Over 400,000 People Demand a Postmaster General Who Supports the Public Postal Service
On Jan. 6, APWU national officers, fellow union members, organizers and activists, many from organizations in A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service (Grand Alliance), gathered at USPS Headquarters to demand the Postal Board of Governors preserve the public Postal Service.
The rally concluded a hugely successful petition drive launched after current Postmaster General Megan Brennan announced in October that she would retire on Jan. 31, 2020.
400,000 people signed the petition supporting A Grand Alliance’s demand that the Postal Board of Governors appoint a Postmaster General who will stand up for quality, universal service and the continued public ownership of the USPS. The Board of Governors has the responsibility of appointing the next Postmaster General.
“We’re going in with a simple demand,” President Mark Dimondstein said at the rally. “We need a leader of this organization – a new Postmaster General – who believes [in], who will uphold, and who will fight for the public mission of the United States Postal Service…We demand a vibrant, public Postal Service for generations to come!”
STANDING TOGETHER AGAINST PRIVATIZATION
APWU Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Powell emceed the rally, opening the event with a powerful statement of purpose: “Today, we have more than 400,000 signatures to the Board of Governors demanding that they appoint a Postmaster General that will defend universal service and the public United States Postal Service.”
Speakers at the rally condemned the White House for their explicit attacks on the public Postal Service, demanding the administration stop its push for privatization.
“We all know what privatization means. It means they want to cut your wages; they want to take away your benefits; they want to destroy the great reliability of this agency. They want people to make profit off of us. We’re not going to let that happen,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Social Security Works President Nancy Altman compared the attacks on the USPS to the ongoing attempts to cut Social Security. “The American people are with us,” Altman said. “They know across the ideology that the Postal Service is vital to this country, that Social Security is vital to this country.”
“We recognize that it is our US Postal Service that opened up more jobs and provided more opportunities for more Americans from various backgrounds…than any other organization or any other industry in our country,” said NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton. He spoke about how the fight against privatization is “central to the issues of civil rights protections for all Americans and American families.”
Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, emphasized the importance of the continued struggle against privatization. “We’re in for the fight of our lives…to make sure that our Postal Service remains the people’s Postal Service,” Campbell said.
Following the rally, APWU President Mark Dimondstein led a delegation inside the USPS Headquarters to deliver the petitions to Postmaster General Brennan, who accepted them on behalf of the Board of Governors.
APWU PUSHED PETITION
The APWU-led US Mail Not for Sale campaign worked with the Grand Alliance to mobilize a response immediately when Brennan announced her retirement in October. President Dimondstein announced the Grand Alliance petition at the late October APWU All-Craft Conference in Las Vegas.
The petition was spread in person, by mail, and online, with APWU members, other postal workers, and community allies joining the US Mail Not for Sale campaign.
As part of the petition drive, the APWU released a new video advertisement during the holiday season, spreading the word to millions of viewers that “No One Gets Left Off the List.” The APWU also placed a print advertisement in the Washington Post on Jan. 6 and in The Hill on Jan. 7, reaching over 1 million people.
The APWU’s work successfully increased public awareness of the White House’s desire to privatize the Postal Service, leading to articles from media organizations including NBC, Fortune, Bloomberg, In These Times, Huffington Post, Government Executive, Federal News Network, and the American Prospect.
By the end of the drive, over 400,000 people added their name to the petition demanding the Board of Governors preserve the public Postal Service. The day of the rally, the USPS announced Brennan would delay her retirement until a suitable replacement was found.
A new date for Brennan’s retirement has not yet been announced. We will post updates as they become available.