The People are Proving We're no “Joke”

Mark Dimondstein

September 16, 2020

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

It is no joke when the U.S. President calls us “a joke.”

It is most concerning for our jobs and future. We are outraged that those who want to privatize the public Postal Service shamefully use the pandemic to try to accomplish their aims. We are angry that there has been no COVID-19 fnancial relief for the USPS, while private corporations have received $500 billion. We are dis- mayed that our service to the people is being degraded by the new Postmaster General.

In defense of our jobs, our union and the USPS, APWU members have turned our concerns and outrage into action. We have contacted Congress, talked to the media, signed and circulated petitions, educated our families and friends, rallied, messaged on social media, and united with our many labor and community allies and the U.S. people.

The people have responded with an outpouring of support. The call to “Save the Post Office” has resonated throughout the land. It is impressive, inspiring and most heartening, but does not come as a surprise. The USPS is consistently rated the highest of all agencies based on the work and dedication of proud postal workers. This year the USPS garnered an astounding 91 percent public approval rating, equally from Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians or Greens. In addition, the USPS has been rated the top “brand” during the pandemic, reflecting great appreciation for our frontline, essential work.

Here are just some examples of this public “uprising,” often carried out in coordination with APWU postal workers.

  • Over 2 million people signed petitions to Congress to Save the Public Postal Service.
  • Over 60,000 calls have been made to Congress in- sisting on $25 billion emergency COVID-19 relief.
  • Following a meeting of over 100 allied community organizations, 800 events were held on one Satur- day in August followed by an additional 300 the following Tuesday, resulting in widespread local news coverage.
  • Positive letters to the editors frequently appear in local papers across the country. Many small
  • business owners, civil rights, environmental and veteran organizations are speaking up. Some have produced supportive videos.
  • Our Twitter following rose from 11,000 to over 200,000 in just two short weeks, underscoring the interest and concern of the people.
  • The AFL-CIO has made postal emergency relief funding as one of their core legislative demands in the ongoing COVID-19 stimulus negotiations.
  • Public support and interest have driven extensive and sympathetic national news coverage. Late night comedians have even taken up the fght.
  • Spontaneously, there have been efforts for people to fnancially support the USPS by buying stamps, writing and mailing letters and buying postal gear. Singers have recorded and shared songs.
  • On vote by mail issues and the need for financial relief, APWU representatives have been asked by various national organizations to make presenta- tions and provide Congressional testimony.

All of these efforts are having an impact! The House of Representatives has passed two bills calling for $25 billion of emergency COVID-19 relief. The Senate is now considering a similar bipartisan bill. After saying “no” for months, the White House is now talking about COVID-19 relief. PMG DeJoy has temporarily halted some of his negative policies and committed under oath to prioritize processing vital election mail.

Positive steps, yes, but not suffcient. Let’s keep the “foot on the gas” to secure COVID-19 relief, permanently reverse the PMG’s regressive policies and obtain proper hiring and staffng. Let’s keep it in the streets to gain a bright future for the public Postal Service.

This movement has not been built by accident. The APWU continues to lead the way. We are union. We are determined. We are organized. We built the Grand Alli- ance. We won the Stop Staples fght. We understand we cannot win alone. The people are on our side. The power of the 99% will prevail over the power of the Wall Street
privatizers – and that’s no joke!

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