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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Chrissie Rusher, center, marches with 200 mail carriers and their supporters Friday in support of keeping Saturday mail delivery.

Carriers urge changes to save Saturday delivery

– A vocal crowd of postal workers, unsurprisingly undeterred by a cold April afternoon, rallied Friday in downtown Fort Wayne to support preserving six-day mail delivery.

Scores of letter carriers and their supporters, wearing red shirts that said “Hoosiers for Saturday Delivery,” marched from Grand Wayne Center down Harrison Street to the steps of the Federal Building, a block away.

Led by a man wearing a tri-corner hat, stockings and other colonial garb, the crowd chanted, “It’s in America’s DNA! We want mail on Saturday!”

The financially troubled Postal Service announced in February that it would switch in August to five-day service for first-class mail, but last month Congress passed a bill that appears to have blocked that move.

“We want to be there six days a week,” letter carrier Chrissie Rusher said. “I want to bring medication to the elderly. I want to bring birthday cards to kids. I want to deliver Netflix.”

Rusher, who wore a white wig and a colonial-style dress, is also a board member of the Indiana State Association of Letter Carriers, the group that sponsored the rally.

She said one of the goals of Friday’s event was to bring attention to a federal mandate that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund benefits for retired employees. ISALC President John Triplett said the mandate has crippled the government agency’s finances.

“We’ve overpaid our retirement fund to a tune of $50 to $70 billion,” Triplett said. “Some of that money could come back to the Postal Service to help fund some new business ventures.”

He acknowledged that the Postal Service has a revenue problem but believes it can be solved through legislative reform and not cuts to Saturday service.

Triplett said the state letter carriers association supports HR630, a bill that would change the pre-funding mandate and maintain six-day delivery. U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Fort Wayne, has agreed to meet with them to discuss co-sponsoring the bill, Rusher said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.