Protests Against Job, Service Cuts Continue
(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
APWU members from coast-to-coast continue to fight against postal management’s cuts to jobs and resulting diminished service. Following the previously reported demonstrations by the Baltimore Francis “Stu” Filbey Area Local, the Charlotte Area Local (NC), and the Greater Seattle Area Local, in Massachusetts and Iowa APWU members hit the streets and spoke out to inform postal customers about how these cuts lead to slow mail processing, delayed delivery and poor customer service.
Tens of thousands of postal customers in these communities were informed through the protests and local news stories about how management is weakening the public Postal Service with job reversions, abolishments and threatened excessing.
On the Ball in Boston
On Oct. 18, APWU members, allies and activists took to the streets to demand management fill New England Area postal vacancies.
Over 100 people attended the protest, organized by the Boston Metro Area Local. It brought together APWU Cape Cod Area Local and Manchester Area Local members, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), and supporters from the Greater Boston Labor Council, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Jobs with Justice, and Labor for Our Revolution.
“Hundreds of postal vacancies in the Boston area have gone unfilled,” said Boston Metro Area Local President Scott Hoffman. “It drastically disrupts service to the public and is just another way to pave the road to privatization.”
Picketing in Des Moines
A few weeks later, the Des Moines Area Local and the Des Moines BMC Local held an informational picket in front of the downtown processing and distribution center (P&DC). The Nov. 8 protest was in response to postal management eliminating 36 positions at the main Des Moines post office – with plans to cut another 34 positions. This is a cut to about 20 percent of the staff.
Protesters included members from the NALC and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, as well as activists from the Teamsters, Communication Workers of America, the Iowa Federation of Labor and Citizens for Community Improvement. Iowa State Representative Bruce Hunter and Iowa Secretary of State candidate Jim Mowrer also joined the protest.
“Nationwide, postal management is cutting jobs and realigning the workforce, which is causing disruptions to workers' lives and postal operations," said Des Moines Area Loca President Mike Bates. "Our message was very clear. We want to provide first-class service, 24/7, 365 days a year."
"We want to educate the public that it's the people's post office and it operates on ZERO tax payer dollars,” he continued. “Give service back to the people!”
As a follow-up to the rally, President Mark Dimondstein and Bates published a joint op-ed in the The Des Moines Register on Nov. 10.
Protests Will Continue
The protests will persist as long as management holds to their plan to further degrade service and cut needed staffing. The APWU national officers continue to pursue all possible avenues to fight these cuts. You can go to apwu.org or follow the union on Facebook to get the latest news about this fight.
Contact your local/state representative if you want to participate in a protest, rally or informational picket.
If you would like to publicize your recent action, or need assistance obtaining press coverage for your event, do not hesitate to contact the APWU National Communication Department. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-842-4250 with any questions or concerns.
New York Metro Works with Legislators to Stop Cuts
In September, the New York Metro Area Local planned a press conference and rally to pressure the USPS to stop job cuts that would further diminish postal services in the Bronx. The local worked with Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY-15) to distribute a “sign-on” letter from local politicians to support the union’s effort. After pressure from elected officials, USPS canceled most planned cuts to the Bronx.
“The cancellation of planned staffing cuts is a victory for The Bronx,” Congressman Serrano said. “The post office is experiencing revenue issues, but the way [to] fix those problems is not by reducing the very services that loyal clients depend upon.”
“The members of the New York Metro Area Postal Union are proud to stand with Congressman Serrano and the Bronx community in the fight for the people of the Bronx to receive first class postal services,” said New York Metro Area Postal Union President Jonathan Smith.
Albuquerque Speaks Out
Albuquerque Local President Ken Fajardo secured major news coverage on local KRQE News (CBS), informing the public about management’s plans to cut 63 mail processing and window clerk jobs, as well as mail handler positions, in the city's P&DC. Of the 63 cuts, 47 are abolishments and 16 are reversions.
“Cuts are not the answer,” said Fajardo. “In reality, our data shows that more jobs are needed. We have issues right now as it is,but once these cuts take effect, it’s just going to devastate customer service even more… Problems that customers do have – they’re going unanswered and unresolved. It’s not really fair and it’s not justified.”