Protesters interrupted a speech by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe at the National Press Club on Monday.
Donahoe stood at the podium as protesters entered the room. When the protesters left, Donahoe said, “The good news is they’ve definitely been paying attention to the situation.”
The Postal Service has lost $5.1 billion in the past year, despite cuts of more than 130,000 jobs in recent years and the closing of some smaller local post offices. The USPS is closer to default on a multibillion-dollar payment and to future bankruptcy as the weak economy and increased Internet use drive down mail volume.
In his address to the Press Club, Donahoe said if Congress gives USPS everything it needs, the Postal Service would be out of red by end of 2013.
Donahoe also called for five-day deliveries a week, with the elimination of Saturday delivery.
The postmaster general’s speech came a day after the Postal Service and two unions agreed to extend negotiations for collective bargaining agreements until Dec. 7. He told the Press Club crowd that issues with health care and labor flexibility are still unresolved. If there is no union agreement, USPS will “go to arbitration,” he said.
Prior to the Press Club event, protesters marched outside of the building, shouting, “Hey ho! Donahoe has got to go!” and carrying signs that said, “Save America’s Postal Service.”
Federal News Radio’s Amy Morris helped organize the National Press Club event. Federal News Radio will have more details of Donahoe’s address.
Story by Jolie Lee. Video by Ruben Gomez. The Associated Press contributed to this story.