Postal service workers rally in Baton Rouge

Postal workers from Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Hammond, Houma and New Iberia gathered Sunday afternoon on College Drive near the post office on Bennington Avenue to voice opposition to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s proposal to cut mail delivery on Saturdays beginning in August.

Similar rallies were held in New Orleans, Shreveport and about 100 cities across the country Sunday, said Troy Scott, state president of the Louisiana State Association of Letter Carriers.

U.S. Postal officials have said that limiting mail delivery to Monday through Friday could save $2 billion a year for an agency that posted a loss of $15.9 billion last year.

Mary Wells, a postal worker in Baton Rouge for 28 years, said that Congress, through a continuing resolution, has required the Postal Service to provide six-day-a-week mail delivery. Wells says she also serves as a liaison between the Baton Rouge area postal workers and the office of U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge.

Scott, meanwhile, blamed the Postal Service’s losses on a 2006 Congressional mandate forcing the agency to prefund 75 years worth of retiree health care costs in a 10-year span.

“Congress created the problem and it’s going to take Congress to fix it,” Scott said.

Scott said for every five mail routes, there is one utility carrier who works those routes when the normal carrier is off. If the cut occurs, Scott said, about 23,000 jobs will be lost because those utility carriers would no longer be needed.