On the picket line

Unions unite to defend public postal service

The four unions that together provide the service in the U.S. Postal Service formed a historic alliance on March 11. They vowed to stand together to fight right-wing attacks on the USPS. According to the proclamation announcing the alliance, a congressionally manufactured financial crisis threatens six-day delivery, reduction of service standards, elimination of half of the country’s mail processing centers, cuts to tens of thousands of good jobs, and closure of or cutbacks in hundreds of post offices. The goal is privatization of the USPS’ annual revenue of $65 billion.

To ensure the USPS remains public and continues to provide good union jobs in all communities, the four unions agreed to work together to implement ten points, including maintaining six-day and home delivery and full-service public post offices in every community; expanding postal services to include basic banking, notary and check-cashing; ending corporate welfare with pre-sort discounts; and forming a common front in the fight for genuine postal reform laws, joint actions and a united voice. The alliance was signed by National Association of Letter Carriers President Rolando Fredric, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein, National Postal Mail Handlers Union President John Hegarty and National Rural Letter Carriers Association President Jeanette Dwyer. For the full proclamation, visit nalc.org.

McDonald’s workers file wage theft suits in three states

McDonald’s workers in Michigan, California and New York filed lawsuits the week of March 10 against the company and franchise owners, asserting they underpaid workers by erasing hours from their timecards and ordering them to work off the clock. Other abuses were itemized in seven separate suits; one included 100 restaurants in California owned and operated by McDonald’s. For instance, in Michigan workers were told to show up for work at a certain time, but had to wait for an hour or two without pay until more customers arrived. Besides not paying workers in California for all hours worked, employees were denied required meal and rest breaks. In New York, workers had to pay to clean their uniforms, driving wages below the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

As Sharnell Grandberry in Detroit told the March 14 New York Times: “It is time for McDonald’s to stop skirting the law to pad profits. We need to be paid for the hours we work.” Like other fast-food workers, those at McDonald’s are demanding a raise from poverty wages to at least $15 an hour. To pressure McDonald’s to pay workers a fair wage, sign the petition at lowpayisnotok.org. If you have not been paid the proper wage, sign the petition at robbedonthejob.org.