Metro DC DSA stands in solidarity with the Nation’s Capital Southern Maryland Area Local American Postal Workers Union (NCSMAL-APWU), as they call for a day of solidarity today, March 19th, to honor the memory of the U.S. Postal Workers Strike of 1970.
The 1970 U.S. Postal Workers Strike remains the largest wildcat strike in United States history. Metro DC DSA looks back to this historic strike with APWU, today, in a time of increasing labor militancy in the public sector. West Virginia workers just earned an undisputable victory, winning 5% wage increases through collective, bottom-up, mass organizing. Public sector workers are preparing to take action in Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Today in metropolitan DC, Prince George’s County Public School teachers have organized a “sick-out” in response to a management pay scandal. The scale of the challenges we face as workers requires nothing short of the bravery that West Virginia teachers showed in 2018, and New York City letter carriers showed in 1970.
The challenges facing the hundreds of thousands of postal workers today are as dire as they faced during the 1970s. Overwork, wages not keeping up with cost of living, mass closure of facilities and layoffs. Added to that is the spectre of Amazon, a company that Metro DC DSA and the APWU know all too well. Much like how postal clerks and letter deliverers have been kept in the dark about what USPS management promised Amazon in their 2013 Negotiated Service Agreement, the residents of the DC area have been kept in the dark about promises to Amazon from the governments of DC, Virginia, and Maryland for Amazon’s second headquarters. As we celebrate the 1970 strike and try to channel that spirit into the struggles of today, Amazon provides a perfect case of for-profit companies sucking up public goods and money at the expense of public service workers and the larger communities they are in.
Metro DC DSA will stand with all postal workers as we commemorate 1970 and we look forward to giving our full support during their contract negotiations this year. We must not allow anyone, whether it is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos or Postmaster General Megan Brennan, to exploit working people and their communities.