Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a Jan. 26 campaign rally in Iowa.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a Jan. 26 campaign rally in Iowa. John Locher / AP

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Postal Workers Union Endorses Bernie Sanders

Labor group calls Sanders a champion of USPS employees who will fight to preserve the mailing agency.

The second-largest union of U.S. Postal Service employees endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president on Thursday, calling him a “true champion” of the mailing agency and its workforce. 

The American Postal Workers Union threw its support behind Sanders for the second consecutive presidential cycle, endorsing the senator in late 2015 just weeks after he addressed the union’s national convention. The APWU executive board met with top candidates, except those “who oppose the public Postal Service”—a reference to President Trump’s government reorganization plan in which he floated the idea of privatizing the agency. 

APWU President Mark Dimondstein said his nearly 200,000 members hold a diversity of views, but remaining silent when the Trump administration has threatened to sell off the Postal Service “would be a failure of our leadership.” 

“Bernie Sanders has proven he is a fierce advocate on the side of postal workers,” Dimonstein said. “He has opposed the closures of postal facilities and reduced service standards.” 

The union leader noted several candidates have voiced pro-labor and USPS views, but Sanders has followed through by pushing for banking services at the Postal Service and held up nominees to the agency’s board of governors he views as too friendly to private interests.   

Sanders said on Thursday he was “so honored” to receive APWU’s endorsement. 

“When we defeat Donald Trump, we're not going to privatize and cut the Postal Service,” the senator said in a tweet. “We're going to expand and strengthen the Postal Service.”

At the APWU convention in 2015, Sanders spoke of his desire to preserve postal delivery standards and eliminate the agency’s requirement to prefund future retirees’ health benefits. The senator praised the Postal Service’s ability to deliver mail to any customer, “whether you are a low-income elderly woman living at the end of a dirt road in Nevada or Vermont or a wealthy CEO living on Park Avenue.” 

“The beauty of the Postal Service is that it provides universal service six days a week to every corner of America, no matter how small or how remote,” Sanders said. “It supports millions of jobs in virtually every sector of our economy. It provides decent-paying union jobs to some 500,000 Americans, and it is the largest employer of veterans.”

Sanders has previously introduced legislation to completely repeal the prefunding requirement and preserve six-day delivery standards. It also would have reinstated overnight delivery, which would in turn have protected processing plants from closures. The bill also attempted to grow revenue by expanding business opportunities at the agency.

Other federal employee unions last cycle primarily opted to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. APWU is the first major federal labor group to endorse a candidate for the 2020 race.