On Sunday March 24th, the National Association of Letter Carriers spearheaded a National Day of Action urging Congress to save 6 day delivery. In Virginia, the events lived up to the NALC’s unofficial motto. Hundreds of activists braved snow in Roanoke, sleet in Richmond, rain in Virginia Beach and a healthy mix in Arlington to urge Congress to protect the postal service.
Ginger is a member of NALC Branch 1100 out of San Diego, California and was in Hopewell visiting an uncle. She looked up the nearest Delivering for America event and joined a spirited group of local letter carriers, family members and area union activists for the Richmond rally. She said, “It’s quite cold for the California girl but I’m proud to be here.”
Father and son, John (IBT Local 592) and Jacob (IAM Local 696) King made the trek up from Petersburg to show support. They both said they saw the attacks on the postal service as a broader attack on workers and wanted to stand up for good jobs. Jacob shared a story of his local letter carrier taking the time to circle back to their house to make sure they received a package. John added, “I’m here supporting these people because they’re professionals and they do their job well.”
On the impact of cutting 6 day delivery, Ron Hinton (President, NALC Branch 496) explained, “it will have an adverse effect on small businesses, rural communities, and will take away the connection on Saturday for the American people.”
Most people don’t realize that the postal service’s financial troubles were deliberately manufactured. Back in 2006, Congress passed a mandate requiring the USPS to prefund their healthcare benefits out 75 years. In other words, for workers not yet born. It’s a requirement no other company or government agency is subject to. It is a ridiculous burden on an otherwise solvent agency.
For the last few years, postal employees have been mobilizing in an effort to stop those in Congress who want to dismantle the USPS. For these workers, it’s not only about saving jobs but preserving an institution they take great pride representing. The postal service is the single biggest employer of veterans, its first post master general was Ben Franklin and its roots stretch into every community. They care about the people on their routes and often mention the seniors who they’ve delivered mail and medicine to for years.
Gail Burton Jones (President, Virginia chapter of the NALC) summed up the motivation behind this day of action, “we just want the American people to be aware of what’s going on and get involved by contacting their representative and say, ‘we want 6 day mail delivery.”