Postmaster General Petition Demonstrates Power of Alliance

January 23, 2020

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

The collection and presentation of more than 400,000 petitions to the Postal Service Board of Governors regarding their appointment of the next Postmaster General was an impressive feat. But it didn’t happen on its own and it certainly wasn’t the work of any single person or organization. Instead it was a prime example of the collective power of the Grand Alliance, working in concert to defend the public United States Postal Service from the threat of privatization.

One of the keys to the success of the Board of Governors petition is that it was taken up as a priority by so many different member organizations in the Grand Alliance. Attendees at the APWU All-Craft Conference were the first to act, signing paper petitions in Las Vegas and returning more after taking copies home to their workplaces and their local unions.

The APWU later led the charge in driving out the petitions to members, mailing blank petitions and fact sheets to every member and making the petition drive a key story on the union’s website and social media channels. Postal workers from other crafts also engaged through their unions’ social media accounts and email lists.

Other unions, including the Communications Workers of America, the National Nurses United, and the Association of Flight Attendants shared the petition with their members in one way or another. The national AFL-CIO urged all union members to sign on, giving State Federations and Central Labor Councils a number of briefings and calls to action regarding the petition drive.

Even the activist and actor Danny Glover, the son of postal workers and the celebrity face of the Grand Alliance, joined in. Glover shared the petition and his personal stories about what postal employment and union membership meant to his family to more than 1.2 million Twitter followers.

“Whether it was in workplaces, in union halls, in the streets, on social media, or around the family table at the holidays, hundreds of thousands of people were talking about the need to stand up for our public Postal Service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “That so many allies stood in solidarity with us during this busy time of year is a testament to the broad support the public Postal Service and postal workers have. Collectively we’ve made our voices heard!”

A Grand Alliance has brought together a broad coalition of national organizations and activists, united around the common belief that the people of the county deserve great public postal services. While the coalition stands up for the family-sustaining jobs postal employment brings, its focus has always been on the democratic right of the people to vibrant and essential public services. That’s one of the key reasons the Alliance generally, and this petition in particular, appealed to such a broad base of organizations from consumer groups to civil rights groups and labor allies.

Social Security Works was among the most active of the organizations that circulated the petitions among their members. Their efforts delivered tens of thousands of signatures and for Social Security Works activists, there’s a clear connection between the issues of Social Security and postal privatization.

“This petition drive united postal workers and our interests with the members of the Grand Alliance and the people of the country,” President Dimondstein said. “As our struggle to defend and expand our vital public Postal Service continues, we’ll need to deepen our relationship with allies and keep building a movement. That’s what solidarity is all about.”

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

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