DES MOINES, Iowa – Postal workers hosted a rally Wednesday afternoon to inform Iowans about the Delivering for America Plan. It’s a 10-year plan put out by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that postal workers and union leaders say can wait.
“We feel that there’s a lot of good things coming to the Postal Service in the form of legislation that will help us with our debts,” Mike Bates, president of DMI Area Local 44, said, “and we think that the 10-year plan ought to take a take a backseat for a minute and let us get the legislation passed.”
When it comes to the plan, postal workers and union leaders are most concerned about the relaxing of the service standards, slowing down first-class mail delivery from 2-3 days to 5-day delivery, as well as the consolidation of networks. They say the consolidation means some plants will close, and those communities will lose jobs.
Another concern they have is the expansion of surface transfer centers which they say will further delay mail since it will be private companies dealing with it.
These workers are also fearful that down the road, rural Iowa will lose its post offices due to this plan.
Both Mike Bates and Kimberly Karol have been postal workers for nearly 30 years. They say the changes being proposed will impact Iowans’ ability to send and receive mail. The point of this rally is to not only inform, but warn of what could be ahead.
“My oath was to serve the public and to make sure that I handled the mail in a way that protected its security and got it to where it needed to be in a prompt manner,” Karol, president for the Iowa Postal Workers Union, said, “and I see that as being at risk right now, and I don’t want that to be the future of the Postal Service.”
Rally organizers hope people take away that there are better and more timely solutions, and legislation should be able to work its way through in order for the postal service to gain financial footing and make better decisions moving forward.
“Because the postal service isn’t really a business, it’s a service to the American public and that’s what we’ve always been,” Bates said. “It’s pretty much a nonprofit. We operate on zero taxpayer dollars and we basically what we bring in we pay out everybody, livable wage. These are good jobs and good communities, and we’d like to keep that way. We’d like to keep people’s mail efficient and prompt like it’s supposed to be.”
The rally is taking place Wednesday evening from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. It will be held in front of the main post office, 1165 2nd Ave in Des Moines. If you participate in person, masks will be required. If you participate virtually, it will be streamed online.
A USPS spokesperson responded to the rally with the following statement: “We respect our employees’ rights to express their opinions and participate in informational picketing while off the clock.”