Postal Workers Rally Together to Save Post Offices

By: Megan Palera

The U.S. Postal Service is facing some serious financial woes. Today, postal workers here and nationwide rallied for reform, wanting congress to give them control on how to fix the problem.

Workers say the bill trying to be passed could save the postal service from drastic cuts and massive layoffs. USPS is set to announce up to $10 billion in financial losses when its fiscal year ends Friday.

Union representatives blame the financial problems on a 2006 reform package that forced the postal service to pay about $5.5 billion annually to fund future retiree benefits. President for the Lincoln APWU, Tony Ridder, says, “No other business or corporation has to pre-fund their retiree's health care for 75 years. We're the only one that has the requirement to do that.”

Now they're asking for those billions back. It's money that would help letter carrier, Cindy Sanchez, keep her job. Sanchez says, “I'm eligible to retire in five years. I just hope we have a postal service to retire from.”

That's why she and thousands of others across the country rallied Tuesday at the offices of congressional leaders, trying to get their support to pass the Lynch Bill. So far, 216 representatives have given their support, but it takes 218 to even get it out of the house committee.

With just two votes shy, postal unions here continue to march, sending a strong message to Capitol Hill. Ridder says, “With the recession and the economy the way it is now, we don't need another 120,000 unemployed and laid off.”

A short term spending bill that the Senate approved Monday and that the House is likely to clear this week would give the Postal Service until mid-November to make the $5.5 billion in payments. Postal Officials had hoped for more time, warning they will be unable to afford the payments this year.