Postal workers protest proposed cuts

POOLER, GA (WTOC) - U.S. Postal workers were getting the word out about what they say is the overstatement of problems within the Postal service.

Along Highway 80 in Pooler, active and retired letter carriers held up signs seeking support of passersby and trying to raise awareness to proposed cuts within the Postal Service. The Postmaster General has suggested closing as many as 3,700 mail sites nationally and eliminating 120,000 jobs. The workers gathered for the Letter Carriers Rally today said those cuts would only be necessary because they are being mandated to prepay their retirement fund for the next 75 years at a rate of $5.5 billion per year through 2016.

At the rally, roughly a mile from a mail distribution center in Pooler, protestors claimed any cuts could be avoided if they weren't being asked to pay for the retirement of workers who haven't even been born yet.

"The distribution center here is on the chopping block,'' said Brett Hulme, president of the Savannah Regional Central Labor Council, which helped organize the rally on behalf of letter carriers. "That's 300 jobs this community would lose if the Postal Service gets its way. That's not counting the contract truckers that being the mail in.''

"We would have actually operated in the black the last four years if it wasn't for that $5.5 billion a year we're being required to pay,'' added Carl Hayes, a former letter carrier, who has organized similar events in recent weeks. "We are the only ones that have to prefund our retiree's health care at such a rate.''

Legislation has been introduced, H.R. 1351, that would restructure how the Postal Service pension fund is paid.

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