MARQUETTE — Postal workers were picketing outside the Marquette post office to protest cuts in service that are slated to happen early next year.

On January 5th, the U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to almost completely eliminate overnight delivery. That would include first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.

“Mail going from Marquette to Marquette would take two to three days from the time it reaches the Green Bay (processing center) to be returned to its addressee,” American Postal Workers Union Local 498499 president Theresa Granquist said.

More than 80 mail processing and distribution centers nationwide are also scheduled to close, starting in January. The only center in the U.P., which is in Kingsford, is one of them.

“I hope the small businesses understand what this delivery standard change would mean to them, and hopefully, they will call the senators and Congressmen,” Granquist said. “Senator Stabenow has come out strongly in support of us, which we’re very grateful for. Senator Levin has always been a staunch supporter of us also, and we’re very grateful for that.”

The cuts are slated to happen because of huge financial losses for the Postal Service that come from a 2006 law requiring it to fully fund retiree health care benefits 75 years in advance. No other public or private-sector firm is required to do that.