Postal workers picket for jobs

September 27, 2011 3:10:59 PM PDT
Workers marched in downtown Raleigh and in Fayetteville Tuesday to protest proposed cuts coming to the U.S. Postal Service.

It was part of a series of similar event across the country.

Postal workers who took part say the government doesn't have to cut jobs to save the postal service and it can be fixed without a government bailout.

The Fayetteville workers are upset that a sorting facility there may close and could move to Raleigh or Charlotte.

Viola Robbins doesn't like the idea of having to move to chase her job.

"I'd have to travel more than an hour to go to work. I'd probably have to relocate, and I really love it here," she explained. "I'm a military retiree. This is where I decided to stay."

Union members say the red ink dates back to 2006. That's when Congress ordered the premiums for retired postal employee's health benefits be pre-funded for 75 years. Postal union members support house bill 13-51 which would change that.

"The Bill says they want to find a different way calculate these premiums so it doesn't put a burden on the postal service. And they want to return those funds they took out of our coffers back to the postal service. In fact, if they did that, we would have made a $600 million profit last year," said Fayetteville Postal Union President Tony McKinnon.

The union members say the proposal to move the sorting centers couldn't have come at a worse time. With unemployment up and the job market down, it would be a terrible blow for the military community.

"As you well know, we have a lot of military people work in the postal service and a lot of them end up being in the military and they serve and they stay there. And that's what it does for them. This is a great opportunity for those people that have served this country to come back and be able to live a comfortable lifestyle," said McKinnon.

It may be more than a year before Congress acts on the bill. Meanwhile, postal workers plan to keep pounding the streets with their chants and signs in support of it passing.

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