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Postal Workers Rally At San Diego Congressional Offices

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Aired 9/27/11

Postal workers and supporters are rallying Tuesday in San Diego to warn about the impact of proposed cuts. It's part of a national effort to save America’s Postal Service.

Armed with signs reading, "Save America's Postal Service," mail carriers and supporters rallied Tuesday outside of five San Diego congressional offices to warn about the impact of proposed cuts.

The rallies were part of a national effort by the Communications Workers of America to seek support for congressional action to shore up the struggling U.S. Postal Service by using billions of dollars from an overfunded pension fund to a make a big debt obligation payment officially due Sept. 30.

The group claims the postal service’s $20 billion deficit stems from a law passed in 2006 that requires the agency to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of retiree health benefits. The estimated cost of this requirement is $5.5 billion per year.

Former San Diego postal service worker Jim Walzenbach said the mandate is unreasonable.

“If they weren’t required to do that, because nobody else in the country is required to do that – no other company, no other agency is required to do that. If they didn’t have to pay that pre-funding yearly, then it would basically be a break-even situation.”

The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion last year and faces $10 billion in losses this year. To cut costs, they're considering suspending Saturday deliveries and consolidating mail processing centers.

Walzenbach emphasized, it's not a bailout, "it’s just an easy matter of -- we have a surplus in one account -- just to be able to move the money from one account to another account."

Walzenbach said without a different funding method, the Postal Service faces financial collapse and thousands of workers could lose their jobs.

The group is calling on San Diego legislators to support H.R. 1351 to release $7 billion in pension obligations back into reserves.

The Associated Press contributed to the information in this report.

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