Today in labor history: National Association of Letter Carriers founded

With sixty carriers attending from eighteen states, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) was founded in a meeting hall above Schaefer’s saloon in Milwaukee, on August 29, 1889. The next day, the convention elected officers and adopted a number of resolutions. The fledgling organization espoused four objectives: fraternity, fidelity, benevolence and unity.

The Green Book

As part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, NALC hosted a reception with author and playwright Calvin A. Ramsey on the history and importance of the Green Book. The creation of letter carrier Victor H. Green (1892-1960), the Green Book was a travel guide of hotels and restaurants that would accept African-American travelers during the era of Jim Crow. Ramsey is author of the children’s title “Ruth and the Green Book.” The review from School Library Journal said: “This is an important addition to picture book collections, useful as a discussion-starter on Civil Rights or as a stand-alone story.”

Precious Packages-America’s Parcel Post Service

An exhibit at the National Postal Museum, a Smithsonian Institution museum, is located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Parcel Post Service became available to Americans on January 1, 1913. The growth of Parcel Post service was phenomenal. During the first six months of operation approximately 300 million parcels were handled. At least two children were sent by parcel post – with stamps attached to their clothing – and delivered to their destinations. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail!

Postal Reform

One of four postal worker unions*, the letter carriers too are fighting to save the USPS from several bad “reform” proposals. They are rallying to maintain six-day delivery. Their contribution to the communities they serve is typified by their tremendously successful – and important-annual food drive.

Photo: U.S. Postal Service letter carrier of 19 years, Michael McDonald, gathers mail to load into his truck before making his delivery run in the East Atlanta neighborhood, Feb. 7, in Atlanta. David Goldman/AP

 *Four postal worker unions: APWU, NALC, NPMHU, NRLCA.





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