United at a Safe Distance

Anna Smith

May 20, 2020

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

Just about everyone is literally ‘worried sick’ with the health crisis hitting our country. Postal workers are no different, especially being “essential” workers and needing to report for duty to serve the American people day in and day out. That is stressful in and of itself, but then our interaction on the workroom floor is now becoming a “new normal.”

In many offices, breaks and lunches are staggered. Some offices enforce social distancing by separating operations. Unfortunately, due to the situation we are now all in, some of our co-workers need to self-quarantine, leaving many of us wondering if they are ok.

Are we ok?

We worry more during this crisis; more about our health, death and about the safety of our family.

We are members of our union – our extended family. God forbid, one of our own co-workers is taken away from us by the dreaded submicroscopic monster, and we cannot even attend the funeral services (my condolences to my sisters and brothers who have already tragically been in this situation). We cannot hug each other at work. Our union family hurts! Even so, our family is still united even while maintaining physical distance.

Pandemic and Perilous Treachery

Suddenly, social media lights up beyond the issues of safety and health, anger and fear. The Postal Service releases information of the imminent financial collapse because of this pandemic mess. We now begin to fear what will we do if in a matter of months our livelihood, our means of living, our own financial security is also devasted by this disease. Could it be? Is this real? Is it true that the White House would save the airline industry but not the People’s Post Office? Yes. And that my sisters and brothers is why being united is critical. United to beat the virus and united to Save The Post Office. The union is you and I. The union is us! We have to stand united, even at a distance, to fight for our health and our life.

Our union’s leadership has negotiated safeguards and extra protections to cover us during the pandemic. But the national leadership alone cannot solve the imminent threat of the Postal Service going under. That fight is something you and I – together – are going to have to wage with our friends, family and community.

By the time you read this, we will be closer to postal insolvency and the true test of how united we are will be underway. On other pages of this magazine, my fellow officers are sounding the alarm in various ways. Read every page; take it to heart. Put your actions into gear. We can fight the disease and treachery and we can win but only if we shout together.

What we must do is listed on other pages, but it will not hurt for me to highlight what action we must take:

  • Contact your Congressional Representatives, both your member of the House of Representatives and Senators, about supporting the USPS during this crisis – with no strings attached. Go to apwu.org to send an email and then pressure your friends and family to do the same.
  • Encourage your co-workers to send their own email or call your elected leaders on Capitol Hill. Remind them that none of us can afford to have the USPS go under, and if it is sold to private corporations, we can kiss our good wages and benefits goodbye.

I cannot stress how important this really is. If we stand united and stay united, there is not a power on Earth that can beat us, even this damn virus.

Be Strong, Be United, Be Safe!

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