Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

The “Quiet Revolt” of USPS Workers

USPS workers are finding everyday ways to get the mail delivered in a timely way, despite attacks and austerity.

Maria Aurelio

September 30, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
PAUL SANCYA / AP

As Trump attacks mail-in ballots, the postal service is in the spotlight as never before. Over the summer, the U.S. Postal service was consistently attacked by its new head, Trump donor Louis DeJoy. The cost-cutting measures have meant slowdowns, but postal workers are fighting back.

As Washington Post reporter Jacob Bogage explains,

Mechanics in New York drew out the dismantling and removal of mail-sorting machines until their supervisor gave up on the order. In Michigan, a group of letter carriers did an end run around a supervisor’s directive to leave election mail behind, starting their routes late to sift through it. In Ohio, postal clerks culled prescriptions and benefit checks from bins of stalled mail to make sure they were delivered, while some carriers ran late items out on their own time. In Pennsylvania, some postal workers looked for any excuse — a missed turn, heavy traffic, a rowdy dog — to buy enough time to finish their daily rounds.

In other words, postal workers are defying DeJoy and Trump. They are unsung heroes who are helping mail arrive in our mailboxes.

“I can’t see any postal worker not bending those rules,” one Philadelphia worker said in an interview.

Bogage calls this a “quiet revolt.”

The Post Office has been experiencing an unprecedented attack under the leadership of Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Trump declined to give the USPS emergency funds to deal with the slew of mail in ballots while bailing out airlines and other private companies. Over the summer, there were countless images of blue collection boxes being picked up and taken away. As DeJoy worked to implement “cost cutting” measures, Trump worked to sow suspicion about the post office. This included stricter dispatch schedules on transport trucks that prohibited late and extra trips, which would force workers to leave mail behind. These cost-cutting measures resulted in mail slowdowns around the country.Yet postal workers around the country, without coordination, have been fighting back using “insubordination to small acts of neighborly heroism,” as Bogage puts it. 

As we watch Trump attack mail-in ballots in an attempt to sow confusion and steal the election, postal workers and the post office are caught in the crossfire. One postal worker said, “It’s disheartening to hear that people think we’re going to fail. We handle this kind of volume all the time. But if they do these things with delivery times and we get high volume around holiday season and the election, it will fail.” He went on to say, “There’s a point where I got angry. I’m not happy at all that I’m being politicized. I’m literally trying to do my job, and they’re telling me that I can’t.”

Further, as the economic crisis deepens, it is likely that cuts to public services like the post office will be part of both Biden’s and Trump’s plans. DeJoy has already said that people should expect “dramatic” changes after the November election, including cutting service and price increases. One should not believe that the post office will be safe under Biden. In fact, the Obama administration notoriously implemented various public sector cuts throughout his administration, including seeking USPS funding cuts. In fact, in the last five years of the Obama administration collection boxes declined by more than 12,000. The USPS has long been at the receiving end of austerity cuts — with a huge pressure to privatize the service for years now.

It is clear who will lose: the USPS workers — the heroes who are defying Trump to make sure that we get essential mail. The heroes who made sure we got essentials during the pandemic. And it’s the working class, and especially rural communities and communities of color, who will have the most cut and the most to lose. These are the folks who rely on the post office the most for things like lifesaving medications that simply cannot be late. This is why we should fight both the Democrats and Republicans to fully fund the postal service.

The politicians of both parties have shown they don’t care about postal workers or the population. The postal workers are demonstrating that they are on the front lines of defending our democratic right to vote. They are on the front lines of fighting Trump and DeJoy. They point the way forward, demonstrating that they know how to best run the post office, and so the post office should be under democratic workers’ control.

The fight against Trump and the rise of the right are being indicated by these postal workers: the working class runs all of society. We are the only ones we can trust to fight back against Trump’s right-wing policies and undemocratic measures.

Solidarity with the postal workers.

Facebook Twitter Share

United States

Police office crouches behind a riot shield which reads "Shelby Township Police"

BLM Leader In Court to Challenge Racist and Retaliatory Charges

A Detroit leader of the Black Lives Matter movement is set to appear in court to challenge racist and retaliatory felony charges for marching to demand the firing of a Chief of Police who called BLM protestors “subhuman” and said they belonged in “body bags”.

Somali troops stand in formation during a graduation ceremony after being trained by U.S. forces in Mogadishu on Aug. 17, 2018.

Biden Is Expanding U.S. Military Intervention in Somalia

President Biden recently approved an order to send hundreds of troops to Somalia. This move serves the interests of U.S. imperialism by taking advantage of the very political instability it helped create.

Sam Carliner

May 20, 2022
Semi-empty store shelf with a few cans of baby formula.

The Baby Formula Shortage Is a Capitalist Crisis of Social Reproduction

The baby formula shortage is a consequence of capitalism and a crisis of social reproduction. Formula should not be commodified and sold — it should be free and a basic right for all parents.

In the Latest Primaries, the Battle within the Parties Continues

Tuesday's primaries delivered wins to Trump endorsed candidates and some progressives, signaling that the fight for the parties is far from over.

Ezra Brain

May 18, 2022

MOST RECENT

People protest in support of the unionizing efforts of the Alabama Amazon workers, in Los Angeles, California, March 22, 2021.

Amazon Won’t Stop Union Busting and Firing Organizers

Amazon hasn't recognized the Amazon Labor Union and, like Starbucks, is continuing to union bust and fire organizers.

Luigi Morris

May 20, 2022
A protester waves a sign that read "unionize" near the Country Club Plaza Starbucks store where dozens of Starbucks employees and union supporters protested alleged anti-union tactics by the company Thursday, March 3, 2022.

El Paso Starbucks Workers Are Organizing in the Face of Relentless Union Busting

Starbucks’s preemptive union-busting tactics in El Paso, Texas, have backfired and inspired workers at the Fountains to unionize.

Paul Ginestá

May 20, 2022
SEIU local 721 members at a rally wearing purple and holding signs for fair wage increases.

SEIU 721, Vote No! A Better Contract Is Possible

Union leaders of SEIU 721 have reached a deal with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. But there are big problems with the proposed agreement, and the rank and file should vote against it.

Left Voice

May 20, 2022
Starbucks baristas at the 7700 Maple St. Starbucks

Starbucks Fires Worker and Union Organizer in New Orleans

Left Voice interviewed Billie Nyx, a Starbucks worker and union activist fired at the store located on Maple Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Left Voice

May 20, 2022