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Letter carriers protest delivery cutback

Letter carriers protest cutback in delivery days

POCATELLO, Idaho - Postal workers from across the state were rallying Sunday to protest the cutback in delivery days.

If you were driving down Fifth Avenue in Pocatello, you might have seen your letter carrier out on the sidewalk with a sign.

"We just need to educate the public to let them know the dangers of losing six-day delivery or Saturday delivery because it would effect rural communities. It would effect the senior citizens and small businesses, too," said John Paige, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers' Idaho State Association.

Letter carriers from around the region who couldn't make it to the steps of the Idaho Capitol carried signs instead of letters, protesting the cutback in Saturday deliveries.

"I just wish the weather was warmer," said Paige.

Paige said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe aims to stop Saturday services starting Aug. 5, but, he said, President Obama will be signing a temporary resolution within the next couple of days to push that back to Sept. 30.

Many people who came out Sunday said the cut in service days could also mean a cut in jobs.

"We're more than a business," said letter carrier Clay Grayson. "We connect with every mailbox and every person in America. It's important to me."

Grayson said it could also mean the difference between many people who get their daily mail and loneliness.

"A lot of these people, the only person they see during the day is the mailman."

Paige also says more than 22,000 jobs nationwide will be cut if the mail is delivered one day less each week. This comes after more than 1 million new stops were added in 2011 and 600,000 in 2012.

However, Sunday wasn't just about the job cuts, but about delivering mail to people who need it most.

"They just light up when they see us, so when we come and put the mail in the box, they're there because a lot of times we're the only people they ever talk to," said Grayson.

Paige also said the United States Postal Service can save about $100 million each year if it nixed the mandated Postal Service retirement funding program currently in place.

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