PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) —Save the post office is a message spreading nationwide as multiple cities throughout the country are holding peaceful protests in favor of the service.
Dozens came out for one Saturday morning in Peoria. Many protesters of all ages picketed in front of the downtown post office hoping to sign, seal, and deliver their messages loud and clear.
“We are citizens who use the he U.S. Postal Service everyday,” Jean Sloan, protest organizer, said. “It is essential to our lives, it is serving rural communities and city communities and it has a long and proud tradition.”
Sloan, an organizer with Indivisible Peoria Area, said she believes there is an attempt to reduce the efficiency of the postal service which she said could put the November elections at risk.
“This year, the postal service and our elections are very closely tied together,” Sloan said. “We expect Congress to protect the postal service. Right now, it is under attack by postmaster general Louis DeJoy.”
Louis DeJoy assumed the position of U.S. Postmaster General June 15.
Protesters said the cost-cutting changes implemented within the postal service since DeJoy took over included cutting employee’s overtime, reducing post office hours, and removing postal boxes. Sloan said all of these actions result in fundamental mail delays.
“Delays in medicine getting to veterans,” Sloan said. “Delays in social security and paychecks. Making bills late so that people pay their bills late, get a late fee, and then have other problems to deal with.”
U.S senator Dick Durbin told WMBD, Thursday, the 2020 election mail director said many of these concerns, such as overtime, are now not an issue.
“[He said] ‘We have plenty of capacity at the postal service. The election mail represents 2-5 percent of the total volume of mail. 2-5 percent,’” Durbin said. “He went on to say we don’t have any concerns about capacity. In terms of the overtime issue, no issues on overtime. We’ll have the overtime if we need it.”
Joe Leonard and Jo Leonard were at the protest and are both retired members of the post officer. They said some aspects of the current state of the post office is hard to handle.
“I’ll go one or two or three days with one piece of mail and then I’ll get seven or eight pieces of mail,” Joe Leonard said. “So something I can tell is different.”
“They are taking machines and they are costing jobs,” Jo Leonard said. “It hurts. It does. It’s been my livelihood, it’s been for my family. The post office has never been in the news like this before.”
She said changes within the industry could affect mail-in ballots which could jeopardize the November election.
“Now at this time, before an election you’re going to take this away,” Jo Leonard said. “You’re really trying to suppress the vote by doing that and cheating all Americans. It’s their God-given right to vote.”
Sloan said she’s encouraging people to call their representatives and make their voices heard on this issue. She said more importantly she wants people to get out and vote in the upcoming election.
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