Today in Labor History: March 18
The Post Office’s first mass work stoppage in 195 years begins in Brooklyn and Manhattan and spreads to 210,000 of the nation’s 750,000 postal employees. Mail service is virtually paralyzed in several cities, and President Nixon declares a state of emergency. A settlement comes after two weeks – 1970
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Member Tip: Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the existence of rights on a page somewhere means that you’ll always be able to count on those protections. Rights that aren’t exercised can in fact disappear over time; you can lose what you don’t protect. So you need to know where your rights come from, and how to use your union to protect them. In practical terms, this means that when your employer breaks the rules, you need to make sure that your union steward knows about it. A steward’s job is to be the “eyes and ears” of the union, but a steward can’t be everywhere at once, and that’s why individual members have the responsibility to alert the steward if they see a problem. That way, the union/employer structures that are in place can be used to prevent changes for the worse in the day-to-day conditions of the workplace.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer