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President's Column: Team APWU - Bringing home the Gold!


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President's Column: Team APWU - Bringing home the Gold!

 

Mark Dimondstein

March 23, 2022

Wow! Just months into 2022 and great news on two fronts:

First: Our Collective Bargaining Agreement covering the wages, benefits, and working conditions of 200,000 postal workers has been overwhelmingly ratified with a 94% “Yes” vote by those who cast ballots. The success of this round of bargaining reflects the power of unity and solidarity, beginning with you the member, the very foundation of our union.

Second: The Postal Service Reform Act passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The vote in the House was a strong bi-partisan vote of 342-92! It passed the Senate with 79 votes, enough bi-partisan support to overcome the undemocratic 60 vote filibuster rules. You, along with many friends and allies, made thousands of calls to your Senators urging support and bringing this vital legislation over the finish line!

Congratulations to one and all on these outstanding accomplishments!

Of course, many more challenges and opportunities lie ahead. These include:

Implementation of the new union contract: Dates must be determined for when the new pay scales will be reflected in your paychecks, the dates of the retroactive pay raise from November 20, 2021, and the March COLA; and other timing issues related to PSE conversions and PTF transfer opportunities.

Health & safety: The COVID pandemic is ongoing and still lethal. We have negotiated with management the continuation of the COVID safety memoranda and liberal leave policy until April 8th. It is also a major goal to force management to address the harassment and hos- tile work environment inflicted on far too many postal workers. The struggle for the safest possible workplace will aggressively continue.

Expanded services: Our future largely depends on ex- panded Postal Services. The COVID test kits packaged and sent through the mail are a good example. It is likely that the paycheck cashing “pilot” will soon be expanded. The APWU will be working to make this pilot a success.

Postal reform will open up new opportunities to provide local and state government services.

Organizing the Unorganized: About 20% of the work- force represented by the APWU are non-members – far too many. With the solid new contract, it a great time to organize. In the Spring, the APWU will launch a nation- wide organizing campaign. The key to success will be members signing up non-members. Furthermore, the APWU is expanding our organizing efforts in the private sector mail industry, whether Amazon, fulfillment cen- ters, transportation or pre-sort houses.

National convention: The 2022 National Convention is scheduled for mid-August. The convention, as the highest authority of the union, acts on many resolutions and sets the overall direction for the union. Every member cannot be one of the 2,000 expected delegates, but everyone can have a voice by promoting local and state resolutions to be considered by the convention.

National officer elections: In September the national officer election will be conducted. Unlike most unions, we elect with a “one-person, one vote” mail ballot. This union democracy is part of what makes us union strong!

Legislation & Mid-term elections: More legislative issues on the horizon include improving service standards and securing funding for an electric postal fleet and charging stations. The November elections provide opportunity for political involvement in relation to electing pro-union, pro-postal candidates but also for organizing on issues that affect workers such as living wages, health care for all, a clean environment and voting rights.

Voting rights/Vote-By-Mail: The “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen has become the basis for a rash of voter suppression laws largely aimed at limiting mail ballots, which are a proven, secure way for tens of millions of people to vote. No matter our individual political views, we should be unified in defending and expanding voting rights.

Let’s take the same spirit of unity and solidarity that led to the achievement of our new contract and Postal Reform into the battles of 2022 and beyond! 

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