Locals rally to support post office

Demonstrations, like this one in Saugerties, were held across the country on Saturday, August 22. (Photo by David Gordon)

On Saturday, protesters in small towns and major cities across America lambasted president Donald Trump and called for postmaster general Louis DeJoy to resign. Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has slowed mail service, blocked efforts for emergency funding and cast doubt on the integrity of mail-in ballots, acknowledging the intention to restrict how many Americans can vote by mail.

Carrying signs that read “Save our post office,” “Reinstall the machines,” “Postal service is a service, not a business,” and “My business, my life, my vote depend on the post office,” about 60 Saugerties residents stood in front of their post office and marched through the streets at the village center.

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Among them was Michelle Hinchey, a candidate for the New York State Senate, who said she sees the post office as essential for the many people who depend on the delivery of lifesaving medications, payment of bills and receipt of pension or Social Security checks.

While postmaster general DeJoy, a recent Trump appointee, has promised to leave mail-sorting machinery in place, allow overtime for postal workers and keep the service intact until after the upcoming election, he has stood by his contention that cost-cutting measures must be implemented in order to keep the postal service solvent.

The protesters in Saugerties didn’t agree. Would the military services be required to show a profit on their operations?

After about half an hour, a contingent of 30 or so protesters marched through the business section of the village. Shortly after their return to the post office, the rally ended.

The Saugerties protest was one of more than 800 community demonstrations at post offices across the nation Saturday as part of a day of action organized against changes to mailing operations. Similar protests were held at the New Paltz and West Hurley post offices.

A bill providing funding for the post office has passed the House of Representatives but faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. President Trump has promised a veto in case the measure reaches his desk.