This post was guest authored by Joseph Miller.
Take on Wall Street joins allies at the American Postal Workers Union in demanding federal action to save the public post office. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, declining volumes have created a revenue shortfall that puts the critical public good in danger of closing its doors by end of the year. The normally self-funded USPS is in need of an immediate $25 billion grant, and ongoing support to meet the deficit between revenue and expense incurred by Coronavirus’s acute impact on mail volumes.
This week, Take on Wall Street stood in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of union workers and millions of Black, white, and brown Americans who would suffer from large scale cuts or privatization of the Postal Service. At a rally in Washington, DC, we marched with APWU as they delivered 2 MILLION petition signatures in support of federal action to #SaveThePostOffice. To put that number in context, that’s more people than live in Miami, Boston, and San Francisco combined.
The USPS delivers 48% of the world’s mail volume, and reaches over 160 million homes and businesses. Millions of Americans, located in over 42,000 different zip codes, depend on the Post Office to vote, receive life-saving medicine, run their small business, or stay connected with loved ones. Not only that, but the Postal Service employs over half a million career employees and has historically been a source of stable, middle income employment for Black folks across the country. Analysis from the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that cutbacks to the Postal Service would disproportionately hurt Black workers, who make up 26% of Postal Service employees (compared to an 11% workforce share in the private sector).
Pew Research finds that the Postal Service enjoys overwhelming support among the American public with a whopping 91% approval rating, making it the most popular federal agency by a considerable margin. Not only do Americans approve, but 94% say that the operations of the Postal Service are important to them and their families.
And the benefits of the Post Office could stretch even further, as a vehicle for providing a public banking option to millions of Americans across the country. In addition to the 8 million with no bank account at all, 1 in 4 Americans are underbanked and forced to rely on predatory lenders who target Black Indigenous and other communities of color for wealth extraction with almost surgical precision. Now is the time to expand the powers and capacity of the Post Office, not scale it back.
Because the Postal Service is a broadly popular, universal service that demonstrates the capacity for government to make positive change in people’s lives, it finds itself under partisan attack. Join us in standing with millions of workers and families in demanding federal action to save the post office. Go to apwu.org/call to join the call to action.