Postal workers rally in Fargo to save their jobsFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Postal workers across the country today are rallying in front of every single senator's office, fighting for their jobs and their way of life.
Postal workers across the country today are rallying in front of every single senator's office, fighting for their jobs and their way of life.
Thousands upon thousands of postal worker jobs are being threatened at offices just like this one at the federal building in downtown Fargo. This afternoon, workers took to the sidewalks in protest, calling it a day of action to stop congress from dismantling the postal service.
The post office is losing billions a year, just last quarter it lost $3.3 billion, and it's no secret to these workers that changes need to be made.
Rachel Freehaus – President, North Dakota National Association of Letter Carriers: “We should be offering more products, I mean everyone is ordering things through their smartphone and through the internet. It has to get delivered and that's not going to change.”
The number one thing these workers want changed: a mandate put in place in 2006 that requires the post office to pre-fund nearly 80-percent of its future retiree health care obligations by 2016 at a cost of $5.5 billion a year.
Rick Olek – Retired 39 Year Employee: “It's really caused financial problems the postal service is in right now.”
Tim Haaland – 26 Year Employee: “We need to get the democrats behind us to help us with the laws that have been passed that are trying to put it into bankruptcy.”
Rachel Freehaus: “They need to do something about that congressional mandate because if they don't take care of that, you can keep closing offices and cutting, but you're just going to drive more mail out of the system and not fix anything.”
The bill before congress does something else, it eliminates Saturday mail delivery and creates radical downsizing. In a press release, the post office says something needs to be done this year, because currently it's losing $25 million a day.
For now, these workers are left with an uncertain future.
Rachel Freehaus: “We don't get to make our own business decisions; we are relying on congress to do that for us.”
Tim Haaland: “All we can do is keep working and see what happens next.”
The post office has already announced it will close processing centers in both Grand Forks and Devils Lake, and is closing 221 more nationwide. This consolidation is expected to reduce operating costs by $2.6 annually.