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Postal workers rally to protest plan to stop Saturday mail delivery

IsabellLevi stands with supporters Saturday mail delivery rally Federal PlazMarch 24 2013. | JessicKoscielniak ~ Sun-Times

Isabella Levi stands with supporters of Saturday mail delivery rally at Federal Plaza March, 24, 2013. | Jessica Koscielniak ~ Sun-Times

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Updated: April 26, 2013 6:35AM



Several hundred postal workers gathered for a rally downtown on Sunday afternoon to protest a proposal to eliminate Saturday mail delivery.

“It is a really bad policy to try to shrink to survive,” said U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who spoke at the rally at Federal Plaza, 230 S. Dearborn, to urge support for legislation preserving the postal system. “I feel that this is un-American. The postal service is such an integral part to all of our neighborhoods.”

Despite a proposal by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to cut delivery of first-class mail on Saturdays, a resolution that passed Congress last week preserved six-day mail delivery at least through Sept. 30, Schakowsky said.

The Postal Service lost $16 billion last year and the elimination of Saturday delivery would save $2 billion annually. The proposed cut would include first-class mail but exempt delivery of packages.

Michael Caref, a spokesman for the letter carriers union, said Congress should remove a crippling 2006 mandate requiring the Post Office to pay more than $5 billion a year toward health benefits of future retirees. The mandate accounts for “85 percent of the losses the Post Office has incurred over the last five years,” Caref said.

Cutting mail delivery is a slippery slope, he said.

It’s a choice between “a universal network that is for everybody at the same low cost or a private company that’s going to come in and charge what they want and do what they want,” Caref said.



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