U.S. Postal employees protest changes

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Dozens of letter carriers were not on the road Friday, but on the sidewalk, picketing changes to the way the U.S. Postal Service does its job.

"We just want to educate the public ....The U.S. Postal Service is not broke. We picked this day because the Postal Board of Governors is meeting today," said Jeff Clark, president of the Arizona State Association of Letter Carriers.   

Some 50 to 100 postal workers were carrying signs at the post office on Van Buren and 49th streets.

The Postal Service is facing massive budget cuts and these letter carriers are protesting the agency's move to end overnight delivery and close 82 facilities nationwide, including the Cherrybell processing center in Tucson.

"What that means is we're in danger of delaying the mail. In other words, if you're mailing a letter across the street in Tucson, it would have to come all the way up here to the Phoenix GMF to be processed," Clark said.

Some 200 jobs are at risk at that center alone, and some say the potential mail delay could be risky for customers, too.

"People rely on medicine. Most of our insurance companies, if you take a daily medicine, they're required to be mailed, and this delays the mail by two or three days. So this impacts every single person in America," said Mary Lou Pavoggi, president of the Phoenix Metro Area Local of the American Postal Workers Union.

But these letter carriers say there is still time to make a change, but they need the public's help.

"What the people can do is that we want to educate the public now and call your people in Congress and say, 'Please do not close.' The 82 plants are going to be closed in January and, like I said, the Arizona delegation is on board to postpone it to April. We don't want it postponed; we don't want these plants closed," Clark said.

The processing center in Tucson is slated to close next summer. It could put up to 300 people out of work.