Mail carriers rally for six day delivery

Published: Mar. 24, 2013 at 10:26 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 3, 2013 at 10:36 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Saturday mail delivery could come to an end this summer, but mail carriers are putting up a fight. Dozens of people braved the sleet and rallied outside the federal court building downtown.

It's part of a national movement to keep mail delivery at six days a week despite the postal service's financial trouble.

A big issue is job security, but that's not all. They're also concerned a dwindling mail service could cut off millions of Americans who depend on mail six days a week.

Rain, sleet or hail, these carriers want to deliver the mail six days a week, not five.

"Everybody who does business with the postal service will be affected one way or another," said Gail Burten-Jones with the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Burton-Jones has spent 30 years delivering mail. She's now joining forces with people here in Richmond who are afraid the shortened week will cut more than 20,000 full-time carrier positions. She says it could also affect the elderly, small-business owners and people in rural communities with limited access to Internet.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says 70 percent of Americans say they support five-day mail delivery.

"Actually that was a very biased poll," said Burton-Jones. "They had two choices. Either you have mail five days a week or you have no mail at all. If those are the two choices that I'm given, of course I'll say I'll take five as opposed to nothing."

One topic Burton-Jones and the post master general agree on is funding health care properly for future retirees.

"Where we need help from congress is some of the legislative issues like health care, like not getting in the way of the six to five day," said Donahoe. "We need to make those changes." said Donahoe.

In the past year, the postal service slashed hours at thousands of locations and cut roughly 28,000 people from its workforce in order to save billions each year.

Letter carriers say stripping the work week is not the answer.

"I think it's going to be the beginning of the end if it goes to five days a week," said another letter carrier.

The change would start at the beginning of August. Carriers will still deliver mail order prescriptions, express mail and packages on Saturdays.

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