A Vital Reason to Protect the Postal Service From Privatization
Postal jobs have long been a road to the middle class for Black Americans. The Postal Service began employing Black workers shortly after the Civil War and became a major source of good, middle-class jobs for this share of the workforce in the early 20th century.
During the 1940s, civil rights advocacy, combined with wartime needs, created even more opportunities for Black postal workers. By the mid-1960s, their leadership had increased significantly, with the three biggest post offices in the country — New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles — all headed by Black postmasters. By the end of the 20th century, Black employees made up 21 percent of the U.S. postal workforce.
In 2022, Black workers made up 29.0 percent of the Postal Service workforce — more than double their 12.6 percent share of the total U.S. labor force. According to an Institute for Policy Studies analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, postal workers have by far the highest median annual wage ($51,730) and the highest median hourly wage ($24.87) among the 10 occupations with the heaviest representation of Black workers.