In a recent presentation before the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, Postmaster General (PMG) Louis DeJoy outlined his views of the future direction of the United States Postal Service.
One remark from the Postmaster General during a discussion following his prepared speech created headlines that deeply concern postal workers and the American Postal Workers Union. The PMG said that, through attrition and retirements, the USPS “may need to get 50,000 people out of the organization” in the next 10 years to “break even.”
Let me be perfectly clear with our members: Prior to the PMG’s remarks, postal management had never discussed any such proposals or plans on the future size of the postal workforce or of the APWU bargaining unit. In fact, over the last two years the APWU and postal management have reached a number of settlements that increased much-needed staffing in Function 1 mail processing, creating 10,000 new clerk craft jobs. We are currently pressing management to agree to increase staffing in Function 4 Retail. We also reached a number of agreements, including in the recently ratified contract, resulting in tens of thousands of PSEs being converted to career positions. These are welcome developments and a testament to the powerful campaigns our union has led to demand management invest in the staffing and retention policies necessary to ensure we provide the quality service the public deserves.
I’ve spoken with the PMG since his remarks and made clear to him our position: without postal workers, there is no USPS. We make it work and we’re committed to fulfilling our mission of providing essential service to the country. The best way to get the Postal Service back to break even is to focus on improving service quality, expanding and enhancing service, and growing the Postal Service’s role in a fast-changing economy – including growing with long-needed staffing.
If it’s management’s intent to weaken our union, attack our pay and conditions or eliminate family-sustaining union postal jobs, the PMG will get a strong fight from the APWU. But let’s also be clear about one thing – we don’t bargain with newspaper headlines.
When PMG DeJoy was hired, we made clear that our union would judge the PMG based on his actions. When he degraded service in the summer of 2020, we opposed his actions and led the fight back which forced management to abandon the worst of those policy changes.
When PMG DeJoy introduced management’s 10-year “Delivering For America” plan, I called it “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” There were elements of the plan we supported, like efforts to grow the USPS’s market share in the booming e-commerce business, advocating for six-day delivery and for a better path to career jobs for our non-career members. And we vowed to use every resource of our union to fight elements of the plan we opposed, like cuts to service standards and retail hours of operation.
We will oppose future job reductions that affect the lives of the postal workers we represent, good living wage union jobs for future generations and diminishes the good service the people deserve. Rest assured that any such management actions will be met with unbridled opposition of the APWU – the same kind of fightback, allied with the labor movement and the people of our country, that won the “Stop Staples” campaign, defeated the privatization plans of the White House in 2018 and compelled the USPS to do right in relation to vote by mail during the 2020 election.