AFL-CIO Endorses Campaign for Postal Banking
(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
Delegates to the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention unani- mously passed Resolution 46, “Support Postal Financial Services and Postal Banking.”
The resolution states that “the AFL-CIO endorses and supports the ‘Campaign for Postal Banking,’ including the ongoing efforts to compel the Postal Service to provide basic financial services such as paycheck cashing and electronic funds transfer, as a step toward establishing nonprofit, public postal banking.”
The APWU and our sister union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, jointly submitted Resolution 46. Outlining the great need in the United States for affordable financial services, the resolution states there are:
- “68 million American adults throughout rural and urban America who don’t have bank accounts or who have limited access to bank services; and that
- “‘Legal loan sharks’ prey on the underserved by trapping them in a cycle of payday loans, check-cashing fees, and interest that costs families an average of $2,400 per year when their entire annual family incomes average just $25,000.”
From the floor of the AFL-CIO convention, Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard spoke passionately in favor of the resolution. Beard stated, “The Postal Service already has a presence in these [underserved] communities. The Postal Service is well suited to provide this service. Financial services in the Postal Service will promote an economy that serves the public, not Wall Street… [Postal banking] will be a great help to the American people.”
The resolution also illustrates why the Postal Service is so well-suited:
- The U.S. Post Office operated the Postal Savings System from 1911 through 1967 and, at its peak, had $3.4 billion in deposits;
- USPS operates more than 33,000 retail locations nationwide, 59 percent of which are located in bank deserts (zip codes with either zero banks or only one bank branch);
- USPS has a mandate to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality;
- USPS has a skilled workforce which processed more than 378,000 money orders per day in 2014.
The postal banking resolution was introduced in conjunction with Resolution 21, “Holding Wall Street Accountable.” Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America, spoke about postal banking as part of the fight to take back power from Wall Street.
In support of Resolution 21, Shelton stated, “We must fight to stop Wall Street’s growing power over our economy, our politics, and especially our lives… We need to have postal banking in the country.
“We need to make sure Wall Street no longer rigs the tax code to their benefit and leaves us paying the bills and instead pays their fair share through a financial transaction tax or, as we call it, a Wall Street sales tax,” he continued. “We need to stand up together in solidarity to take on the power of Wall Street. Are you with me brothers and sisters?”
Delegates to the 19th Biennial Convention of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) are also with us on postal banking. Judy Beard, CLUW’s treasurer, introduced a resolution calling for postal banking, passed by the delegates.
The Campaign for Postal Banking looks forward to working with CLUW to take postal banking to the streets!