BOISE -- Letter carriers across the country rallied Sunday, in an effort to save Saturday mail delivery.
The message of rally-goers is that ending Saturday mail could be the first step in folding the entire U.S. Postal Service. But, the Postmaster General himself says, it's time to cut down to 5-day delivery.
Last month, the head of the postal service Patrick Donahoe delivered the news that he wanted to stop delivery on Saturdays. He says after losing $12 billion last year, the change would save about $2 billion annually. He says, Americans agree. "70 percent of Americans say they will support 5-day mail delivery."
Congress doesn't agree, passing a resolution that requires the Postal Service to deliver six days a week. That hasn't been signed by the President yet. Rally-goers around the nation, including in Boise on Sunday, hope he won't.
"America has become dependent on doing business 6 days a week to make ends meet," said John Heinzmann as he sat on the Idaho Capitol steps with signs supporting a 6-day delivery week.
Other rally-goers, like rural letter carrier Brian Draper say the cut will cost jobs immediately, and maybe more in the future. "It's going to affect about 400 families in Idaho alone, and that's in every corner of every county of the state."
Mail carrier Holly Jones organized the rally. She says the post office is starting to get its parcel business back, and that cutting a day of delivery will raise costs, and could be the start of destroying the entire Postal Service.
"As they try to continue to shrink the Postal Service, we're going to go to 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and we'll be done," said Jones. "Shrinking the Postal Service is not the way to save the Postal Service."
Jones admits that the Service has lost billions of dollars, but says that's because Congress requires it to pre-fund its retirement decades ahead. Administrators say without that, the USPS would've actually made a profit last year.
"We want them to stop that mandatory pre-funding," said Jones. "We're the only institution that's forced to do that. If we could cut back on that, then that would give us time to grow. We could pick up more business, and we could keep this great institution known as the Postal Service."
Just to clarify, the Postal Service is an independent agency not funded by tax dollars. Yet, Congress does have some control over how it operates.
Even if most Saturday delivery does go away, the Postal Service said it would continue to deliver packages and pharmaceutical drugs.