Save 40% on UNC Press books during our American History SALE! See details.

Save 40% on UNC Press books during our American History SALE! See details.

Undelivered

From the Great Postal Strike of 1970 to the Manufactured Crisis of the U.S. Postal Service

By Philip F. Rubio

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 25 halftones, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5546-8
    Published: May 2020
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5545-1
    Published: May 2020
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5547-5
    Published: March 2020

Paperback Available May 2020, but pre-order your copy today!

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

For eight days in March 1970, over 200,000 postal workers staged an illegal "wildcat" strike--the largest in United States history--for better wages and working conditions. Picket lines started in New York and spread across the country like wildfire. Strikers defied court injunctions, threats of termination, and their own union leaders. In the negotiated aftermath, the U.S. Post Office became the U.S. Postal Service, and postal workers received full collective bargaining rights and wage increases, all the while continuing to fight for greater democracy within their unions.

Using archives, periodicals, and oral histories, Philip Rubio shows how this strike, born of frustration and rising expectations and emerging as part of a larger 1960s-1970s global rank-and-file labor upsurge, transformed the post office and postal unions. It also led to fifty years of clashes between postal unions and management over wages, speedup, privatization, automation, and service. Rubio revives the 1970 strike story and connects it to today's postal financial crisis that threatens the future of a vital 245-year-old public communications institution and its labor unions.

About the Author

Philip F. Rubio is professor of history at North Carolina A&T State University and the author of There’s Always Work at the Post Office: African American Postal Workers and the Fight for Jobs, Justice, and Equality.
For more information about Philip F. Rubio, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"A delight from start to finish and a vindication of the ability of old-style labor history--starting from workplaces, workers, and a strike--to address profoundly the histories of race, class, technology, and the state. Marking the jubilee of the successful, illegal strike of postal workers in 1970, the book offers a stirring account of that historic but little-recalled conflict. It is equally acute on the ways in which the workers’ power that the strike exemplified and expanded has struggled since to address a changed political economy of delivering letters and goods, attacks from the state, contrived crises, the decline of organized labor, and difficulties in sustaining rank-and-file boldness amid challenges that make it more necessary than ever."--David Roediger, author of How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon

"Philip Rubio tells the postal workers' story from their dramatic national strike of 1970 to their recent fight against privatization with passion. It's a narrative that no one interested in the recent history of U.S. workers and the labor movement can afford to neglect."--Joseph A. McCartin, author of Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America

"The 1970 postal strike is a landmark episode in U.S. labor history, and Rubio has written a thorough and fresh account of this overlooked dispute."--Timothy Minchin, author of Labor Under Fire: A History of the AFL-CIO Since 1979