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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Northern Illinois Socialists Organize Labor Day Rally For Post Office

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Rally Outside of the Rockford Midtown Post Office

The Labor Day parade in Rockford was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some local organizers came up with another way to support workers.



In Midtown Rockford, the northern Illinois chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America organized a special Labor Day rally. They’re calling for support of the post office and postal workers. That's amid a string of controversial operational changes at the post office that have contributed to longer wait times and delayed mail. 


One of the attendees, who asked to be identified as "H," said you can’t overstate how vital the post office really is. “The post office provides a really essential service for people who are incarcerated. So to get mail to contact their loved ones, to get books, it's really important.”


Michelle Gerritsen is a member of the DSA. She said the post office is an essential institution that isn’t going anywhere on her watch. She said, “We just have been rallying behind the post office to make sure that people are aware that we're not just gonna let it get privatized without a fight, and that we don't believe in privatization of this public service.”


Gerritson said we can thank organized labor for the safe working conditions we have today and the 40 hour work week. She said there's no better day to support the post office than Labor Day.


  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.
Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.