Since Monday, ten workers and consumers have been hunger striking on behalf of the embattled U.S. Postal Service. Their action comes amid a fierce debate over what ails the agency and how to fix it. “It’s a shame,” says hunger striker Tom Dodge, “to let something that’s so efficient and doing so well just die, starve to death.”
Dodge says he’s “amazed” to find himself on hunger strike. A 13-year postal truck driver in Baltimore and a member of the American Postal Workers Union, he says in the past he never got involved in union activism because of “too much politics.” Dodge describes being inspired to act following proposals for major cuts last year. But after participating in rallies coordinated by USPS’ four unions, he concluded they’d had only “a limited effect.” Reached by phone Tuesday while waiting to meet a representative from House Speaker John Boehner’s office, Dodge called the hunger strike “about the strongest thing you can do without breaking the law.” “We’re trying to shame them,” says Jamie Partridge, who recently retired after 27 years as a letter carrier in Portland.