Members of the American Postal Workers Union gathered at the Pittsburgh Convention Center Aug. 21 to protest the potential privatization of the U.S. Postal Service.
“The American people should not tolerate selling off a national treasure to corporate pirates who will cut postal service, raise prices and destroy good-paying jobs,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein in a news release on the protest.
“Selling off the Postal Service threatens to stifle the growing e-commerce sector of the U.S. economy. It’s easy to click on website to make a purchase, but to deliver packages to every possible address in America — no matter how distant — thousands of companies and tens of millions of consumers depend on hard work of the women and men of the U.S. Postal Service.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April 2018 convening a task force to evaluate the U.S. postal system to make it more financially solvent. Among the intended re-evaluations was the USPS “universal service obligation,” which stipulates that all packages and parcels are priced the same regardless of their origin and intended destination.
In June, the Trump administration released a government reorganization proposal that would prepare USPS for eventual conversion to a private entity and anticipated that the task force would issue a report on improving the postal service in the near future.
Union spokesman Jamie Horowitz told Federal Times that the union’s members aren’t going to wait for that report to come out to oppose the potential changes to USPS.
Protest attendees, numbering around 2,000, chanted “U.S. mail is not for sale” while holding up signs in opposition of privatization and in support of the union.
“We cannot allow Donald Trump to privatize the Postal Service,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said at the AWPU convention prior to the protest. He added that he plans to introduce legislation to block the effort to privatize.
“We will stand up, fight back and defeat Trump’s disastrous plan.”
Pennsylvania Rep. Connor Lamb also spoke against the potential privatization of USPS.
“The Postal Service is the most popular agency of the United States government, by far. I can tell you, people love you guys,” said Lamb.
“The seniors in my district, they need you to get their medication on time. The young people who are trying to start businesses [across my district], they need you.”
The APWU protest was supported by other unions — including the American Federation of Government Employees; the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America; and the Pennsylvania State Association of Letter Carriers — who stressed the importance of unions standing together in opposition of the potential change.
Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.