Maryland Democrat: Postal Service cutting Saturday delivery racist, sexist
"You're talking about just this reduction … from six days to five days will cut anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 employees. And with regard to Asian, African-Americans, and Hispanics, they comprise about 40 percent of the Postal Service employees," he told MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry on Friday.
"So it's logical to believe if they were to lose that 30,000 jobs, easily 40 percent of them would be African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans," he added.
Cummings went on to say that about 40 percent of postal workers are female, asserting that a number of those are single mothers.
"So you have a lot of women, many of whom are single women — head of household, and they depend upon that decent wage, decent working conditions and benefits to take care of their families," he added. "So, yes, it would have a devastating effect in an economy that is already very, very fragile."
Earlier this week, the Postal Service said that it would end Saturday home delivery in an effort to save $2 billion in costs. The Hill says that a Senate bill forestalling the end of Saturday deliveries for at least two years was held up in the House.
The service lost $15.9 billion last year, partly due to a requirement to pay $5.5 billion in health benefits to future retirees. Last August, the Huffington Post said the Postal Service lost $57 million per day in the third quarter of 2012, for a total of $5.2 billion, most of which was due to increased expenses for future retiree health benefits.
"We have simply reached the point that we must conserve cash," said Thurgood Marshall Jr., chairman of the Postal Service's board of governors.
Cummings admitted that some downsizing was needed, but said that "there are all kinds of ways to achieve this without necessarily going through drastic measures."
"Basically, what the Congress needs to do is do a comprehensive bill whereby we have what we call an innovation officer, which is my idea. And that person would keep the Post Office as cutting edge of innovation and bringing in new ways to of making money," he said.
The Maryland Democrat also suggested downsizing the workforce "with compassion."
"Keep in mind we have more than 100,000 people that are right now eligible to retire. And what we have to do now is make sure that they have a decent parachute to land. In other words, to give them some incentive money so they can go ahead and retire, and so that we can right-size the Post Office," he added.