Fayette County

Postal workers, supporters in Lexington rally to avoid cutbacks

Brian Doyle, left, Stefanie Kokinda, center, and her mother, Patricia Brown, a 34-year postal employee, were among those taking part in a rally Tuesday outside U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler's Lexington office.
Brian Doyle, left, Stefanie Kokinda, center, and her mother, Patricia Brown, a 34-year postal employee, were among those taking part in a rally Tuesday outside U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler's Lexington office.

About 120 postal workers and their families gathered behind U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler's Lexington office Tuesday afternoon as part of a national effort to support legislation to shore up the struggling U.S. Postal Service.

Representatives from four postal worker unions were there to support House Resolution 1351, which if passed would reform a 2006 law requiring the postal service to fund future retirees' benefits.

The rallies were held in every congressional district Tuesday.

On Friday, the postal service is expected to report a loss of $10 billion, about $7 billion of which is required to be paid by the 2006 law. Last year, the postal service lost $8.5 billion.

Those at Tuesday's rally hope that HR 1351 would help avoid cuts such as those proposed by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe: layoffs of 120,000 employees, the end of Saturday delivery and closings of mail processing facilities and thousands of post offices.

Many of the cuts would be in rural areas such as Kentucky's 5th Congressional District, said Bob McNulty, president of the Kentucky State Association of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

For example, Ashland's mail processing facility would be moved to Charleston, W.Va., and Bowling Green's would move to Nashville. Pikeville's already has been moved to Charleston, McNulty said.

According to Randy Bradley, the local president of the American Postal Workers Union, Lexington's mail processing facility is earmarked for closing as well. While its 280 employees have been told they won't be laid off, Bradley said most of them would be offered positions in other states.

Tammie Pardini is married to the shop steward of the local National Postal Mail Handlers Union. She's afraid her husband will lose his job.

"If they take away his job, we're done," she said. "We just bought a home in Paris, so this is not the time." She added that the family relies on Rick Pardini's health care benefits for their diabetic daughter.

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