Time’s Up APWU

(This article first appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

By Central Region Coordinator Sharyn M. Stone

This is a tough article to write because by the time you read it, we could either have a contract or be headed for binding interest arbitration. Our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires on September 20, 2018. Hopefully we have achieved a fair and just contract and maintained the hard-fought protections we have achieved. Our negotiations’ team, headed up by President Dimondstein, serves us well.

Even if all is complete with the CBA, we have miles to go before we sleep. The constant threat of Article 12 excessing, reorganizing, mismanagement, harassment, coupled with the President’s threat to privatize the Postal Service into oblivion is still in play.

Have you called your member of Congress? Nothing should be more inspiring and more motivating than a threat to our livelihood and the continued existence of the Postal Service committed to serving every community even though sometimes you can’t help but wonder whose side is the USPS is on. They run the Postal Service as if they want it to fail. Why? Whatever private business ended up owning the Postal Service would never hire ex-postal managers to run it. We have faced difficult challenges in our past and we will face all future challenges unified and “fighting today for a better tomorrow”.

No matter what happens, we will always stand up for safe jobs, protest to put an end to workplace harassment, and fight to keep the post office a viable community service for all.

Young Members Committee

At our 2016 convention, a committee was created – made up of APWU members 35 years of age and younger. Convention delegates recognized our need for members, and especially younger members, to step up and become involved with the union for our longevity.

What better way to move forward than with a group of enthusiastic engaging young members. President Dimondstein appointed, with recommendations from the five Regional Coordinators, two members from each region to participate on the Young Members Committee (YMC). These appointees are also involved with their locals and have their support. Since that time the committee has functioned with the Coordinators serving as their advisors. The YMC is an excellent group of young people.

We have communicated with YMC members on an ongoing basis. We provide advice, and knowledge about the APWU Constitution and our contract with the USPS as support for the committee’s efforts. We assist them whenever possible in learning about the union and how it works – politics and all (just kidding). As an organization, we need everyone’s involvement.

The YMC provided a well-attended workshop at the Craft Conference last year in Las Vegas. I am positive my fellow coordinators: Omar Gonzales Western Region, John Dirzius Northeast Region, Mike Gallagher Eastern Region, and Kennith Beasley, Southern Region join me in congratulating the YMC for what they do and in encouraging them into the future. It is important if we are to survive and grow as a highly functioning viable organization into the future, we need all members to get involved, not just for the issues like the new CBA or CAT teams but for the future of our organization. Younger members involved at every level should inspire all members to become involved.

Everyone may not want to be a steward or officer or not even serve on a committee, but what about being a knowledgeable re-enforcement on the work room floor? Every member can participate in some

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White House Plan to Privatize the Postal Service

Statement by President Dimondstein

Web News Article #:

59-2018

06/21/2018The White House proposal on restructuring the federal government released today, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” delivered nothing but misinformation and, if implemented, would end regular mail and package services at an affordable cost to 157 million addresses every day. Furthermore, the White House plan is an attack on many federal agencies and the public services they provide.

The White House’s plan states, “Like many European nations the United States could privatize its postal operator…” What’s left unsaid is European nations charge substantially more for mail services delivered in a much smaller area. They also regularly raise the cost of delivery. For example, the cost of sending a letter in the United Kingdom has increased 80 percent over the past decade. By comparison, the U.S. has the lowest postage rates in the industrialized world.

Eliminating the universal service obligation, as the plan suggests, would hurt business and individuals alike, and would be a dagger aimed at the heart of rural America and undermine e-commerce.

The draconian plan uses “burdening the taxpayers” as justification to promote the privatization of the U.S. Postal Service when the truth is USPS is self-supporting and receives no tax dollars for postal operations.

And, while letter mail volumes are lower, package delivery is up substantially. No institution is better suited for the e-commerce revolution than USPS.  The public postal service serves each and every person and belongs to the people of this country. According to recent surveys by Gallup and the Pew Research Center, it enjoys the highest level of satisfaction and trust of any government service or agency, rating the highest among young people.

