CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Postal Service carriers deal with bad weather all the time on their routes, and Sunday, dozens stood in the pouring rain to protest the move from six-day mail delivery to five days starting in August.

Outside the Kanawha City Post Office, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers of Charleston held signs reading, “West Virginians for 6 day, Don’t dismantle our postal service.”

NALC local president Tim McKay said the goal is to get out the message that carriers don’t want to see service cut back.

“We want to be able to deliver mail to West Virginians six days a week,” McKay said. We’re afraid if we eliminate one day of mail delivery, what’s going to come next? Maybe they’ll cut out Monday. Maybe they’ll cut out Wednesday or Thursday.

“We think it’s just the beginning of the dismantling of the Postal Service.”

The Charleston carrier said he hears from customers every day telling him they want to see Saturday delivery continue.

The dilemma for the Postal Service is massive debt. The agency lost $15.9 billion in 2012. and predicts that will increase to $45 billion by 2017. In order to stem the losses, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced earlier this year delivery would be cut back to Monday through Friday.

“To preserve our mission to provide secure, reliable and affordable universal delivery service, and to do so without burdening the American taxpayer, the Post Service needs urgent reform to its business model,” said Donahue.

But members of the NALC said the Postal Service can make budget without cutting Saturday delivery.

“Has (business) diminished over the years? Of course it has. We’d be foolish to sit here and act like it hasn’t,” McKay said. “But we think what the Postal Service should do is try to explore other options to try and increase revenue.”

The debate is expected to continue through the summer months.

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Comments

  • Jim

    Well PUDGE, it appears that you are the one who has your information incorrect and not I.
    1st "USPS employees cannot be laid off"--wrong! The Postmaster General reaffirmed this during a national news conference last week.
    2nd "FedEx and UPS ship a huge percentage of their packages through the USPS because it is cheaper than using their own employees."--wrong! This is backwards, the USPS DOES NOT have a fleet of aircraft for express mail or overnight, they contract with UPS & FEDEX. Further, when you receive a package in your rural mailbox that you,ve ordered, it originated by the supplier shipping USPS & UPS. UPS did not make those decisions!
    3rd "The USPS unions had nothing to do with the prefunding laws on benefits. Their fighting to have that changed in order to save the USPS"--wrong! And, the larger question is where do you get this stuff--make it up? It WAS the postal workers unions that lobbied Congress to prefund their benefits.
    4th "fringe benefits"... like working 6 days a week... and fighting for it. Can you describe these "fringe benifits"? Sure! If they work 6 days a week, they get paid overtime. Name one union postal employee that's on salary? Their hospitalization, vacation, sick leave and especially retirement far exceeds the private sector.
    Moreover as to "wanting their jobs" Baloney, you could train a monkey to deliver mail and perform most of postal workers jobs as evidenced by the automation that thankfully, eliminated many of their needless jobs--in spite of their union. And, I get my information from postal (union) employees and did not suck it out of my thumb! The ultimate answer is privatize the mail service!

    • Pudge

      I've been carrying mail in Morgantown for almost 20 years. I can be laid off, but not while they're hiring temp employees (yes, they've been doing a lot of hiring) and the junior carriers go out the door first.

      I pick up and deliver UPS and FedEx packages every day. We have UPS and FedEx drivers dropping off their packages at the PO daily.

      The USPS was making money hand over fist several years back. Congress decided to put that money to good use in the form of prefunding benefits, 75 yrs worth, in advance and doing so over a 10 yr span. Congress wants the money there NOW for somebody that will retire 75 yrs from now. Obvious, that person hasn't even been born yet. That worked fine when started back in 2006. It isn't working so fine right now. The USPS has to prepay 5.5 billion annually. Go to the NALC web site. We are fighting to have that stopped. The USPS is losing money yet has billions upon billions prepaid. Congress is running us out of business.

      Benefits. I have them. You say they exceed the private sector.
      What is my hospitalization?
      How much vacation to I get?
      How much sick leave?
      Do you know?
      Retirement.... After 30 yrs, a carrier gets a pension of $1,399 a month before taxes and health insurance. Yes, it is a pension. It is just shy of $17,000 a yr.
      How much is left annually after taxes and health coverage?

  • j

    If 6 day mail delivery is what is needed, then so be it. What is needed in order to save the Postal Service is a reduction in duplicated services and to lessen the overall cost of multiple Post offices in the same geographic areas.

    Beckley and Charleston have multiple post offices. Why not centralize to 1 per city.

