AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks at the 26th Annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive kickoff event:
Brothers and sisters, I’m Rich Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. I’m thrilled, as always, to be here at NALC. Brother Brian (Renfroe), thank you and President (Fred) Rolando for your great leadership. I also want to thank the U.S. Postal Service, the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, the United Way and all the sponsors of this life-saving event.
I’m so proud to help kick off this unparalleled, nationwide act of compassion.
It’s an ambitious undertaking—the largest one-day food drive in the world. Reaching more than 10,000 cities and towns in every corner of the country. Collecting 1.6 billion pounds of food for over a quarter-century.
It’s a big job. And who better to get it done than an army of letter carriers?
In all those years, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” has ever stopped you from getting those precious donations into the hands of the families who need them.
That’s what you do. That’s what you’ve always done. The U.S. Postal Service is in a league of its own; nobody does it better. And once again, you find yourselves under attack from the forces of greed. They want to reduce mail delivery. They want to cut your benefits. They want to sell off the post office to the highest bidder. Brothers and sisters, hear me loud and hear me clear: we won’t let them! The postal service is too good and too important to let this happen.
In a fight between big corporations and the National Association of Letter Carriers, I’ll take the NALC any day of the week. After all, you are a union of everyday heroes. You don’t just deliver the mail. You rescue people in harm's way. You counsel veterans suffering from PTSD. You are a friendly face to those in need. You treat the customers on your delivery route like family. And that’s what this food drive is all about.
As a labor movement, we’re fighting for a day where no one in America goes hungry. But in the meantime, there is real urgency in delivering food to the families who need it most. On Saturday, you’ll be tackling that challenge head on.
Block by block, door by door, you’ll put the power of working people joining together on full display. It’s a moving testament to our capacity to deliver the change we want for our families and our communities.
That power—that unity—has never been more important. In this moment, as working families face overwhelming challenges to our fundamental rights and dignities, we are making the difference. You see it in teachers marching for fair wages. You see it in the wave of young workers organizing and joining unions. And this weekend, we’re going to see it on doorsteps in every community in America.
Brothers and sisters, I said this was an act of compassion...but it’s more than just a day of charity or goodwill. This is solidarity in action, a demonstration of the bonds tying working people together. Whether we’re defending the right to join a union or making sure each of our families has food on the table, we will always have each others’ backs.
Thank you for what you’re doing. The AFL-CIO is honored to be standing right alongside you. Here’s to another great year.