A Grand Alliance Members Showing Solidarity During COVID-19 Crisis

May 20, 2020

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

In just a few short months, the coronavirus pandemic has changed so much about our society. Despite the hardship and loss the pandemic has caused, one force has continued to shine through the darkness of the moment – solidarity. Acts of kindness, generosity and mutual support – both individual and collective – remind us of our shared humanity, our common dignity and the timeless fact that the fates of working people are intertwined.

One place where that solidarity has shone through once again is in the work of A Grand Alliance to Save our Public Postal Service.

The pandemic amplified the risk to the Postal Service in two important ways: first, the precipitous decline in mail volume is creating a real financial crisis for the USPS. Second, the privatizers in the Administration are doubling down on the crisis to extract painful changes to the post office, preparing to sell it off to their friends on Wall Street.

As soon as the double crisis became clear to the members of A Grand Alliance, they sprang into action once again. As they did when postal workers were petitioning the Postal Board of Governors around the appointment of the next Postmaster General, a number of Alliance partners and allies circulated a petition to their memberships, demanding Congress provide the necessary funding to maintain vital postal services. As this column goes to print, more than 437,000 people have signed that petition.

Social Security Works, Take on Wall Street, People for the American Way and the AFL-CIO led the charge on the petitions, even as the pandemic created critical challenges to their organizations and constituents as well.

And, just as many members of the public rushed to buy stamps to bolster the Postal Service, Grand Alliance signatories naturally turned to the mail to organize support for our national treasure. Public Citizen and Jobs with Justice launched mail campaigns, informing their membership about the threat to the Postal Service and urging them to write to members of Congress.

Former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, commentator and host of the Hightower Lowdown, took to the airwaves to defend the Postal Service and devoted his column to the threat of the moment, urging readers to visit USMailNotForSale.org.

VoteVets produced a video for their online audience highlighting the important reliance veterans have on receiving their prescriptions through the mail. Other Alliance allied organizations, like Color of Change, shared stories highlighting the heroic work of postal workers as they moved their members to take action in defense of the public Postal Service.

As this magazine goes to press, the APWU and other Alliance partners are in discussions to organize new ways of mobilizing public support for the Postal Service. Hundreds of thousands of petitions must land at the feet of congressional leaders who can ensure the future viability of the Postal Service. While the public health demands of the moment have limited our abilities to congregate and demonstrate in familiar ways, Alliance partners continue their important work using innovative means.

“This pandemic has created enormous challenges in all corners of our society,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “That the Grand Alliance has generated so much solidarity despite these trying times is a testament to the vital role that postal workers and the public Postal Service holds in this country. If we’re to succeed in our struggle to save our national treasure, it will be because of the support of A Grand Alliance and the people of the country rising up to demand it.”

A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service is a broad coalition of national, state and local organizations including the NAACP, 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 www.AGrandAlliance.org.

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