    Not to mention that one can drive along rt. 60 thru fayette county from ansted to the turn off toward Babcock and pass 5 post offices in a 12 mile strech. This does not account for the couple that are only a few miles off the main drag on the side roads.

    We are paying for many small one room post offices, the personell that man them, the utilities to operate them, etc.

    Why not do away with many of these small ones and centralize into many others that are only a few miles apart. The rural delivery drivers are still delivering the mail....... We just continue to pay for way more people than the process requires.

    Cut the unnecessary waste. and deliver the mail.

  • DWM

    M, T, W, Th works for me and cut staffing. I'd much rather see the system pared down and saved instead of scuttled.

  • thornton

    I should give the postal protest folks their just due....those signs are much nicer and far more professional than the signs the teachers were recently waving.
    Well done.

    • Big Jim

      That's becausee Postal Workers make more than most teachers and can afford nice signs. SMH

  • Hammer

    Like the USPS, Amtrak has been losing money for decades. As with Amtrak, Congress will continue to flush tax dollars down that perpetual siphon under the belief that throwing money at the problem will make an adequate course/speed correction.

  • stephenwv

    Keep Saturday mail and save a bundle. How?
    The recent analysis of the postal service operation revealed that privatizing all but the actual mail carrier delivery of the mail would save a fortune. I worked for the post office in one of their HASP distribution centers during the Christmas holidays. The union workers were the slowest screw offs and management didn't care. The operation was over manned and inefficient. Running the distribution system like a UPS system, would do wonders for cost and efficiency.

  • Tom

    Hey Guys, we the public voter are the problem. When the Postal System voted to close some post offices Congress heard from their constituents and immediately stopped the closures.

    Everyone is for cuts in the budget until it effects them, then look out Congress!!! We all are going to have to bite the bullet in some fashion or something huge is going to go wrong with our finances.

  • MS

    Why do we need Mail on Saturday/Post Office doesn't wait till Main Mail Truck runs and nothing but JUNK Mail is delivered. Do like UPS or Fed Ex. They're making money/should have followed there lead on keeping up with cost.

  • Jim N Charleston

    Delivered Message. "We got no life, so we are out in the rain!"

  • MrJ

    Have posters to this site ever met a union or government employee they didn't hate? The critics of the postal service might sing a different song if it were their job. We seem to create new booger-men weekly in our state and, after bashing education, this time it's the letter carriers' and their union. Who else is left in this social, economic, and political feeding frenzy?

    Just another indication of someone having something another wants--a job.

    Only in a job-starved state as ours would we attack letter carriers for simply bringing us mail that we may not want. They're doing the job we hired them to do for the compensation they deserve.

    If one desires employment with the federal postal system, then go through the process just like our letter carriers and postal workers.

    Instead of demanding action from our politicians to help stimulate job creation with reasonably sustainable jobs, those same politicians deflect our anger and we then turn on each other. Turning on each other is symptomatic of a greater problem in our state--the notion that if I don't have a job, you don't deserve one either because your employer is the federal government. A frightening notion, isn't it?

    As the sixties taught us (at least in our more lucid moments) you don't need to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows. There's toxicity in the air.

    Somewhere a corrupt, fat-cat politician is smiling.

    • thornton

      "Somewhere a corrupt, fat-cat politician is smiling."...MrJ

      Yep...and taking a call from a union boss.

      "Just another indication of someone having something another wants--a job."...MrJ

      Nope...just an indication that someone fears losing their job through mismangement, high-overhead and changing times.

      • MrJ

        I respectfully disagree.

        It seems that unions and government employees are this week's whipping boys and I find that the criticism of federal and state workers and their unions unfair and unsubstantiated. They, like many others in state and federal service, are criticized simply because of the fact that they have a job. They have a job that someone else wishes they had and are criticized out of envy for the missed opportunity, not out of unsubstantiated poor performance. Only in such a poisonous atmosphere as this would anyone criticize the postal service for the fact that they bring us junk-mail or someone's check. What we refer to as "junk mail" gives the USPS a source of revenue. Recycle it, please. Whoever receives a check from the government, unless it has my name on it, is of no business to me--they've earned it and the government is obligated to issue the check or direct-deposit the amount. We can't fault the USPS for that, can we?

        We all have an opportunity to find our path and I will never begrudge anyone who chooses a particular line of work, whether it be in private industry or government service. All work comes with blisters. Criticizing another for choosing a line of work or their being hired serves no useful purpose than to muddy the waters.

        It's divisive among the middle class to draw attention away from our real economic problems and point the finger of blame at imaginary enemies like government employees or agencies like the USPS. That's what the fat-cat politicians and their lackies want and I, for one, refuse to go along with them.

