CLEVELAND, Ohio — Federal employees have today off, in observance of Juneteenth. But the U.S. Postal Service will still deliver mail today and Saturday.
President Joe Biden signed legislation on Thursday that makes June 19 — also known as Juneteenth — a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Most federal employees have today off as an observed holiday since this year Juneteenth falls on Saturday.
In a memo Thursday, Deputy Postmaster General and Chief Human Resources Officer Douglas Tulino wrote that while the Post Office is “fully supportive of annually observing and setting aside a day to recognize this historic event,” it is not possible to cease operations to accommodate an observance within 24-48 hours.
We are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure and our customers are relying on us to deliver our essential services. Closing down our operations without providing appropriate time would lead to operational disruptions and be a disservice to our customers and those who rely upon us. For that reason, the Postal Service will be operating on June 18 and 19, 2021, on a normal schedule, serving our customers to the best of our ability.
The Postal Service plans to discuss future recognition of the new holiday with its unions, management associations and others, it said in a release.
“We are demanding that the Postal Service recognize Juneteenth as a holiday as well,” the union wrote. “Under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, the Postal Service is required to be a model employer for other employers in the country. Also, the Postal Service is one of the most diverse employers in the country. Failing to recognize this holiday is an insult to the hard-working postal employees.”
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. Congress passed a bill earlier this week making it a federal holiday.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were free, thus establishing the basis for the holiday. In recent years, protests over police brutality and the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd prompted renewed interest in the holiday.
State of Ohio employees have today off, in observance of the new federal Juneteenth holiday. Ohio law defines state holidays as days “appointed and recommended by the governor of this state or the president of the United States.”