SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) -- Without money, the U.S. Postal Service says it has no choice but to shut down hundreds of post office locations. The plan has many upset and fighting to save them.
This morning's rally started with sidewalk picketing outside the Gateway Mail Center in Springfield and then moved around the corner to a rally with different political speakers.
The rally was organized by the Eugene/Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN), a local non-partisan organization with goals to improve the rights of the working class. The U.S. Postal Service plans to shut down about 200 mail centers across the country in order to make ends meet and the Gateway location's sorting center is scheduled to close by 2014. If it does, this would mean all local mail would be routed through Portland.
Ralliers were protesting all closures today, including those in rural areas.
"The Postal Service is actually embedded in the Constitution - it's a constitutional right. For rural communities the loss of their post office is disastrous," says Shelley Jensen, Co-Chair for ESSN. "We value the Postal Service and everyone here today wants to keep it."
The ralliers blame a 2006 Congressional Mandate as the reason for the recent decline in Postal Service's funds. The mandate forces all post offices to provide 75 years of pre-funded retirement for their employees. They argue that without that mandate the U.S. Postal Service's finances would be doing fine.
Both the Eugene and Springfield mayors spoke at the rally and so did Congressman Peter DeFazio. They all favor saving the post offices, fearing that closing them is a move towards privitazation of all mail services.