        If cutting postal service delivery to a five-day a week operation would solve our current budgetary problems, then may all of our problems be so easily solved.

        Anti-government rants serve no useful purpose.

        • thornton

          I don't believe that anyone is begrudging a line of work.
          Nor do I believe that anyone is angry because they were not hired on to the government payroll in some fashion....as a reason for a comment here.

          You overreach in your attempt to muddy the waters by trying to make it all personal and creating seperation and divisiveness.....now, where have we seen that poisonous atmosphere spread as a sickly and sulpherous yellow-grey cloud over the last 4+ years?

          The point re the USPS is inefficiency, mismangement, burdensome overhead and keeping pace with those pesky changing times.
          All of which are the same issues faced by many private businesses and they must adjust...or perish.
          The guvmint and it's employees, at times, appears to wish for a special compensation for Government starting with a capital G.
          Nah on that.

          Doubtful that cutting out Saturday delivery will cure the country's or the USPS' economic problems, I agree....but, as James Herriot wisely wrote..."Big steps and little 'uns, big steps and little 'uns."

    • hillbilly

      Sorry, but I have to agree with Jim on this one..
      "their union, decades ago, convinced Congress to pass a law that their pension funds are funded 100% annually before any other bills are paid."

      They were sure happy about it then, but they cut their own throat as volumes of physical mail declined. My mail most days is unwanted catalogs and fliers from DISH or AARP... "junk".

      • Pudge

        Flat out wrong. The union had nothing to do with it. They are fighting to have that prefunding law changed. Educate yourself on the topic at hand.

  • Tim C

    Are we to believe they can save money by just not putting junk mail in our mailboxes on Saturday? It's all about their precious overtime.....wake up America, we are being hosed by the postal service union. The only ones worried about Saturday delivery are the ones getting a government check.

  • Woodchuck0

    Lets go directly to four days of mail delivery. 99% of what arrives in my box is junk.

    These union people don't speak for me.

    • Pudge

      Try this to see whether the USPS is important to you or not. Remove your mailbox for 2-3 months. If you see no change, throw it away. You won't receive mail without a mailbox.

      You might be fine. You might change your mind on the USPS too.

  • thornton

    Junk Mail Free Saturday....sounds good to me.

  • Jim

    The National Association of Letter Carriers' protests here in WV and bombarding the airwaves have nothing to do with serving the public and everything to do with their wages, fringe benefits, overtime and job security. Postal workers, like most federal workers cannot be fired or laid off. Reductions in force can only be accomplished by attrition. Great gig if you can get it. However, folks working for the state, county, city and in the private sector do not have such luxury. And, their union, decades ago, convinced Congress to pass a law that their pension funds are funded 100% annually before any other bills are paid! Another great perk that most state and private sector workers don't have! They are forced to "sweat-out" if their pensions and 401ks are going to be there when they retire! I have NO SYMPATHY for postal workers and the post office. Mismanagement by any name is mismanagement! UPS & FedEx make billions each year because they are run as a business by the private sector not as a bloated bureaucracy protected by unions and members of Congress! And, email and other electronic forms of communication are not the root cause of the post office's problem. I get more junk mail now than before electronic mail.
    Some of the small rural post offices SHOULD be closed. An example is in Randolph County. There are three post offices with 1 1/2-2 miles of each other: Valley Bend, Mill Creek & Huttonsville. One could throw a rock from Valley Bend PO and hit Mill Creek PO and throw a rock from Mill Creek PO and hit Huttonsville PO. Would the private sector have three chain stores within 1 1/2-2 miles of each other in a rural area? Privatize the mail service--end of problem--move on to the next Federal Gov't problem.

    • Roger

      Your analysis is 100% spot on!

    • Pudge

      Jim, wrong on almost every count. You represent part of the problem by spouting off your thoughts without being able to back any of it up with the facts.

      --USPS employees can be laid off.
      --FedEx and UPS ship a huge percentage of their packages through the USPS because it is cheaper than using their own employees.
      --The USPS unions had nothing to do with the prefunding laws on benefits. Their fighting to have that changed in order to save the USPS.
      --"fringe benefits"... like working 6 days a week... and fighting for it. Can you describe these "fringe benifits"?

  • CaptainQ

    Well, although I enjoy Saturday Mail delivery (especially since I live in a VERY rural area) I am willing to see it go by the wayside to save the entire system. Logic dictates that the USPS has been losing business and money for decades due to the internet and none of that business is ever coming back. I will miss Saturday delivery, but I can't say I'd be willing to fight for it. Just not worth it to me.