Tennessee mail carriers rally for Saturday delivery

photo The Shallowford Road Postal Service facility

Neither rain, nor sleet nor windy weather could keep Tennessee letter carriers from protesting the proposed end of Saturday mail delivery.

About 150 USPS employees and their loved ones showed up on Sunday afternoon at the Shallowford Road Post Office.

"We want to do it six days a week," said Joseph Ralph, a letter carrier who drove three hours from Kinsgport, Tenn., to join the rally.

Sporting matching blue T-shirts, megaphones and picket signs, the group rallied against the United States Postal Service's proposed cutbacks in delivery.

According to The New York Times, the issue hasn't been decided yet. A nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress issued a legal opinion Thursday stating that the Post Office does not have the authority to cut back delivery. The House of Representatives has submitted a spending measure to the president that would keep Saturday delivery.

Post office officials countered by saying the opinion doesn't deal with its proposal to continue package delivery six days a week.

Donald Shockley, congressional district liaison for the National Association of Letter Carriers and the rally's organizer, said six-day delivery often means getting crucial medications to people on time.

"Senior citizens depend on their mail every day," he said.

But it's not just about those on the receiving end.

Tammia Sneed, a Chattanooga letter carrier and the president of Branch 62 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said the Chattanooga area has 200 to 300 mail carriers. If delivery is cut back to five days a week, one in every six of those will be out of a job.

Ralph said he has five children who depend on him.

"This is how we put bread on the table," Ralph said, adding that stopping Saturday delivery is much like amputating an arm: Once it has been cut off, you can't put it back.

"That's not good business sense," Sneed said. "That's all the postal service needs: a good business plan."

At least one rally took place in every state on Sunday, Shockley said.

"We are there. We are in every city, every town, every house, every day," said Shockley.