Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (CBS) – More than 200 irate postal workers attended a hastily-arranged rally on Wednesday in Bronzeville, and put their stamp of disapproval on Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe’s plan to eliminate Saturday mail deliveries.
The letter carriers cheered as their union leaders called for Donohoe’s resignation, and said eliminating Saturday deliveries would put the Postal Service into a downward spiral.
“This is coming from our CEO,” said National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 11 President Mack Julion. “This is coming from the person who’s supposed to be advocating on behalf of our organization, and every time he’s opened his mouth, it’s doom and gloom. If he don’t want to do his job, or he has no vision for our company, then he needs to get the hell out of the way, and they need to put somebody in charge who’s willing to grow this business.”
The rank-and-file workers, many dressed for outdoor duty and others wearing T-shirts that proclaimed, “Five day is the wrong way,” were no happier.
“I think that it would be a great disservice to the community, the public as a whole, if they take away six-day delivery,” said Johnnie Neal, who has worked as a letter carrier for six years from the Jackson Park station. “We need to keep six-day delivery service to keep the Postal Service viable.”
American Postal Workers Union Local President Sam Anderson said bluntly, “Donohoe don’t have a plan.”
Julion and Anderson both said that Congress has the final say on how often mail is delivered, not Donohoe, and they produced an ally in U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), a former postal worker who supports continuation of six-day service.
Davis called the Donohoe announcement “a sneak attack,” and said he would support efforts in the House to maintain six-day delivery.
Julion said a conference call Wednesday with senior Postal Service officials did not make clear who would continue to work on weekends. He predicted a loss of 80,000 jobs nationally if the cutbacks are implemented.