Postal Workers Protest Senate Proposals - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/26/04

Postal Workers Protest Senate Proposals

On Wednesday, dozens of local postal union members picketed outside Monterey and Singer stations, protesting possible changes to the Postal System. Their goal: to inform the public.

They say the senate is about to pass legislation that could change the postal system as we know it. Mike Sturm, President of Lubbock's local American Postal Workers Union says, "They're considering a major overhaul of the postal service, not only who runs the postal service, but how it's run. They're considering trying to run it more like a private businesses."

Postal workers are concerned because a committee appointed by the President would oversee the postal service instead of Congress. Union members say that committee would be free to make changes at will, changes like eliminating Saturday and rural mail delivery, even changing rates so a 37 cent stamp will no longer get a letter from California to Maine and anywhere in between. Union Vice-President, Deborah Broadstreet, says, "We're used to our mail service the way it is. A lot of people may not be happy with it, but they certainly won't be happy with what may happen."

Postal customers Bob and Toni Chambers are in limbo. They are happy with the postal service the way it is, but they wouldn't be completely opposed to privatization. Bob says, "If private industry can provide the same service and do it more efficiently with savings to the tax payer, then I would be for private industry." Toni agrees but has reservations. She says, "Let's leave it the way it is if stamps are going to go up very much."

Representative Charlie Stenholm says postal reform is undoubtedly needed but some of the Senate's ideas are too extreme. He says, "Just like rural electricity brought electricity to all of America, it's still very important we have mail delivered to all of America and indiscriminate closing of rural post offices is not in the best interest of West Texas."

The house has already passed its version, and Congressman Stenholm believes a bill will be on the President's desk by the end of the summer. However, differences between the House and Senate version will have to be worked out before it can get there.

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