Director Jay Galione’s feature length documentary film “The Great Postal Heist” screams postal reform for an agency that continues to be mired in dysfunction. From his childhood until the time he went off to college to study film Jay heard the stories from his dad, a postal worker for 27 years, about the mail giant and decided to do his own investigative reporting to bring the public a clearer understanding of the work culture and business acumen inside the United States Postal Service.
If you’re on the outside looking in, you can’t understand it, and if you are on the inside looking out you probably can’t explain it. The documentary does its best by telling the story every postal employee and American citizen will want to hear. It’s a history lesson that brings to life a quasi-government agencies financial obligations impacting operations, and exposing the injustices to postal workers. This film requires a commitment from congress to pay attention and discuss working conditions with newly appointed Postmaster General Louis Dejoy who is at the helm of one of the countries oldest institutions.
Several months before the 1970 wildcat strike there was a report in the November 1969 Life Magazine titled the “Mail Mess.” The post office department leaders at the time described postal operations as “in a race with catastrophe, and another said he “inherited unbelievable conditions of influence and operational ineffectiveness. Back then just like today the plans to turn the post office into a private business faced huge obstacles from congress and the post office unions. The internal working conditions reached combustion leading to the 1970 national wildcat strike and rebirth of the post office department to what we know today as the United States Postal Service.
The filmmaker explores privatization, universal service, the postal accountability and enhancement act, and the ideas of network rationalization. All impacts that threaten the postal network and the livelihood of employees.
Eye opening was the history of “going postal,” a concept that has haunted the postal service since the early 1980s. Unfortunately, those types of incidents continue into 2021 representing an environment that still fosters anger at postal facilities.
The postal service like all businesses must deal with the emergence of technology or it will be trampled by it. Like all companies USPS is seeing changes in customer service jobs, and the pandemic is accelerating thoughts everywhere about humans v. automation. If the government starts to offer incentives or tax breaks for automation the workforce will likely see a faster deployment of technology and impact on jobs.
The idea of dismantling the postal service by removing technology without replacing it will continue to be met with challenges by postal unions. Slowing down the mail makes no sense in the year 2022 when millions of people rely on the mail to get things done. Increasing parcels, vote by mail, COVID test kits by mail, and people wanting online orders sooner. USPS must see business from the letter or packages point of view.
The founding fathers of this nation envisioned the impact of mail and wrote it into the Constitution as article 1 section 8. The USPS is still the trusted visible form of the federal government in the community. Its super power is binding the nation through a universal service, parcels and correspondence. Most postal workers love their jobs and their customers love them too and that fact is clearly pointed out in the documentary.
Director Jay Galione says at the end of the film that workplace changes never came from the postmaster general, only through the small victories with employees and citizens who fought back. America must support this important workplace film because the U.S. mail should not be for sale. Show your support for the documentary “The Great Postal Heist” and Contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to support the Postal Reform Act.