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Despite storm, postal workers rally for Saturday delivery

Tim Lloyd
St. Louis Public Radio

Despite the winter storm, postal workers rallied against the proposed removal of Saturday deliveries.

Workers and supporters sloshed around in front of the Post Office’s main branch in downtown St. Louis, carrying signs that read “Missourians for 6 Day.”

“These people understand the importance of their job, the importance of delivering six days a week, and the role that we play in the community,” said Kevin Boyer, Missouri state president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Postal workers said they want to raise awareness about the importance of Saturday delivery, which U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahue has proposed eliminating as way to save the postal service $2 billion a year.

Boyer said cutting a delivery day could impact the livelihood of close to 800 postal workers across the state.

“Their plan is to see this company, that’s for the public, be broken down into a privatized business,” Boyer said.  “I think that’s ultimately what they want to do.”

Boyer said workers want Congress to do away with a mandate under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Actthat requires the postal service pre-fund the benefits of future workers for the next 75 years, and stipulates a payment of $5.6 billion is made by September of this year.  That same yearly payment increases to $5.8 billion in 2016.         

Trimming deliveries to five days a week, however, might not happen in the immediate future.

Last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the postal service doesn’t have that authority, at least for now.  The GAO said the continuing resolution, which was approved by both the House and Senate last week to continue government funding, keeps the “status quo” in place with regards to a six day delivery week.        

In contrast, Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is urging the postal service to go ahead and cut Saturday deliveries. 

Delivering for America, a group that advocates for a six day delivery week; says it organized 100 similar events across Missouri and the rest of the nation on Sunday.

Tim Lloyd grew up north of Kansas City and holds a masters degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Prior to joining St. Louis Public Radio, he launched digital reporting efforts for Harvest Public Media, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting funded collaboration between Midwestern NPR member stations that focuses on agriculture and food issues. His stories have aired on a variety of stations and shows including Morning Edition, Marketplace, KCUR, KPR, IPR, NET, WFIU. He won regional Edward R Murrow Awards in 2013 for Writing, Hard News and was part of the reporting team that won for Continuing Coverage. In 2010 he received the national Debakey Journalism Award and in 2009 he won a Missouri Press Association award for Best News Feature.
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