One year ago, on January 6th and 7th Congress, under the intense pressure of the organized, seditious and violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, rightfully completed its Constitutional duty to certify the election results of the 2020 presidential election. The aim of the attempted coup, including the intent by some in the mob to hang the sitting Republican Vice-President and the Democratic Speaker of the House, was to overturn the results of the election and disenfranchise tens of millions of voters. The APWU joins with the entire labor movement and all justice-minded people regardless of their political affiliations, in condemning this violent anti-democratic insurrection.
The siege of the Capitol was the direct result of the “big lie” promoted by former president Donald Trump that the election was stolen. While all the facts and evidence, from multiple court rulings to election audits, prove there was virtually no election fraud, the refrain of this “big lie” grows louder and continues to drive our country toward authoritarian and fascist rule.
Over the last year, the “big lie” has been the fuel for a frenzied wave of voter suppression efforts. Eighteen states have passed new laws that will make it harder for working people to vote with new restrictions on vote by mail, early voting and drop boxes. This is all designed to suppress the powerful African-American and Latino vote, but also directed against the cherished voting rights of all working people. When the voice of working people is reduced and suppressed, Wall Street and Corporate America are the winners.
History shows us that these attacks won’t end with attempts to strip us of our right to vote. For example, just months after taking power in Germany in 1933, the Nazi fascists banned trade unions, jailed union leaders, crushed workers’ rights, exposing the fascists’ true corporate agenda. Today, our other democratic rights – the rights to free speech, to assemble, to join and form trade unions or other organizations, and more – are on the line as well. Yet, the voting rights issue is fundamental to all these other democratic rights and is thus a critical fight for our time.
Current voting rights legislation – including the For the People Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Freedom to Vote Act – that would ensure early voting, maximum access to mail ballots, and easier voter registration, is stalled in the Senate, blocked by anti-democratic filibuster rules.
In the 2020 election, postal workers proudly carried out our civic responsibility to the people of this country by timely and securely moving millions of ballots. I urge all our members to take that same spirit to the streets and to pressure Congress, united with the AFL-CIO, community allies and the American people to protect and expand voting rights and our other democratic rights.
Our APWU family is made up of 200,000 members with varied political views and affiliations. It is one of our strengths. But whatever our diverse opinions, we should remain vigilant and united in re-committing ourselves to the struggle to advance democracy and win social and economic justice for all postal workers and working people.