California ‘Experiments’ with Postal Banking

California ‘Experiments’ with Postal Banking

Thank you American Postal Workers Union (APWU) for your support on the Public Banking Act. Postal banks and municipal public banks are complimentary efforts and we look forward to continuing our work on the financial revolution to build a banking system that works for all working people.

APWU represents 330,000 members, employees and retirees of the United States Postal Service. 

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

The early 20th century Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis coined a phrase when he referred to the states as “laboratories of democracy.” Brandeis noted in his opinion that a state “may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

California has just started a new experiment in freedom from the big Wall Street banks with the passage of AB-857 into law. The bill, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom (D) in September, will allow cities and counties across California to establish public banks. The new law makes way for California to become only the second state in the country – after North Dakota – to establish public banking.

A grassroots organization called The California Public Banking Alliance was the driving force behind AB-857’s passage, building on the momentum of a narrowly defeated ballot measure in Los Angeles that would have led to a city-owned and operated bank. The Alliance expanded the ballot measure to cities and counties across the state.

The work to pass public banking brought together city and county councils, labor unions, civil rights organizations and banking reform advocates. AB-857 supporters included the California Labor Federation; the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego; the National American Postal Workers Union; and the California State APWU.

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