None too pleased with the United States Postal Service's move to shutter Saturday delivery, nearly 200 letter carriers on Wednesday evening rallied in Chicago and called for Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to step down.
"Donahoe has got to go!" postal workers shouted the Branch 11 headquarters of the National Association of Letter Carriers, at 3850 S. Wabash Ave.
"Eighty thousand jobs could be lost! We can't let that happen," Branch 11 President Mack Julion told the carriers and their supporters.
Rep. Danny Davis, a former postal worker himself, flew in from Washington to speak to the crowd.
"Something had to give," he said. "We've known it for years, but this seems like a sneak attack. We didn't know this was going to happen today."
In a move officials expect will save the cash-strapped service about $2 billion annually, the Postal Service said Wednesday that it plans to cut back to five-day-a-week deliveries for everything except packages to stem its financial losses in a world radically re-ordered by the Internet.
Post offices would still remain open on Saturdays under the plan, which is slated to start in August.
But it wasn't immediately clear if the USPS can even make the move without congressional approval. Congress has banned five-day delivery under an appropriations bill, but since the federal government is now operating under a temporary spending measure Donahoe said he believes he has the authority to act alone.
"The House of Representatives has refused to seriously solve the crisis," Davis told the union workers. "This is about taking America backward. This is about busting unions."
The NALC, in a statement, called for Donahoe's immediate ouster.
"We urge Congress to develop a real reform plan that gives the Postal Service the freedom to grow and innovate in the digital area," the organization said.