Friday, September 16, 2011

With Post Offices Closing, Does It Mean More Unemployment for Black Postal Workers

It's painful to watch the U.S. Postal Service announce almost 3,700 proposed post office closures nationwide, including 34 in New York City. This pain is intensified knowing that Congress is currently considering cutbacks in delivery to five days.

After the Civil War, African-Americans were first allowed entry into the postal workforce. By 1970, blacks, making up one-fifth of the postal workforce, were twice as likely to work at the post office as whites. Today, thanks in large part to union activism in the post office, in which African-Americans played a prominent part, the doors have been further opened for women and for other minority-group members.
But how long will those jobs be there? When the post office doors shut, where will military veterans (a majority of postal workers as recently as the 1980s) find work?

Recently, the Pew Research Center reported that decades of gains in wealth in the African-American and Hispanic communities have been lost. Wealth is what your family has when you divide your assets by your debts; it's what you pass along to your children. If we're already moving in the wrong direction, mass USPS job losses would only accelerate the trend.

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