Unionized postal workers are not happy about federal legislation that would reduce mail delivery from six to five days a week.
Paul Nyman, secretary-treasurer of Branch 50, National Association of Letter Carriers, said the bill, if passed by Congress, could hurt senior citizens and disabled veterans who depend on home mail service.
He and other postal workers are getting the word out to local businesses and groups, urging them to speak out against the legislation, which would, in effect, end Saturday mail delivery.
Nyman said U.S. Rep. Thomas Marino, R-Cogan Station, is on the side of the postal workers.
"We are asking business owners to ask Marino to vote no," he said.
Marino spokesman Bill Tighe said the congressman does not support the bill.
He said it would lead the postal service toward privatization, remove six-day-a-week postal delivery and hurt rural areas.
"It is safe to say the congressman is a strong supporter of the postal service," he said.
Marino does back legislation for changing how the postal service must meet pensions and health care benefits.
Tighe said those financial obligations are among the biggest financial burdens faced by the postal service.
"He (Marino) sees the postal service as something we need," he said. "It needs to be able to compete better. We just want to do everything we can to find real efficiencies and make sure service is there."
While cutting mail delivery is seen as a way of saving costs, Nyman said it really is intended to "ruin" the postal service.
"People forget we are a service," he said.
The U.S. Postal Service has proposed ending Saturday mail delivery as part of a comprehensive plan to continue to be run efficiently and affordably.
Postal officials claim that the average household receives just four pieces of mail per day, down from five pieces a decade ago. That number is expected to drop to three by 2020.
Cutting back mail delivery to five days per week would save about $3 billion per year, according to postal officials.
But Tighe argued that unlike other U.S. services, the post office is self-sustaining and does not receive government funding.
"We realize the Internet has put a great dent in our services," he said. "(But) If we ever had a cyber attack on the U.S., how will they ever get anything through when Internet is wiped out?"