Letter Carriers to Picket Tennessee's Senators Today on West End

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Disgruntled letter carriers are sending a message this afternoon to the local offices of Tennessee Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, and they're saving postage by delivering it in person.

Protesters representing Nashville-based Branch 4 of the National Association of Letter Carriers say they will stage a demonstration starting 4:30 p.m. today at 3322 West End, where Corker and Alexander keep their Nashville offices. At issue is U.S. Senate Bill 1789, aka the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012, the bipartisan bill that calls for an overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service.

Nonprofits such as the American Red Cross and Easter Seals have applauded the bill for protecting the nonprofit postal rate. But the letter carriers' union opposes it, arguing that it would eliminate "more than 80,000 middle-class jobs," according to NALC-Branch 4 secretary Paul Glavin.

"It would affect the elderly and people living in rural areas" by restructuring the post office, Glavin says, including doing away with Saturday delivery in two years. Much more to the letter carriers' liking, he adds, is a bill sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders — S. 1853, aka the Postal Service Protection Act — which among other measures would allow the postal service to offset financial crisis by tapping into as much as $75 billion overpaid into the service's retirement funds.

Letter carriers have mobilized protests today across the country, from Salt Lake City to Syracuse, N.Y.

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