Rally To Protect Saturday Mail Delivery
by Laura Monteverdi, Reporter
March 24, 2013 9:33 PM
United States postal workers and concerned citizens across the country are fighting to protect mail delivery on Saturdays, something Congress and the United States Postmaster General are trying to eliminate to save money.
The end of a six-day mail week is being called an attack on the future of the United States Postal Service, its loyal customers and its dedicated employees.
On Sunday, postal workers took their protests to the streets, holding rallies in every state.
“We just want the public to see what is going on. Hopefully they can support us,” said Brent Fjerestad, President of the South Dakota Association of Letter Carriers.
Postal workers and members of the community lined the streets of downtown Sioux Falls on Sunday afternoon, holding signs and shouting, for their voices to be heard.
“The worst part is I don't think it's going to fix the problem and allow them to free up money. They're going to lose business on it, they are going to lose a competitive advantage," said Jim Harris a retired letter carrier.
“We are much more cost-effective, deliver more on time. We go to every household six days a week and that's the way it needs to continue," said Darla Peterson, Local Branch President of the National Association of Letter Carriers.
Postal workers fear that if service on Saturday were eliminated, not only would their customers suffer, but their dedicated employees as well.
“There's businesses that just have mail rooms on Saturday's. Those jobs are lost. A lot of times that is people coming in on overtime just to pay bills. Those jobs are cut," said Fjerestad.
With the United States Postal Service being one the largest civilian employers of veterans, protestors fear it's those that served our country that may suffer the most.
“When these men and women go over seas and come back, this is usually the place where they end up for a job six days a week and when we have to make those cuts, you're taking away jobs from people that have served us," said Peterson.
If Congress doesn't deliver a better plan, many fear the United States Postal Service will be no longer.
“Our feeling is once they go to five-day delivery, if he's allowed to do that, there's no stopping going to a four-day, a three-day, a two-day; we're done," said Fjerestad.
If the elimination of Saturday delivery goes into effect, it will begin in August. However, the President of the South Dakota Association of Letter Carriers says that if and when it does, it will immediately eliminate 25,000 jobs nationwide.