Hundreds of postal workers rallied outside of Federal Plaza Sunday to protest the Postal Service’s plan to eliminate Saturday deliveries.
The workers held signs that read “No Way 5 Day” and “Save America’s Postal Service,” while chanting “Five day go away.”
“We’re talking about losing a day of delivery which is going to hurt a lot of people,” said Phil Love, who’s been with the Postal Service for 27 years.
Many opposers to the plan say the ending Saturday delivery will create a domino effect and hurt business and families.
“If this is the only means that you have as far as taking care of your family this is going to really hurt you," said Gloria Hewitt, a member of the Postal Service for 14 years. "If they go to five days then a lot of people actually stand to lose their jobs.”
The Chicago protest was just one of many being held around the country.
The Postal Service, which suffered a $15.9 billion loss in the past budget year, said it expected to save $2 billion annually with the Saturday cutback. Mail such as letters and magazines would be affected. Delivery of packages of all sizes would continue six days a week.
But change is not the biggest factor in the agency's predicament — Congress is. The majority of the service's red ink comes from a 2006 law forcing it to pay about $5.5 billion a year into future retiree health benefits, something no other agency does. Without that payment — $11.1 billion in a two-year installment last year — and related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion for the past fiscal year, lower than the previous year.
Congress also has stymied the service's efforts to close some post offices in small towns.
Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open.