony to Congress in February, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe asked for legislation that, among other things, would require the postal service to sponsor its own health-care plan because a huge part of the postal service’s costs go toward a prefunding obligation for retiree health benefits, according to a news release from the postal service.

“What the NALC’s really looking for is a postal reform bill, something that ... lets us be more competitive, gives us pricing flexibilities, ... allows us to reduce our prices to ... big shippers,” Mitchell said.

Postal supporters wore red, white and blue apparel that read “USA For 6 Day” and “Don’t Dismantle Your Postal Service.”

The group often got drivers to honk their horns as they passed the post office or sat in traffic during red lights.

Some postal supporters stood in the road — in parking spaces in front of the post office, as drivers went by. One of the signs attached to streetlights read “Honk for 6 day.”

At least one person used a bullhorn in an attempt to start chants and talk to drivers.

Mike Draper said he and his wife, Julie, stopped by to support the postal service, including Harry Jones, who delivers mail to Century 21, where Mike Draper works in downtown Hagerstown.

“We use the postal service a lot, so six-day delivery is important,” Draper said.

“I thought it was great. I’m glad to have businesspeople show up. We really need their support,” said Jones, who has been a postal service employee for 26 years.

Fred White, a Navy veteran who delivers mail in the Fountain Head neighborhood, said one of his customers approached him Saturday to say, “I hope you guys keep Saturday delivery, ... but there’s not much me or you could do about that.”

White, 64, said he told the man about Sunday’s rally.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|