With the elimination of a number of custodial positions at stations and the contracting out of the work, local members took to the street. The union contended that custodial and elevator operator jobs, are positions intended to be reserved for disabled veterans under the Veterans Preference Act of 1944.
More than 200 APWU members, in coordination with city workers’ unions, veterans’ organizations and community groups, rallied at the Olney Station in Philadelphia on June 6, 1992, the anniversary of D-Day, to protest management’s actions. The veterans’ fight for their jobs is the same fight that city workers are involved in.
Veterans, the community and unions stood together to expose the unconscionable erosion of the rights of those who fought for our country.
To continue this fight, a Veterans’ Job Coalition was formed. Its objectives: to pursue legislative action from elected representatives to protect and improve veterans’ job rights; to form a coalition with veterans in other federal agencies; and to initiate legal action on behalf of any disabled veteran on the hiring register of the Philadelphia post office, who has not been hired as a result of the contracting out and/or the conversion of custodial jobs to part-time positions.
As a result of the Coalition efforts, the Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee sent a letter to the Postmaster General on July 22, 1992, asking that the Postal Service stop the replacement of working disabled veterans. The practice is “a direct violation of the Veteran’s Preference Act of 1944,” the letter stated.