PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland mail carriers are urging Congress to reject a bill that could force big cuts on the U.S. Postal Service.
Many of them protested at local post offices Monday, arguing there’s no need to close offices, eliminate jobs or stop Saturday delivery.
“We know change is gonna happen and we want to be a part of that,” said Letter Carrier Kevin Card. “We understand, but there’s a lot of stuff we can do now that we don’t.”
Letter carriers told KATU News Monday there’s a big misconception about why the Postal Service is having trouble.
“I think most people think it’s the Internet that caused our demise. It really isn’t,” said Card.
Card said it’s the agency’s retiree health care fund. In 2006, Congress mandated the Postal Service pre-fund it to gather 75 years of benefits in just 10 years.
Card says the yearly $5.5 billion payment broke the bank.
“We already have $43 billion in this account. I like to say we’re the wealthiest bankrupt company in America.”
Letter carriers want to stretch those payments out over a longer period of time so rural post offices don’t have to close and Saturday delivery can continue.
There are currently two different plans in Congress. A U.S. House plan would close post offices and end Saturday delivery. Letter carriers endorse a U.S. Senate plan that would avoid those cuts.
Lawmakers have said they are committed to combining the plans in a bi-partisan way.
“We’ve been a part of America for 236 years,” said Card. “We’re actually one year older than the Declaration of Independence.”