On Monday June 20th, postal workers will commemorate Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Juneteenth itself is celebrated June 19th.
This 11th paid holiday for career postal employees was won in our new union contract, signed on February 28th. The APWU has blazed a trail of progress by becoming the first postal union to negotiate Juneteenth into the collective bargaining agreement and is likely one of the first unions in the country to negotiate this new holiday benefit.
Juneteenth represents and celebrates the emancipation of millions of enslaved Black slaves. The holiday is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day and Liberation Day.
Juneteenth has its origins in Texas. On June 19, 1865 Union federal troops entered Galveston, Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, to enforce the freedom of enslaved peoples in the Confederate state. Some African/Black Americans have celebrated the holiday for many years. The state of Texas made Juneteenth a holiday in 1980. The Juneteenth holiday is the culmination of effective grassroots efforts.
While more is needed to eliminate the systematic challenges that oppress African/Black Americans, the establishment of Juneteenth as a National Holiday represents progress for respect and dignity for all people.
We encourage APWU Locals and members to participate in Juneteenth activities. It is a good opportunity to connect with other labor organizations and community organizations to celebrate freedom. Establishing Juneteenth is acknowledgment of a truth that was omitted from history books and an invitation to continue moving towards a just society.