WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- Ten postal workers said they launched a hunger strike Monday to protest U.S. Postal Service plans to close or consolidate 48 mail processing plants.
The strikers -- who call themselves Community and Postal Workers United -- said they want Congress to drop an annual mandate requiring the U.S.P.S. to prefund healthcare benefits for future retirees, CNN reported.
"That payment is causing great hardship to the Postal Service," said Nannette Corley, a Maryland mail clerk participating in the hunger strike. "We are the people. What is it that Congress wants us to do? Starve and make everybody homeless?"
Currently in the works is a U.S.P.S. plan to shrink the postal network by 28,000 jobs by 2014, which will ultimately slow the delivery of first-class mail, CNN reported. The Postal Service has already offered buyouts and retirement packages to 21,000 postmasters and 45,000 mail handlers.
"Rallies and marches just aren't working anymore," said Tom Dodge, 58, a postal truck driver from the Baltimore area. "It's time to take a stand on this. The post office is a part of our Constitution."
The strikers said they plan to start eating again Thursday and will follow up with demonstrations throughout Washington next week, CNN reported.