Letter: God bless America
I was a vet serving four years in the Marines and proud of my service. I went to work at the U.S. Post Office a few years after I was discharged, as many vets have since. It was funded by the general tax funds back then and the postmaster general was a member of the president’s Cabinet.
Working in the South, postal pay was not much, but better than anything else at that time. Insurance, federal retirement was something most other jobs couldn’t provide. My service time was supposed to also count on my years of federal employment. The postal workers in other areas, however, weren’t faring as well. In New York they actually qualified for welfare if they had three children. Pay was less than the garbage workers in the city.
The workers met and they all walked out and that was a federal crime but they didn’t care. Neither did the carriers in other big offices throughout America and soon there was a nationwide postal strike. The National Guard was called in but had no idea how or what to do and the mail kept piling up. In less than a week, President Nixon held a historical meeting in his Oval office at the White House. It consisted of worker representatives and postal managers. When they came out of that office, the U.S. Postal Service was created. They remained federal employees, allowed to unionize and bargain for rights and wages.
Within five years, the new Postal Service would no longer be funded by the general taxes and would become self-sufficient based on the income for services rendered, same as private businesses. Immunity was granted to all who went out on strike and a Board of Governors was appointed by the president to run the Postal Service.
This year, a post office in Manhattan was named after the heroic individual who forced and led the historical postal strike, Vincent R. Sombrotto, someone I am proud to have called my friend.
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