Subscribe to the Belabored RSS feed here. Support the podcast on Patreon. Subscribe and rate on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. Tweet at @DissentMag with #Belabored to share your thoughts, or join the conversation on Facebook. Check out the full archive here. Belabored is produced by Colin Kinniburgh.
The United States Postal Service seems to be in a chronic state of crisis. But for the past few weeks it’s been at the center of a new political firestorm, as public fear rises over potential disruptions to mail-in voting in the lead-up to the election. Trump’s newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has been working to overhaul the postal service in the name of “efficiency,” and many fear that he is fulfilling a longstanding conservative goal of destroying and ultimately privatizing the postal service. While Trump falsely claims mail-in balloting will lead to widespread voter fraud, DeJoy provoked outrage with aggressive reforms at the agency, including the mysterious disappearance of mailboxes and mail sorting machines from many communities nationwide. Though DeJoy walked back his reform plans earlier this week, lawmakers and labor advocates are skeptical.
We talk to three postal workers in Washington, DC; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Portland, Oregon about what’s happening to our mail and the workers who handle it at this most beloved of federal agencies. In other news, we look at a fast food worker strike at Bojangles, a strike that almost happened at Detroit nursing homes, the reinstatement of graduate wildcat strikers at University of California Santa Cruz, and a British sandwich-maker’s sad sick pay policy.
We are now on Patreon! You can sign up to support us with a monthly contribution, at the level that best suits you.
Metro Detroit nursing home workers delay strike planned for Monday (Detroit Free Press)
UC Santa Cruz Reinstates 41 Fired Grad Students (Inside Higher Ed)
Alex Fields, mail carrier in Knoxville, Tennessee
Arrion Brown, facilities maintenance technician in Washington, DC
Larry Guarnero, clerk in Portland, Oregon and steward for the American Postal Workers Union
USPS Suspends Changes After Outcry Over Delivery Slowdown (New York Times)
Michelle: Postal Workers Want Investment and Hazard Pay (Dissent)
Argh, I wish I’d written that!
Michelle: Shoshana Walter, American Rehab Chapter 8: Shadow Workforce, (Reveal)
Sarah: Barbara Madeloni, Educators Demand Virtual Schools as ‘Least Bad’ but Safe Option, (Labor Notes)