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Rural Idaho mail would suffer if Trump, feds privatize USPS, letter carriers warn

Letter carriers in Boise joined a nationwide protest against President Donald Trump’s proposed plan for privatizing the U.S. Postal Service.

“I really believe in this cause,” said Mark Johnson, a letter carrier south of Boise State University, at a Capitol rally. “If the post office is privatized, he predicted, “rural customers won’t get the services they’re currently getting, because it’s not profitable. And Idaho has a lot of rural citizens.”

Idaho has about 2,000 letter carriers, with about 1,100 of them serving rural routes. In addition, said James Mullins, a Nampa letter carrier and vice president of Idaho State Association of Letter Carriers, the Postal Service has a “veteran’s preference” in hiring; one in four postal service employees is a veteran. “If you support veterans, you should support the postal service and make sure it’s not privatized,” he said.

Proponents of privatizing the USPS say it would save the government money and help it run more efficiently.

Cory Blackthorne has been a North End letter carrier for five years. He said he took part in Monday’s protest partly because he believes privatizing the Postal Service will lead to lower pay, worse benefits and job loss. But he became emotional as he described the community that letter carriers are part of, especially at Christmas.

“If we privatize, we’re going to lose the American icon of a postal carrier,” he said. “Every carrier feels that connection to our community ... I love my job. I don’t want it to go away.”