EUGENE, Ore. - Hundreds of postal workers rallied at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza on Tuesday afternoon in hopes of saving the United States Postal Service.
Postal employees rallied in every congressional district across the United States in what they designated a Day of Action to Save America's Postal Service.
The workers rallied with two different goals in mind: informing the public of the financial situation at the U. S. Postal Service and letting people know how it can be solved.
"It's not the Internet that's killing the postal service, it's this pre-funding of future retirement health benefits that's killing the postal service," said Jim Cook, an official with the Oregon State Letter Carriers Association.
Postal employees believe that a new piece of legislation, H.R. 1351, could help solve the problem for the struggling U.S. Postal Service that lost $8 billion last year.
Supporters said the bill will allow the U.S. Postal Service to use the money that Congress has forced them to put aside for future pension benefits. Postal workers also stress that the bill will not cost the tax payers a cent.
"H.R. 1351 will deal with that and give the postal service billions of dollars that have been pre-funded on actual retirement accounts," said Gary Jarvis, an express mail clerk from Springfield.
Mail carrier Sabrina Schwetzer fears the mail service could go to five days if this bill does not pass. Schwetzer feels the move could hurt her job and those who need their mail.
"There's people that need their medicine on Saturday," Schwetzer said. "They 'we'll try to ship them earlier so they don't get them on Saturdays,' but it doesn't work that way. To save money, this is not the way to do it."
Right now H.R. 1351 has just over 211 signatures. The bill still needs at least 218 co -signers to pass the House.
The U. S. Postmaster General announced that a study will be done to try to eliminate over half of the mail processing centers in this country. The mail processing center on Gateway Street in Springfield was on that list. As a result, 200 postal workers could lose their jobs.
Gary Jarvis is an express mail clerk at the mail processing center in Springfield. Jarvis believes the postal service should be saved not only for his job, but for the United States as a whole.
The mail processing center will be studied this fall. The postal workers will find out in April if the center will have to close.
"The post office is part of the fabric that binds this country together for communication, gifts and cards," Jarvis said. "Yes, we know there's other forms of communication, but the American public I believe still needs the Postal Service."