By Eden Iscil, Public Policy Associate
Workers across America are taking action to hold employers accountable for low pay and poor working conditions. In what’s being called “Striketober,” 10,000 John Deere employees, 14,000 Kellogg’s workers, and 24,000 Kaiser Permanente staff have gone on strike. Additionally, 60,000 film and television workers belonging to IATSE threatened to withhold their labor, resulting in a deal for more favorable contracts. At NCL, we support workers advocating for better conditions and compensation.
While it is generating fewer headlines, the actions of US Postal Service employees are just as important for consumer and worker welfare. Recent postal worker employee protests in Minneapolis highlight the indispensable public service these workers provide to millions of Americans daily. Those protests were prompted by a visit from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who is infamous for his 2020 attempt to degrade mail services at the same time that COVID-19 necessitated mail-in voting for millions of Americans. Importantly, DeJoy has come under renewed scrutiny for his 10-year plan, which would lead to significantly delayed mail deliveries.
Given the importance of delivering mail promptly, we urge Congress and the Biden Administration to take a more active role in preventing Postmaster General DeJoy’s continued attacks on the Postal Service. Millions of Americans rely on the Postal Service for delivery of life-saving medication, receipt of their veterans and Social Security checks, and other important mail. Unfortunately, the impacts of DeJoy’s 10-year plan are likely to disproportionately affect rural communities and older Americans.
We know such policies are harmful to everyday Americans from the many times they were previously attempted. Following DeJoy’s plans for a mail slowdown in 2020, veterans were forced to find alternative access to their medications and 350 million pieces of mail were delayed. We need to challenge such regressive policies that are implemented at an enormous cost to consumers.
The threat that DeJoy’s recommendations pose to efficient U.S. mail delivery has been known since the summer of 2020. Congress and the Administration must act to get USPS back on the right track.