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Mississippi Postal Workers Rally Against Service Cuts

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 27 Sep 2011 07:09pm | comments
postal workers pose with Benny Thompson.

Unionized Postal Workers are in Jackson are rallying in support of a bill they say could prevent potential post office closures and reductions in postal deliver days. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the workers believe a change in pension requirements can save the post office.

A small group of blue-shirted union postal workers gathered in Jackson in opposition to potential post office closures and the end of Saturday deliver.

The workers, like Anthony Puckett of Jackson, are supporting a bill in the US House of Representatives that would allow the Postal Service to apply billions of dollars in pension overpayments to their congressional mandate to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees.

"Congress has the ability to help us get out of this debt. We are not asking for a bailout. We are just asking for them to release the funds that we have paid in ourselves," Puckett said.

Second district Congressman Benny Thompson recently signed on in support of the bill.

He opposes potential lay offs and post office closures...instead he wants to see the congress change the rules that requires the post office to pre-fund their pension plan, which costs the agency roughly 5-billion a year.

"Congress requires an advance payment of pension for individuals who work in the postal service. That is working a significant hardship on the postal service and we hope to fix it," Thompson said.

The threat of post office closures, an end to Saturday delivery, and lay offs has many of the workers upset with post office management.

"Letter carriers, APW people, they have took some serious cuts. So why not start at the top top? Let's do some serious cuts at the top," said retired letter carrier Tommy Harriston.

Harriston says a round of cuts and lay offs now is just setting the stage for more cuts to the postal service in the future.

"In essence what we see, if these guys get a five day work week and this doesn't work 12 months from now, they are going to come back and want an additional full day," Harriston said.

Congress or the post office will have to act soon...the pension payment is due at the end of the month and the post master general has warned that without major changes, the post office could be out of money by next summer.



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