Postal Workers Fight Back Against Cuts And Privatization
Photo: APWU President Mark Dimondstein at the National Day of Action event in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Post Office in Washington, DC
“Are you fired up? Are you ready to go?”
That’s the question APWU Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell asked dozens of supporters who kicked off the May 14 National Day of Action in front of the post office on 14thand L Streets in Washington, DC – just one week before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires.
“On this day, May 14, 2015, across the country we are sending a message to Postmaster General Megan Brennan: Not only do you have the postal workers to deal with, you’ve got the rest of the country to deal with,” Powell said. “We’re in this together, it takes all of us.”
On May 14, APWU locals held more than 130 events in 42 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands – organized around the theme “I Stand with Postal Workers.” Actions included press conferences to rallies to getting postcardssigned that will be sent to the Postmaster General.
“What we are fighting for and what we are all fighting for is good postal service, good postal, living-wage jobs and a good contract, now!” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “The American Postal Workers Union and all of you are fighting for the people of this country, for a vibrant public Postal Service for generations to come. That’s what the people deserve and that’s what the people should have.” Actor-activist Danny Glover joined APWU members, members of A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service and others.
“We are sending a clear signal that we are fighting struggle and we plan to win that struggle,” Glover, the son of postal workers, said. “We are not just supporting postal workers. We have the chance not only to save the post office, but to change the nature of how we deal with the public.
“The public has to have a voice in this. We have to say that this belongs to us – this is something we are entitled to,” Glover stated, adding that expanding postal services is possible, including by offering postal banking.
“We have a Grand Alliance that is saving this national treasure that belongs to us. We will make sure that it remains in our domain,” he concluded.
Melanie Campbell, convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, talked about how important the post office was to her mother, 85 years young, living in Mims, FL.
“I am here in solidarity,” Campbell said. “I may have on this dress and heels, but don’t get it twisted. I am here to fight for our postal workers and our Postal Service.”
Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, said that after years of struggle, it’s our turn to shine.
“It’s our turn as postal workers and as public workers. The shareholders of this country and CEOs have had their turn. The economic recovery has been great to them. But now it’s our turn,” Cohen said. “Postal worker jobs are good for our communities and good for our kids. No more benefit cuts. No more contracting out. Whatever union we are in, we are standing up, we are fighting back and we are with postal workers.”
Clayola Brown, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute concluded the event by declaring, “Our folks are absolutely proud to stand with postal workers, today, tomorrow, until we get a contract. We stand with you one thousand percent. Keep pushing!”
Other organizations in attendance included: OPEIU, A. Philip Randolph Institute, Alliance for Retired Americans, American Federation of Government Employees, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Campaign for America’s Future, Jewish Neighborhood Committee, Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare, National Active and Retired Federal Employees, National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees, National Action Network, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, National Council for Churches, People Demanding Action, Public Citizen, United Students Against Sweatshops, Communication Workers of America, and Service Employees International Union.