Department & Division News

A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service

Keep the U.S. Postal Service Public!

Community activist Julio Pabon addresses the New York City field hearing

(This article first appeared in the September-October 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)

From Baltimore, New York, and San Jose to Cleveland and Greensboro, community leaders, activists and postal customers came together at field hearings sponsored by A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service (AGA) to examine postal issues that are important to the public.

“I stand with you” for a strong, public Postal Service, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) told the audience in Greensboro.

In each city, a panel of local leaders heard testimony about the important role the U.S. Postal Service plays in their communities – providing a crucial public service and creating good, stable jobs.

Distinguished speakers included Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC); panelists included Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and APWU President Emeritus William Burrus. 

Speakers advocated expanding USPS services by offering postal banking and increasing voting by mail as well as improving service by offering longer hours at post offices, increasing staffing at retail windows, and protecting six-day and door-to-door mail delivery.

AGA sponsored the field hearings in the spring and early summer in conjunction with APWU locals, under the leadership of local presidents George Askew (Baltimore Area Local), Ed Peralta (San Jose Area Local), Jonathan Smith (New York Metro Area Postal Union), and Daleo Freeman (Cleveland Area Local). The organizing work of Courtney Jenkins (Baltimore), Nora Taggart (New York), Crystal Durham (Cleveland), and Rich Koritz (Greensboro) was indispensable to the success of the hearings.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and APWU President Emeritus William Burrus served as hearing officers in Cleveland.

“Our community needs high quality postal services, not a downgrade in service standards and ongoing cutbacks in facilities and personnel,” Rep. Adams said at the Greensboro hearing.

In Ohio, Rep. Kaptur expressed enthusiastic support for postal banking and restoring service standards, which were cut in January 2015.

San Jose field hearing moderator Steve Preminger

“The U.S. Postal Service is headed in the wrong direction by closing facilities, cutting back on service and downgrading delivery standards,” she said. “At a time when banks and other institutions are abandoning inner city communities, our public Postal Service should do the exact opposite, with more hours, expanded staffing and services. Postal banking should absolutely be on the agenda, especially in a city like Cleveland where so many are shut out of traditional financial services.”

At each hearing, the public had the opportunity to hear from local elected officials, members of faith and civil rights communities, academics and various AGA signatories, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, Alliance for Retired Americans, United for a Fair Economy, Jobs with Justice, In the Public Interest, and the Amalgamated Transit Union.  

Small business owner Patricia Watson addresses Baltimore hearing officers Mary Pat Clarke, Rev. Alvin Hathaway, “Doc” Cheatham, and moderator Bill Fletcher Jr.

A Grand Alliance will produce a report to summarize the findings of the field hearings. Highlights of the five field hearings are included in a short video, available at

Feel free to share the video with your union sisters and brothers as well as family, friends, and networks to help spread the word about the attacks on our great national treasure, the U.S. Postal Service, and how we can best fight to protect and enhance vibrant public postal services now – and for many generations to come.

Willie Nelson Featured in New Alliance Video

In a heartwarming two-minute video, iconic musician and Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson shares his personal connection to the Postal Service, and makes a call for viewers to join A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service.

National radio commentator and publisher of Hightower Lowdown Jim Hightower joined Willie Nelson on his tour bus on New Year’s Eve. In the video, the two chat about the vital role of the Postal Service in connecting our communities and in sustaining good, union jobs. The video premiered at the APWU National Convention in August, introduced by Hightower.

Both Farm Aid and Hightower Lowdown are founding members of A Grand Alliance, which formed in February 2015. Farm Aid has worked to increase awareness of the importance of family farms since 1985, when Willie Nelson organized the first Farm Aid benefit concert.

Willie Nelson and his wife, Annie, have long been activists on a number of issues, including defending American farmers in danger of losing their farms to mortgage debt. In this video, he draws on his work with Farm Aid to underscore the importance of “keeping the Postal Service alive and well.”

The video can be found at Please share it with your union sisters and brothers, family and friends to show the broad support for our fight and to encourage them to join A Grand Alliance. Ask them to sign the pledge at


A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service is a broad coalition of national, state and local organizations, including Vote Vets, Jobs with Justice, National Council of Churches and Rainbow PUSH. These groups have come together to take a stand against the unprecedented assaults on the Postal Service, including efforts to dismantle and privatize it. To join A Grand Alliance, visit