Sep 22, 2003
On Wednesday, September 17, several hundred workers, called out by the American Postal Workers Union Detroit District Area Local, picketed loudly at the downtown post office in Detroit. The chant that pleased demonstrators most was, "Keep the postal service public – privatize Bush!" They were protesting the recommendations made by President Bush's hand-picked commission to "improve" the U.S. Postal Service.
These recommendations include: privatizing big chunks of the mail handling and transport by contracting them out to corporations; closing smaller, rural post offices; and appointing a three-person panel with power to cut postal workers' wages and benefits.
All this would be done – according to the commission – to make the Postal service better, by making it "more efficient." That's a lie. Private industry is not more efficient - it usually carries a thicker bureaucracy at the top, sucking up all the wealth they can get. In any case, its main purpose is to make profit – not to be more efficient.
That means cutting back on services, not making them better. And it means trying to take more from the workers doing the work.
In fact, overnight and two-day delivery service at the post office has already deteriorated, due to privatizations carried out earlier.
The commission's proposals are nothing more than a way to hand more money over to profit-making companies.
The Detroit postal workers are right to say "NO!" to this attack. They need more allies to stop it, but today there are potential allies everywhere – workers who also need to fight to defend themselves.