Letter To a Future Postie

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Thursday June 30 2016

The year is 2036 and you’re reading this because right now, you’re thinking about what it means to call yourself a postal worker. You’re wondering if it’s really worth it to put your body and your future on the line. That’s what your union is asking you to do.

It’s already a tough job and it’s tougher to have to keep fighting the boss. The lousy, divisive offer they just handed the union seems tempting, if only to buy yourself a little temporary peace. To make one big stress in a truckload of stressors Just. Go. Away. But the truth is there are only two rules in the labour movement:

Rule #1: You don’t get anything unless you fight for it. 

Rule #2:  You don’t get to keep anything unless you keep fighting.

In 2016, we faced the same call you did. And we made the same decision you’re probably going to make. Because postal workers did it for us in the long years before we came along. Like us, they chose to keep on fighting for a better deal, even if it meant some temporary hardship. Our predecessors stuck together to make our jobs the kind of jobs we enjoy today.

When postal workers struggled in 1918, we won a 44-hour week and overtime pay, among other things.

When postal workers struggled in 1965, we established the right to strike and an enquiry into our working conditions, among other things. We also started fighting for equality for part-timers.

In 1970, 1974 and 1975, we gained protections against the adverse effects of technology and equal pay for coders.

In 1980 and 1981, we got paid lunch periods, health and safety improvements and paid maternity leave, among other things.

In 1987, 1988 and 1991, we fought scabs and concessions, not for the last time! We fought against the closure and privatization of rural post offices and services.

In 1995, we won a union-administered child care fund. Maybe you’ve used it. It’s a precious resource for our members, including those with children with special needs.

In 2004, our rural and suburban Sisters and Brothers joined us. It was an uphill struggle for equality, but we eventually achieved it, long before you picked up this letter!

In 2011 and 2016, we fought to keep decent pensions and a secure retirement, like the kind you still have to look forward to. We fought against more concessions, and yet more, from greedy bosses who couldn’t be satisfied with only millions in profits.

And in 2016, we refused to pass the burden along to future generations to try to get back what we gave up.

 

Had we not stayed strong, you, dear Postie, would be earning significantly less. Your work might have been ground down by endless rollbacks to unsafe, back-breaking, soul-destroying, minimum-wage drudgery. But because we fought for you, you’ve still got the type of job everybody deserves: a job that allows you to save a bit, spend a bit, and support a family.

Maybe you’re a rural and suburban mail carrier, finally earning the equal wages and benefits she deserves. Or your job is in postal banking, or maybe you’re providing one of the other great services that we campaigned for and that the people you serve truly appreciate. 

But above all, you’re a postal worker from a long line of posties and you know that every struggle matters to those who come after you. So stay strong and proud. Posties in 2056 will be thanking you.

The Struggle Continues!