Labor group encourages 200,000 members to help get Democratic candidate elected.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., scored a major endorsement Thursday, with one of the U.S. Postal Service unions throwing its support behind the Democratic presidential candidate.
The American Postal Workers Union’s National Executive Board voted on the endorsement, rallying behind Sanders’ call for a “political revolution,” according to the group’s President Mark Dimondstein. Sanders, a longtime supporter of the Postal Service and its workers, recently spoke at APWU’s annual conference to promise to fight against further cuts to the mailing agency.
As a senator, Sanders has proven to be a thorn in the side of other lawmakers looking to assuage the various parochial interests of postal management, unions and customers. He has introduced legislation that won the support of unions like APWU by preserving delivery standards and reversing the closure of mail processing plants. The bill also attempted to grow revenue by expanding business opportunities at the agency.
“We should judge candidates not by their political party, not by what they say, not by what we think they stand for, but by what they do,” Dimondstein said. "Applying that criterion, Sen. Bernie Sanders stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country.”
This year, Sanders led a coalition of 85 senators in a symbolic vote voicing support for restoring delivery standards that the Postal Service had cut to enable more plant closures. He has also played a key role in blocking President Obama’s nominees to serve on the USPS board of governors over concerns they plan to further degrade postal services.
“He doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk,” Dimondstein added. “He is a leader in the fight to protect the public Postal Service.”
Sanders is a vocal advocate of postal banking, which he said would provide financial services to Americans underserved by banks as well as a new revenue stream for the Postal Service. He has also promoted USPS’ role as a job provider.
The Postal Service “supports millions of jobs in virtually every sector of our economy,” Sanders told APWU members last month. “It provides decent-paying union jobs to some 500,000 Americans, and it is the largest employer of veterans.”
The union said Sanders earned its endorsement not just because of his support of the Postal Service, but due to his record of standing with unions, raising the minimum wage and other trademarks of his progressive platform. APWU’s executive board encouraged the union’s 200,000 members to participate in Sanders rallies and help get the candidate elected.
While no other presidential candidate has discussed postal issues nearly as much as Sanders, Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, has touted throughout his campaign his father’s employment as a letter carrier. On Sanders’ motion to reverse Postal Service plant closures earlier this year, presidential candidates and Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., were among the 11 lawmakers opposed. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., voted in favor of Sanders’ resolution, while Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, did not vote.
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