National and Local Officers Use Media to Spread the Word on the Postal Service

September 16, 2020

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

As the crisis facing the Postal Service began gathering large public attention in July and August, the media came to the APWU for insight on the issue. APWU National and local officers became the defenders of the public Postal Service in the press, appearing on television, on the radio, in newspapers, on podcasts and online to share what was going on inside the post office from the perspective of postal workers. APWU officers were able to direct the message towards focusing on the real cause of the mail delays and the urgent need for COVID-19 financial relief from Congress.

In national outlets including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC to local newspapers in states across the country, the APWU worked to educate the public about what must be done to Save the Post Office: Congress must pass, and the President must sign, $25 billion in emergency postal funding, and the policy changes mandated by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy causing harmful service delays must be reversed. Additionally, APWU leaders strongly rebutted the White House’s agenda to cast doubts on the Postal Service and its ability to move mail-in ballots during the November election.

In all, national and local APWU officers gained 8.4 billion views across hundreds of outlets, helping to widely increase APWU’s reach among the public. Additionally, APWU’s social media channels gained almost 200,000 new followers, becoming one of the most widely followed unions in the labor movement.

Below are some highlights from these media appearances:

President Dimondstein, responding to the White House’s attempts to cast doubts on the Postal Service’s ability to handle voting by mail:

“It’s dangerous, and it’s very disturbing to postal workers who are very dedicated to the people of the country, and to providing prompt, reliable and efficient services. That’s what the law says, and that’s what we’re dedicated to. We call it our DNA – to never delay mail. We’re not beholden to any individual candidate or political party; we’re beholden to the rights of the American people, to bind the country together, and what better way to do it than provide access to the ballot box?” — The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC, August 13.

President Dimondstein on how postal workers are affected by the harmful policy changes:

“There is a lot of dismay. Postal workers are extremely dedicated to serving the people of this country…We’ve been on the front lines, proudly carrying out that mission and connecting the people of the country. So anything that slows that service, that disrupts that service, that degrades that service, runs counter to everything that we stand for: Get the mail to the customer on time and treat it as if it is our own.” — Anderson Cooper 360°, CNN, August 17.

President Dimondstein on the COVID-induced financial crisis facing the Postal Service and the need for $25 billion in emergency relief:

“What’s before the Postal Service and the people of this country now, on the financial issue, is the COVID-induced economic crisis. The Post Office does not run on tax dollars…it runs on the revenue from postage and postal products. The COVID impact is that mail volume is falling off, at least temporarily, and the Postal Service projects a $50 billion loss over the next ten years just due to COVID. So it’s really incumbent upon Congress. They took care of the private sector at the end of March with over $500 billion, the Post Office did not get a dime. The Post Office belongs to all of us – this is not relief for CEOs or shareholders, this is relief for the people of the country.” — America’s Newsroom, FOX News, August 18.

Local Leaders in the Media

“Election mail is our first priority always... I am not concerned with the ways the workers will handle the mail, I am concerned about the [PMG] rule change.” — Western New York Area Local President Lori Cash, MSNBC, July 31.

"I grew up in a culture of service, where every piece was to be delivered every day. And [DeJoy’s] policies, although they’ve only been in place for a few weeks, are now affecting the way that we do business and not allowing us to deliver every piece every day, as we’ve done in the past… I see this as a way to undermine the public confidence in the mail service. It’s not saving costs. We’re spending more time trying to implement these policy changes.” — Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol, Morning Edition, NPR, August 11.

“If the mail doesn’t make it to the dock, it doesn’t get on the truck. So we’ve had mail that has been left in the plants. Then they get it on the truck the next day… We want to just do our jobs to the best of our ability and be given the resources to do that.” — Cleveland Area Local President Daleo Freeman, NBC Nightly News, August 17.

“We have an obligation to deliver all over the country in a way that private companies don’t. We have an obligation to deliver to rural areas, in Alaska, in some areas of Wyoming, where private companies wouldn’t go…and now the pandemic has seriously damaged the Postal Service. The airline industry gets $50 billion in pandemic relief. The Postal Service goes to every house in America six days a week; the airline industry doesn’t do that. Why don’t we get the same kind of pandemic funding to preserve this vital service for our customers?” — Greater Seattle Area Local Vice President David Yao, MSNBC, August 25.

“We are a service. We’re not a business. So, you can’t expect us to act as a business because we’re there to serve the American public every day… We believe to keep the Postal Service, which is owned by the American people, on solid financial footing, then we’re going to need some help from Congress." — Indiana Postal Workers President Doug Brown, Washington Post, August 21.

“The post office was essential [when Benjamin Franklin was PMG]. It’s essential now… We take our jobs very seriously. We don’t want these delays. We want to deliver the mail on time.” — Cindy Heyward, Philadelphia Area Local Legislative & Political Director, NBC News, August 28.

“In my 20 years at the Service, postal employees have fostered a culture of never delaying the mail. Our unofficial mantra is mail that comes in today, goes out today — no matter what. We are now being told to ignore that. If mail can’t get delivered or processed without overtime, it is supposed to sit and wait…think about mail that arrives late in the day. Before, that mail would be processed for the next day’s delivery, even if that required overtime. Today, that mail sits in the plant at least until the following evening — or longer... In the plants, meanwhile, the short staffing of clerks means it takes longer to get all the mail through the sorting machines. And under orders from DeJoy, mail processing equipment is being scrapped.” — Youngstown Local MVS Director Jim Varner, opinion-editorial in the Tribune Chronicle, August 23.

“[Postal Workers are] a proud mix — a true cross-section and representation of the American people. I still feel that thrill [of going to work], but now it is mixed with sadness. The Postal Service...has been charged to do almost impossible tasks in ways that no other business in the country has been required to do.” — Muriel Ponder, Denver Metro Area Local Legislative and Political Director, USA Today opinion-editorial, Sept. 1.

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