CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Lawmakers in Washington are pushing to keep six-day delivery for the U.S. Postal Service. Postal unions across Tennessee gathered in Chattanooga Sunday to back the fight.
Last month The Postal Service announced in August it would switch to five-day delivery service for first-class mail but continue six-day package delivery, all to save money.
Postal unions say there has to be another way to save The Postal Service.
"Cutting services is not going to fix the problem. It's actually going to make it worse. You cut the service, you're going to lose your revenue," says Tammia Sneed.
Sneed has been with The Postal Service for 20 years. As a part of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Chattanooga, she is standing up against the idea of taking away six-day delivery.
"We want the public to know what's going on. we want our congressmen to know how we feel about it."
Just this week in Washington, a new spending bill was passed by congress that continues the requirement for six-day mail delivery. It has yet to become law. But the Postmaster General says last year The Postal Service lost $16 billion and the move to five-day delivery would save about $2 billion a year. He says if something does not change, it could need a taxpayer bailout of more than $47 billion by 2017.
"We don't use any tax payer money. And we don't want any," says Sneed.
Sneed says there is still a chance to turn things around with a better business model.
"Actually our first quarter of this year, we had an operational profit," she says.
Even though demand for first class mail has dropped, the demand for package delivery is on the rise.
But another snag is a 2006 law forcing The Postal Service to pay about $5.5 billion a year into future retiree health benefits.
"Without having to pay that, the Post Office could still turn a profit," says Tom Gavin, President of the NALC 419 in Knoxville.
He says on top of customer service suffering, thousands will lose their jobs with five-day delivery.
"There's about 35,000 carrier technicians. So right off the bat, those people wouldn't have a job anymore," says Gavin.
"We don't need to dismantle over 200 year tradition of delivering mail," says Wayne Duncan.
The Postal Service says while it would not pick up or deliver first-class mail, magazines and direct mail on Saturdays, it would continue to deliver packages and pharmaceutical drugs.
Union reps say it will still be a blow to small businesses and those in rural communities.