APWU Members Join AFL-CIO Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice

July 1, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

On June 17, an impressive 1,200 car caravan took over the streets of Washington, D.C. as one of the 608 events across the country in the Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice. APWU members joined these national events, spearheaded by the AFL-CIO, that brought the labor movement together in a collective demand that Congress and the Trump Administration address the AFL-CIO’s five Economic Essentials in light of the impact of the COVID pandemic. These are:

1. Keep frontline workers safe and secure.

2. Keep state and local governments, our public schools and the U.S. Postal Service solvent and working.

3. Keep workers employed and protect earned pension checks.

4. Keep America healthy by protecting and expanding health insurance for all workers.

5. Keep America competitive by hiring people to build infrastructure.

“America is suffering under the crushing weight of three crises, which are a public health pandemic, an economic free fall, and structural racism. They are knotted together in that untangling one depends on how we untangle the others,” wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in an opinion-editorial on June 17. “For instance, structural racism is deeply ingrained in the share of black workers unemployed and dying from the coronavirus.”

“We all know someone who is sick or suffering. Many have lost a friend, a colleague, or loved one. We cannot expect a healthy economy until the workers who run it are healthy. Nor can we restore our collective health until we can diminish such racism baked into our communities,” Trumka continued. “Our choice is not picking healthy people or a healthy economy or justice. The choice is simply all or none. We have to choose all.”

The event publicized that the need for urgent postal funding is not just an issue that affects postal employees – it is a public health, economic, and racial justice issue that affects people in every community across the country.

On May 15, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, a stimulus package that included an emergency $25 billion appropriation for the Postal Service to offset the projected revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation also included critical funding for state and local governments.

“The APWU was proud to join the Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice. As essential workers, postal workers have been on the front lines of the crisis caused by COVID-19. The APWU stands in solidarity with our union family in demanding that our leaders put working people first in any future legislation,” said President Mark Dimondstein.

If you or your local participated in a Workers First Caravan near you, please send any pictures to communications@apwu.org.

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