The historical study of the American Postal Workers Union begins with the great postal strike of 1970, the first strike against the United States Government in history. It was a wildcat strike that resulted in the reorganization of the United States Post Office Department and the merger of five unions to form the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) in 1971.
The application by government of the concept of "sovereignty," handed down over centuries from the Divine Right of Kings, denied federal workers the right to petition Congress either as individuals or through associations, the right to strike, the right to engage in partisan political activities, and to bargain collectively with their employers.
The APWU, the federal government's first major industrial-type union was, at first, managed by the old craft faction, but after an internal battle in 1978, including another wildcat strike, the industrial faction, led by Moe Biller of New York, took over in 1980. From that point on, the United States Postal Service found itself bargaining with an aggressive and well-organized opponent.