THE 1970 POSTAL STRIKETANIKA WILSONGEORGIA PIEDMONT TECHNICAL COLLEGE THE 1970 POSTAL STRIKE Seeingthat I already work for the United States Postal Service I decided to brush upand learn about my company’s history. Starting with the management history of theUnited States Postal Service to say the least its horrible and sadly not muchhas changed.
From an interview at that time an employee stated that managementwas outdated. Every article I read had nothing about getting any support frommanagement or even management as well. The strike started in New York City and theirworking conditions were health hazardous.
An employee described it to be “dungeons,” dirty, stifling, toohot in summer, and too cold in winter. Duringthe strike the union members were right along side with everyone else strikingas well. Things had gotten so bad the president during that time which was Nixonhad done a televised command telling the postal workers to return back to work.Unfortunately, it didn’t work so even the union leaders tried pleading with thepostal workers to return as well and still no budge. From the looks of it theunion leaders were either not on the side of the postal workers or was just infear and respecting their president’s command. Therewas always constant complain their low wage which by the was the amount of $6,200to start, and workers with 21 years of service averaged only $8,440. As well asthe obvious poor working conditions that were unsafe and unhealthy. From 1967to 1969 the postal workers were not granted a pay increase but the Congressgiven itself a 41% increase and that seems to be the action started happening.
On March 17, 1970, in New York City, membersof National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 36 met in Manhattanand voted to strike. Picketing began just after midnight, on March 18. A lot ofpeople didn’t know this including myself but the Post Office was home to manyAfrican Americans and the Civil Rights movement was a huge contributor to The1970 Postal Strike.
Word got out about the postal strike that was happening inNew York City and other postal location from other states joined in becausethey all shared the same issues on the job. The amount of postal workers who werestrike rised to reach more than 210,000 and it reached crossed the nation. Asstated before president Nixon got on television and commanded that the postalworkers return back to work and his wishes we ignored and the workers grew angry. The strikeshut down New York’s financial industry, kept 9,000 youths from receiving draftnotices, delayed the mailing of census forms and tax refunds, and it interruptedcommunication around the world. Injunctions and heavy fines were levied onunion leaders; but the membership paid no attention.
Even though it is illegalfor United States Postal Service to strike the union had no control. Thepresident then decided he would have 24,000 military personnel forces (Army,National Guard, Army Reserve, Air National Guard and Navy, Air Force, andMarine Corps Reserve) deliver the mail this ended up being veryunsuccessful attempt. Finally, the strike was bought to the end after two weekby the negoation of the Secatary of Labor William Usery. The postal workersagreed to 6% increase and was even granted retroactive pay of that withaddition of 8 percent contingent on enactment of the Postal Reorganization Act.All the articlesI read mentioned the postal workers being granted the pay increase but no talkabout the better benefits or better working conditions.
My opinion I would sayits was a lost I would had held out longer on the strike seeing that the jobthey have is a greatly needed one because no one else delivers mail.Postal workershave in their contracts that they will not strike but there has been a differentkind. In 2012 ten currently working and retired postal workers started a hungerstrike to consolidation and closings of postal plants because that would mean28,000 postal workers would be out of a job. The reason for the job consolidationsand closings was because the post office lost $3.2 billion in the first quarterof 2012 and has since been looking at cost cutting measures such as layoffs,staff buyouts and closings.