CINCINNATI — All across the United States, including in Cincinnati, postal workers rallied on Tuesday, hitting the streets with one message: "Save the Post Office."
After taking steps to make significant changes to the postal system that have affected cities all across the country, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy agreed to halt all changes until after the 2020 election. Postal workers said they don't believe that's good enough.
Employees and supporters of the postal service said they fear that if more isn't done now to support the system, they'll be right back in the same spot after the election.
"U.S. mail not for sale," workers and supporters chanted while holding signs.
Although the proposed changes have been put on hold, Jim Sizemore, president of the American Postal Worker Union of Greater Cincinnati, said the effects have already been felt. He said two mail processing machines have already been removed from Post Office locations in Cincinnati, and another six were taken offline.
"They want to treat it like a business, but it's a service," said Sizemore.
Statistics from the USPS shows postal revenue has increased annually from $67.1 billion in 2010 to $71.1 billion in 2019; but the overall volume of mail has declined from 170.9 billion pieces of mail in 2010 to 142.6 billion in 2019.
DeJoy said his proposed changes are intended to help with the USPS' "long-term sustainability."
Sizemore said he's concerned DeJoy is trying to privatize a public service.
"It's important for it to be a public Post Office so it serves everyone equally from the big cities to the rural communities," said Sizemore.
Michele Hoskins, a dock expediter for the USPS, was among those at the rally and said she's incredibly proud of the part she plays in a system that serves all Americans.
"I'm dedicated," she said. "I take joy in knowing that people are getting their mail."
She said she believes DeJoy's proposed changes, including cuts to blue mailboxes, mail processing machines and Post Office hours nationwide, will hurt the public.
"It's scary, because that just delays the amount of mail that we have every single day," said Hoskins. "Our machines run 24/7. So it's not like they just shut down. They're being used."