Postal Workers Tell PMG, Board of Governors:
Stop Delaying America's Mail
This article appeared in the January-February 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.
APWU members held more than 150 protests on Nov. 14, with events in all 50 states, to send a message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail!
The protests received extensive media coverage in print, on the radio and on T.V. The events were designed to thwart USPS plans to lower service standards; delay all mail throughout the nation, and close or consolidate 82 mail processing centers.
APWU members were joined by their sister postal unions, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association at most of the events.
The Nov. 14 date was selected to coincide with a meeting of the Board of Governors, which has the authority to stop the destructive policies. Approximately 250 postal workers and supporters protested loudly in the lobby of USPS headquarters after they were denied entry to the “public” meeting.
But they cheered wildly when APWU President Mark Dimondstein read aloud a text message he had received from one of the few union members who managed to gain entry to the meeting: Postmaster General Donahoe had announced he was stepping down, effective Feb. 1. Delegates to the APWU’s National Convention voted unanimously in July to call for his resignation.
In Maine, Portland Area Local President Tim Doughty told WMTW-TV News, “We need to stop the Post Office from destroying themselves,” while union members and supporters protested outside the Main Post Office.
Members of the Manchester Area Local staged a funeral for America’s mail service at City Hall Plaza, complete with a grim reaper. Postal worker Jim Breen said, “What they’re calling ‘network consolidation’ isn’t going to work. It’s going to destroy the service, it’s going to reduce our service standards, and it’s going to cost good-paying jobs.”
The Boston Area Local, which is scheduled to lose the NW Boston Processing and Distribution Center, rallied outside the General Mail Facility, with members of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.
In Syracuse, the Central NY Area Local marched through a snowstorm, chanting, “The postal service is not broke, Congress took the money and that’s no joke.”
Approximately 300 postal workers and supporters turned out for a protest at the Buffalo Main Post Office, where they carried signs and American flags. “We hope to let the public know the danger and we hope the public will respond and tell the Postal Service that they enjoy their service the way it is and they want the Postal Service to continue next-day delivery,” Local President Frank Resetarits told TWC-TV News.
Enthusiastic members of the Mid-Hudson Area Local boarded a chartered bus early in the morning to pass out flyers at 10 locations around Middletown, Newburgh and Poughkeepsie. At the end of their tour, they joined their sisters and brothers from the Kingston Local for a rally at the Kingston Post Office.
Members of the Flushing Local gathered at the Queens P&DC to distribute leaflets and talk with customers about the urgency of stopping service cuts. President Robert Yaccarino said, “People depend on medication through the mail and their bills and checks, and all this would be delayed, possibly up to three days.”
In Cincinnati, more than 100 protestors were joined in the cold weather by their City Commissioner and a staffer from the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Mike Funk, president of the Cincinnati Area Local, said, “Every person in this country will be hard hit by this.”
In Lansing, the Central Michigan Area Local turned out more than 100 postal workers to protest at the Michigan State Capitol. They were joined by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who flew from Washington, DC, that morning to join the rally.
The Greater Kansas City Metro Area Local and the Kansas Kaw Valley Area Local joined forces for a rally at the Kansas City P&DC. “These are post offices that the inner-city people rely on,” said Antoinette Robinson, president of Local 67 in Kansas City.
The Greater Oregon Area Local, which is slated to lose a plant in Bend, rallied at the main post office, despite several inches of snow and freezing rain. They were joined by a staffer from the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), along with Jobs with Justice and other community activists. “I think it is the beginning of something bigger here in Bend,” Linda O’Donnell said about the Day of Action.
Larry DeNayer, treasurer of Local 960 in Redding, CA, reported that local members collected more than 200 signatures on a petition opposing the cutbacks. To date, the local has collected close to 8,000 signatures. “Our purpose here is to save the people’s Post Office,” DeNayer said.
Members of the Greater Seattle Area Local chanted through the cold weather, “No closures, no cuts, No ifs, ands, or buts.” They called the event “Shine a Light on the Plan to Delay the Mail” and gave out prizes for light displays that drew in the public as the sun went down on the afternoon protest
In Birmingham, AL, Harry James, legislative director for the Birmingham local, told reporters the Postmaster General’s plans “would devastate the Postal Service. It would devastate about 37 states and about 15,000 employees and it would also devastate the customer.”
Approximately 100 protestors braved the cold in Chattanooga, TN, “fighting for their jobs, and speaking against the upcoming Service Standard Change,” WRBC-TV reported.
Roanoke (VA) Local President Carlton Cooper told WDBJ-TV the plan to close the Processing & Distribution Center there will “affect all of our customers.” National Business Agent Pamela Richardson said, “The Postal Service is looked at as a piece of the money that they want to divvy up.”
Across the country, APWU members reported an enthusiastic response to the protests. To see more photos of the events, visit http://tinyurl.com/ou64scu. For media coverage, visit http://tinyurl.com/pcq7gvh.