March 18 marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most momentous events in postal history — the postal strike of 1970. The night before, postal workers in New York voted 1,555 to 1,055 to go out on strike in protest of a House committee vote to limit their wage increase that year to 5.4 percent on the heels of a 41 percent increase in Congress’s own pay. The wildcat strike and picketing were effective in shutting down postal operations in New York and quickly spread to about 30 other cities. Within days about 152,000 workers in 671 locations were on strike.
No pain no gain. The U.S. Postal Service has reduced spending over the past decade but it has come with a downside, notably a reduction in service. Over the past decade the Postal Service has reduced labor costs by $10 billion, improved productivity, and generally reined in spending.