Labor Struggle in the Post Office: From Selective Lobbying to Collective Bargaining

By John Walsh; Garth Mangum | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
THE FUTURE

The APWU's third decade coincides with the last ten years of the twentieth century, a ten-year period that, according to many prognosticators, will see the continued weakening of labor unions as a powerful force in the nation's economy. Commenting on the bitter 1990 New York Daily News strike, Leo Troy, Professor of Economics at Rutgers University, said: "The recent past for private sector unions in New York was bad. But the future will certainly be worse. By some time in the next century, the private sector unions that once ruled the city will be extinct."1 According to Michael Specter, "that refrain has been repeated in working-class cities nationwide as manufacturing jobs fled such highly organized, expensive, and inflexible northern urban centers as Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Chicago, and headed to the South or to other countries where labor is cheap."2

It is significant that the major support for the Daily News strikers came from public sector unions. Over 10,000 municipal and postal workers joined the strikers in a November 1990 rally outside the Daily News headquarters. Other than the building trades and communication workers, the public sector labor organizations were the only unions left in the city with large memberships and a certain amount of political clout. If, as Professor Troy predicts, private sector unions will become extinct in the next century, what about public sector unions? Are they, too, destined for extinction? Many of the issues underlying the 1990 negotiations between the USPS and the postal unions were indirectly concerned with that question--issues regarding the contracting out of technological innovations, changes in the work rules to allow an increase in part-time help and corresponding decrease in regular full-time employees, and policy regarding privatization of the 215-year-old

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Labor Struggle in the Post Office: From Selective Lobbying to Collective Bargaining
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Photo Credits x
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Part I- The Strike That Shook the Nation 1
  • Chapter 1- Thunder Before the Storm 3
  • Chapter 2- The Storm 13
  • Part II- The Long, Hard Haul 41
  • Chapter 4- The Struggle 43
  • Chapter 5- From Repression to Cooperation 71
  • Part III- The Era of Collective Bargaining 95
  • Chapter 6- The First Decade 97
  • Chapter 7- Enter Moe Biller 141
  • Chapter 8- The Regime Settles In 187
  • Chapter 9- The Future 233
  • Notes 247
  • Subject Index 265
  • Appendix 269
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