We are the Berkeley Post Office Defenders (BPOD). BPOD came into existence in May of 2013, after the U.S. Postal Service announced its “final” decision to sell the downtown Berkeley Post Office. Members of Save The Berkeley Post Office, Strike Debt Bay Area and Occupy Oakland came together to form an independent committee to plan for and execute an encampment/outside occupation of the downtown Berkeley Post Office.
On July 26th, a little more than a week after the Postal Service rejected Berkeley’s appeal of the sale, tents and information tables went up at 2000 Allston Way. They remained for thirty-three days, not without considerable controversy, getting worldwide attention and sending a clear signal of resistance to Postal Service management.
Since then BPOD has continued to work with Save the Berkeley Post Office and the American Postal Workers Union to “Halt the Heist” and stop the privatization of the entire Postal Service. We have helped push a proposal for a restrictive zoning ordinance to apply to the area containing the downtown Post Office through the Berkeley Planning Commission and up to the City Council, an idea one of our members originated.
We organized the first rally in the nation against Staples’ contract with the Postal Service, on December 20, 2013. This agreement installed postal service counters in 84 Staples outlets as a pilot program, staffed by low-wage Staples employees instead of living-wage Post Office union employees. At just about the same time, Staples announced that it was shortening the hours of part-time employees so it would not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
We continue to organize, meet and rally.