On the afternoon of March 23, 1970, President Richard Nixon addressed the American public on television. He announced that he had, “just now, directed the activation of the men of the various military organizations to begin in NYC the restoration of essential mail services.” The president took this extraordinary step as a reaction to an ongoing wild-cat strike among U.S. postal workers. At the core of the strikers’ complaints were recent Congressional actions that gave a 41% pay raise to Members of Congress while postal employees would receive a 4% raise. Letter carriers and other postal workers were at the low end of the national wage scale. The situation was so dire that some carriers in New York City were eligible for welfare programs.
National Postal Museum Blog