Postal workers have planned a four-stage strike against Congress regarding the U.S. Postal Services’ financial problems.
Communities and Postal Workers United came together this spring in a number of rallies to protest the proposed cuts to the government agency.
The strike on Capitol began Monday morning with the support of Representative Dennis Kucinich. He is the only member of Congress who has publicly supported their efforts.
The group will march to postal headquarters on Tuesday and continue on Wednesday to Washington Post offices. The Post is charged with publishing editorials that supported cost-cutting within the agency and criticized the relationship between the service and labor unions.
The strike will end on Thursday at the postal service headquarters. The group will try to meet with Postmaster Patrick Donohoe. They hope to convince him to suspend any further cuts until Congress takes action.
Strikers say their goal is to push Congress to pass legislation that will reform the agency financial issues. The Senate approved a bill in April aiming to rebalance the postal service’s finances. The bill gave billions of dollars to provide buyouts and early retirement packages to employees. There are currently several bills pending in the House.
Organizers also plan to mobilize at congressional offices wearing T-Shirts saying: “Congress is starving the postal service.”
The strike also addresses issues like slower mail, reducing window hours at 13,000 rural offices, closing processing plants, and reducing the number of jobs due to buyouts and attrition.
“You reduce service, and people give up on the service,” said Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier from Portland. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Activists say that Congress is to blame for their financial woes. They believe that they should be given access to health benefits and penchant funds.
“We respect the right of our employees and retirees to engage in lawful public dialogue regarding postal issues. We have worked hard over this past year to bring to the attention of Congress, the [Obama] administration, the news media and the American public the urgent need for postal reform legislation.”
The strike has received support from the Occupy movement and several chapters of postal unions.