BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- On Tuesday, members of unions associated with the U.S. Postal Service took to the streets with a message for the public:
"The Postal Service isn't funded by taxpayers," reads a flier distributed by members of the American Postal Workers Union, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union and National Rural Letter Carriers' Association hoping to get the word out to the public that legislative action is needed to save the service from planned closures, layoffs and service reductions.
"All its revenue is earned from the sale of its products and services, meaning that the dire warnings of a taxpayer bailout are completely unfounded. The Postal Service hasn't used a dime of taxpayer money in 30 years," the unions note.
"The Postal Service made a net profit of more than $600 million sorting and delivering the mail the past four fiscal years," it adds. "Despite the worst recession in 80 years, despite competition from the Internet, despite everything you've heard, postal operating revenues exceeded costs by $611 million in the four fiscal years since 2007."
Among those who was watching the nationwide rallies closely is Steve Hutkins, creator of
He started his site, a clearinghouse of postal news and calls to action, to help save the small post office near his home in Hudson Valley, N.Y. Over time, he realized there was a bigger mission to be had in advocating for the Postal Service as a whole.
He worries that post office closings, which will likely number in the thousands, are on a fast track.
"Now that they are actually holding the public hearings, sending out the questionnaires and starting a process that really only takes a few months, many post offices are going to be closing before the end of the year," he says.
In total, looking at current closings and what will likely follow, upward of 8,400 post offices could be lost during the next two years, he says.
"It is not shocking, because the postmaster general himself said that he expects half the nation's post offices to close, 16,000 or the 32,000, over the next six or seven years," Hutkins says. "The post office as an institution is disappearing and will be replaced by postal counters in
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and supermarkets. People aren't going to know a post office anymore."