With an afternoon rally at Seattle's Federal Building on Thursday, postal workers protested threatened cuts that could eliminate Saturday mail delivery and shutter many post offices and mail-processing centers across the country.

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Protesting threatened cuts that could eliminate Saturday mail delivery and shutter many post offices and mail-processing centers across the country, about a hundred postal workers rallied in downtown Seattle Thursday afternoon.

Joined by Congressman Jim McDermott and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the postal workers marched and chanted in front of the Federal Building and called on Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to vote against legislation they say would devastate the postal service.

“It concerns me greatly as an American citizen and a postal employee. A lot of people still rely on the mail to vote, to get medication, to send personal greetings,” said Bob James, Washington state president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

A bill before the U.S. Senate would end Saturday mail delivery by January 2013, close half of 461 mail-processing centers and create a commission to speed up post-office closings.

Going to five-day a week deliveries would save an estimated $3.1 billion annually, the Postal Service says; it also could mean firing as many as 260,000 employees.

The Postal Service said it expects to lose $14.1 billion in fiscal year 2012 and $13.6 billion in 2013, as Americans increasingly rely on the Internet to communicate and do business.

But speakers at the Seattle rally said the Postal Service, which receives no taxpayer money, would show a profit if Congress in 2006 hadn’t required it to prepay for future retirees’ health care and benefits — something they said no other government agency is required to do.

Kucinich noted that the U.S. Constitution created the Postal Service because, he said, “The founders saw it as essential to move information around the country” and for citizens to communicate. He said the proposed legislation is an attempt to privatize mail delivery.

“We must make sure that the mail is delivered by postal workers and not a private corporation,” Kucinich said.

Christy Decker, a West Seattle mail carrier, said the proposed legislation is an attack on public workers.

“We’ve got some of the last good union jobs and we’re going down,” she said.

Lynn Thompson: 206-909-7580 or lthompson@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @lthompsontimes.