From the September-October 2020 issue of News & Letters
Chicago—Postal workers find themselves on the frontlines of three fronts: saving their jobs under attack from the United States Postal Service (USPS) under Trump’s lackey, Postmaster Louis DeJoy; saving the USPS from the sabotage of DeJoy and Trump, and saving the integrity of U.S. elections.
Shortly after Trump appointed DeJoy, he decreed work rule changes designed to obstruct mail delivery, including a no-overtime policy that would impede deliveries under normal conditions but, when historic numbers of workers are sidelined with COVID-19 during a pandemic, are intentionally designed to disrupt operations.
DELIBERATE SABOTAGE OF THE MAIL
These changes were publicly aired as customer complaints of letters, checks and medical supplies delivered late or not at all escalated. But it was postal workers in the American Postal Workers Union in Iowa, Pennsylvania and elsewhere who raised the alarm about high-speed sorting machines being removed from Post Office work floors.
When exposed, the USPS claimed a lower volume of letters during the pandemic as the pretext for plans to remove 671 machines nationwide. Each sorting machine removal reduced mail-handling capacity by 36,000 letters per hour.
WORKERS PROTECTING THEIR JOBS
Workers battling the removal of machines, including with picket lines and sit-ins, is an old labor tradition. Workers at Republic Windows and Doors in 2008 sat in to block the company’s attempt to clear the machines from its Chicago factory. Management tried to skip out on their legal obligations to give a 60-day notice of plant shutdown and pay workers what they were owed.
In recent years Chinese workers have fought management at hundreds of factories when machinery was being removed to be set up at lower-wage locations.
The difference at the USPS is that when the sorting machines were removed, they were scrapped. That will reduce the daily sorting capacity nationwide by three times the projected mail-in ballots due by Nov. 3, but most heavily from cities like New York and Los Angeles and cities in swing states like Houston, Philadelphia and even Pontiac, Mich.
LACKEY OF GRIFTER-IN-CHIEF
DeJoy’s interference with the Nov. 3 election for Trump’s benefit is only one of his motives. His Amazon stock options, which will be a bonanza if he drives down the USPS enough to sharply curtail Amazon’s ability to deliver the goods it sells, identify DeJoy as one more grifter from Trump on down.
Whole sections of corporate America will be hovering like vultures over the bones of the USPS if DeJoy and Trump succeed. Postal workers, by fighting for their own jobs and their future, are leading resistance to dismantling what is left of democratic elections.