Thelma (NALC Branch 496)

Thelma grew up in Hurt, Virginia with 6 brothers and 6 sisters.

To hear Thelma talk about being a letter carrier is to understand how much pride she takes in being part of the “only company that goes door to door every day delivering mail, medicine and birthday cards” adding, “we’re the eyes and ears of every community.”

Thelma has been a letter carrier for 24 years and remembers hearing warnings of automation and getting rid of Saturday service, “You heard that a lot during your career but to really see the impact when the economy went flat and the mail volume wasn’t there. That’s when it hits you that we have to be innovative so the postal service can last.”

She explains that there are several pieces of legislation on the table and the stakes of the election are huge for postal employees. The proposals offered by Darrell Issa and the House GOP would destroy the postal service as we know it. They would harm customers like seniors who Thelma delivers to who would be forced to try and get their medicine from a centralized location despite having limited mobility.

Issa’s plans would cut letter carrier jobs and eviscerate collective bargaining agreements for existing employees. His plans are in stark contrast to solutions that would preserve the postal service, respect its employees and acknowledge their importance to communities all across the country.

Thelma also describes what it means to be a union member, “unions are all around us: the bus drivers, the electrical workers who wire your house, the cable guy… These are all union members and they’re hardworking members who make our lives easier and connect us.”

“We’re never ever gonna get a fair wage, we’re never ever gonna be treated fairly unless we stand up for the rights of workers.”

This is what drives Thelma to be involved in her union and the broader labor movement in Virginia.

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