Privatizing the Postal Service is not in the public interest or the interest of postal workers and would be nothing more than a raid by corporate pirates on a national treasure.

This outrageous White House plan should be a wake-up call to every postal worker and APWU member. The threats of postal privatization, the threats to decent union jobs, the threats to good services, are real.

The American Postal Workers Union stands with the people of the country and our many allies in the ongoing fight to ensure a vibrant public Postal Service for generations to come.

More information and calls for action will be forthcoming.

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APWU Meets With Federal Task Force Considering Changes to USPS

Web News Article #:

55-2018

06/08/2018

On Tuesday, June 6, APWU President Mark Dimondstein, joined by Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard, Manager of Negotiation Support and Special Projects Phil Tabbita, along with other APWU representatives, met with the White House Task Force on the Postal Service. The task force was presented with a series of union recommendations and supporting materials on how the USPS could improve services, become more financially stable, and continue to remain a treasured public institution offering universal service to all citizens, regardless of where they live or work.

President Trump created the task force In April, as APWU reported at that time. It is being led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Jeff Pons and and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mick Mulvaney. The President’s executive order charged the task force with evaluating and reporting on the operations and finances of the United States Postal Service, such as pricing, policies and the costs of the workforce. Its report, which is to contain legislative and executive proposals, is due by August 10.

The executive order is modeled after one President George W. Bush issued in 2002 and came after President Trump released a series of tweets critical of the U.S. Postal Service’s relationship with Amazon. Even more controversial than the Bush-era executive order, Trump said the task force should examine the obligation to provide universal service “in light of changes in technology, e-commerce, marketing practices and customer needs.”

“In our discussions with the task force we spoke some plain truths about what the U.S. Postal Service needs and what it doesn’t,” said Beard. “We also shared materials that we had developed in coordination with other postal unions.”

Among those plain truths:

  • The U.S. Postal Service’s unparalleled national network fulfills the Founders’ directive to bind the nation together, providing affordable, universal service unlike any private entity.
  • The U.S. Postal Service’s workforce represents the nation’s largest civilian employment of veterans, and our work enables a $1.4 trillion dollar mailing industry employing 7.5 million American workers.
  • The U.S. Postal Service operates without a dime of taxpayer money, but Washington’s political malpractice has put it in a financial bind – crushed by a scheme to pre-fund years of retiree healthcare benefits, a burden that no other agency or company must bear.
  • The U.S. Postal Service has already undergone dramatic restructuring since the Great Recession. The U.S. Postal Service has eliminated 200,000 career positions, closed or consolidated hundreds of mail processing facilities, dramatically slowed the mail with lowered service standards, and reduced the hours of operations at 13,000 primarily rural post offices (some as few as two hours a day). APWU emphasized to the task force that USPS managers have cut to the bone and the U.S. Postal Service and its workforce should not be cut further. APWU’s representatives called for a full restoration of service standards that were diminished in 2012.
  • The U.S. Postal Service cannot cut its way to profitability. However, by addressing the congressionally-manufactured prefunding crisis, setting appropriate postage rates, and properly accounting and investing postal funds, USPS can generate the necessary capital to fulfill its obligations, replace its aging vehicle fleet, and provide quality service to the American people.

APWU has joined with other postal unions in developing briefing materials and policy recommendations to present to the task force. While each postal union is meeting with the task force independently, collectively the American Postal Workers Union, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association represent more than half a million postal employees who are dedicated to providing affordable service to all Americans, no matter where they live.

As President Dimondstein stated in a recent guest commentary in The Boston Globe,  “Postal workers and millions and millions of customers certainly hope that the task force created by the executive order has as its starting point a sincere commitment to helping the Postal Service thrive. However, if the task force proves to be a smokescreen to promote the postal privatization agenda of the likes of the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute and their billionaire benefactors’ efforts to turn the common good over to private profiteers, then postal workers will be on the front lines fighting back, united with our communities and the people of this country, to ensure a vibrant public postal service for many generations to come.”

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