Thousands of APWU members, led by union president William Burrus and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, marched through the streets of downtown Detroit on Tuesday afternoon to Save Saturday Service and rally for good jobs.
Wearing blue APWU T-shirts and chanting “Five Day – No Way!” delegates shut down busy streets and assembled in Campus Martius Park to alert the public to the need to stop USPS plans to abolish Saturday mail delivery.
“Everywhere we go, the Postal Service is closing and consolidating post offices,” Rev. Jackson told the cheering crowd. “We are postal workers fighting back. It’s time to save our jobs and Save Our Service!”
Burrus said that members must “tell America that we’re not fooled” by the USPS plan to close the mailbox on Saturday, and we must let the public know that they shouldn’t be fooled either.
Christopher Ulmer, president of the Detroit District Area Local, said that the rally was crucial to make the public more aware of the dangers of the Postal Service’s proposal.
The demonstration showed that the APWU was a “force to be reckoned with,” Ulmer said.
Members of other labor unions pledged support for the fight.
“Over 200,000 working members of the Detroit AFL-CIO stand with you,” said Saundra Williams, president of the Metro Detroit Central Labor Council. “We will defeat this crazy notion of five-day delivery. We will not support diminishing services.”
Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan State AFL-CIO asked rally participants: “You wanna know who’s on your side? Everyone with a mailbox.”
Albert Alson, Jr. of the Greater Connecticut Area Local said the public needs to know about the detrimental effects of the USPS proposal.
“The Postal Service needs to keep six-day delivery,” Alston said. “We provide a good service.”
Linda Peabody and Gail Ganiszewski, members of the Tri-County (PA) Area Local, said they hoped the rally motivated the people of Detroit to support the union’s efforts.
“This city especially needs to see people working together, and here we are, thousands of people together, fighting for jobs,” Ganiszewski said.