Union Label & Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO 202-508-3700 unionlabel@unionlabel.org
Walk in My Shoes Amanda Greer, Letter Carrier NALC Branch 28, St. Paul, Minnesota

Walk in My Shoes Amanda Greer, Letter Carrier NALC Branch 28, St. Paul, Minnesota

I am a 20-year veteran letter carrier in St. Paul, Minnesota. I joined the union immediately when I started with the U.S. Postal Service, not because I knew a lot about the National Association of Letter Carriers, but because I grew up in a union household. I knew if you have a union at your workplace, you join.

I became really involved in the union around 2006, when my Branch at the time in Minneapolis had their steward step down. A good friend of mine came to me and asked if I would like to become a steward. I was already fighting for women’s rights in the workplace, so this gave me an opportunity to get more involved. I started attending meetings and regional trainings and I am now the Recording Financial Secretary at Branch 28, as well as an alternate steward for my station and a regional Minnesota state organizer. I also helped NALC and USPS on a new vehicle project. I had the opportunity to travel and give feedback on different designs.

I love my job as a letter carrier. I get to spend time outside and see people every day. But this work takes a toll on your body. I have worked both a walking route and a vehicle route and they both have their pros and cons. You are twisting and turning your body and as you age, the work gets harder. A few years back, I was diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis which made it difficult for me to work. Because of this I had a hard time being on my feet all day. Because of my benefits, I was able to visit a doctor and eventually I was given a guaranteed modified schedule. If it weren’t for my union, I would not have been able to continue to work in a job that I love.

A lot of people think the USPS is unnecessary, but my route tells me differently. I visit a lot of businesses daily. They are still sending and receiving a lot of mail. The USPS is vital to our nation. And my union is fighting every day to ensure our citizens continue to have this vital service. ■

First Amendment is Vitally Important to the Labor Movement

Assaults on the First Amendment continue as Republicans tried again unsuccessfully to pass Marco Rubio’s Combating BDS Act, a measure designed to protect Israel. Unfortunately, an act that criminalizes boycotts in one sphere may lead to criminalization of other boycotts and protests.

Reactionaries in state legislatures have enacted similar legislation to Rubio’s proposal. Legal restrictions on protests and demonstrations are becoming more common. Although frequently aimed at environmentalists, these restrictive laws can be expanded to include other protests including labor protests.

Attacks on Labor’s right to protest are a matter of record. The history of the Labor Movement is rife with accounts of legalized repression by reactionary politicians and their backers. If the First Amendment is infringed upon proponents of one cause, what guarantees its sanctity when infringed upon by another interest?

In Los Angeles, 30,000 teachers were striking for a reduction in class sizes, improvements in safety, accountability of charter schools and increases in wages and benefits commensurate with the skyrocketing cost of living in Los Angeles. LA’s striking teachers used their rights guaranteed by the first Amendment. Protecting those rights is a vital concern for the Labor Movement.

The boycott, the strike, the informational picket, leafletting and other actions and communications are the mainstays of protest and social progress. The First Amendment enshrines these activities as basic rights. They must be protected. Any doubt about the need to protect these rights disappears upon reading this Label Letter, numerous workers express their fear of retaliation for expressing workplace dissatisfaction.

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