This Day in History

March 18, 1970: Postal Workers Strike

Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Labor
Post Strike NYC 1970

New York City postal workers picket the General Post Office.

The first mass work stoppage in the 195-year history of the Postal Service began on March 18, 1970, with a walkout of letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan who were demanding better wages.

Ultimately, 210,000 (in 30 cities) of the nation’s 750,000 postal employees participated in the wildcat strike.

With mail service virtually paralyzed in New York, Detroit, and Philadelphia, President Nixon declared a state of national emergency and assigned military units to New York City post offices.

The stand-off ended one week later.

Read more about the strike at the American Postal Workers Union website and watch their 16-minute video below.

The Strike that Couldn’t Happen from APWU Communications Dept on Vimeo.

Below are resources from the Zinn Education Project for teaching about labor organizing.