By Waldy Diez SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Postal workers normally work during snowstorms, so this morning’s protest conditions weren’t something new for them.
However, it was a different experience for members of theCentral New York Alliance for Retired Americans.
They joined together with the Central New York local of theAmerican Postal Workers Union to protest against the closure of 82 additional mail processing facilities.
The United States Postal Service has closed 141 stores since 2012.
According to the president of the CNY APWU, Congress mandated the postal workers to pre-fund health benefits 75 years in advance.
“That’s where the problem is,” Mike Landry said. “The U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer money. We produce our own revenue.”
The USPS earns money when people buy stamps, envelopes or boxes from the mailing facilities.
Landry said the USPS pays about $5.5 billion a year to pay for the health benefits. The USPS said it would save $750 million a year by closing the additional stores.
The closings will begin on Jan. 5. None of the Syracuse locations are being closed. However, there will be closings in Albany and Rochester.
Jerry Lotierzo, co-chair of the CNY ARA, said he was protesting to help bring awareness to the store closings.
“We’re here in support of our brothers and sisters in the post office,” Lotierzo said. “They work very hard. You can see that today, in snow, sleet. They deliver mail in this kind of weather.”
He felt very appreciative of what the postal workers do and was glad to have the chance to protest with them.
“I felt like I was delivering mail in snow, sleet and rain, but it was worth it,” Lotierzo said. “It was very cold, very windy and really snowing hard. It was really a taste of what the postal workers out there face every day when they go outside.”