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On Thursday, Oct. 31 the APWU conducted the installation of the newly elected national officers with a message of unity and determination to fight for the future of postal workers and working people everywhere.
The night’s theme was “Moving Forward Together” and the ceremony was presided over by APWU Secretary Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Powell.
The guest of honor at the ceremony was AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre who administered the oath of office.
After an introduction by Executive Vice-President Debby Szeredy, Gebre addressed the gathering, praising the work of APWU’s officers and leadership, “Your union, led by your president, Mark Dimondstein, has been a leader in our movement with the creation of a A Grand Alliance to Save our Public Postal Service, the successful fight to Stop Staples, the campaign to expand the role of the Postal Service, including vote by mail and postal banking -- Fighting to defend the common good, public services and public sector unionism.”
He spoke of the fight during the tough times we face, with working people experiencing cruel and unnecessary hardships with low wages, unsafe workplaces, voter suppression, families ripped apart and refugees turned away.
But he expressed his hope in the face of this adversity:
“…Hope in each of you...serving your communities. Hope in striking teachers. Hope in the 60 million Americans who would join a union today if they could. Hope of a brighter day,” he said.
APWU President Mark Dimondstein gave the keynote speech, congratulating all who were elected and thanking the outgoing officers for their contributions and dedication to the APWU and postal workers. With the union election over he pointed out that, “Now principled unity is key, as we battle corporate greed, Wall Street privatizers, a hostile political environment, and those in management who are undermining the Postal Service.”
After summarizing our substantial progress over the last six years, Dimondstein raised, “But we cannot rest. We are working, living and struggling when there is an all-out war on workers, our families, communities and our organizations. It is Them vs Us, Wall St. vs. Main St., Capital vs. Labor,” he said.
He set out some of the priorities for the coming years: “We will complete the ongoing interest arbitration for a new and good union contract… We will bolster our efforts for new opportunities for postal services, revenue and jobs, including expanding financial services and vote by mail....We will advance the ongoing efforts to gain postal legislation that strengthens the public Postal Service.”
“A new broad union education program is already in the works,” he said and advocated that, “Our Stand Up for Safe Jobs campaign needs deeper roots among the members. And together we must find ways to improve staffing of facilities and address the ever-increasing hostile work environments.”
Most importantly, Dimondstein raised, “The paramount job security battle of our time is to ensure the public Postal Service remains just that. Our jobs, our union and the people’s democratic right enshrined in the Constitution depend on our determination and success. Since the White House plans for full-blown postal privatization emerged, the APWU has mobilized all hands-on deck. With a soon to be new Postmaster General chosen by the Trump-controlled Postal Board of Governors, this critical battle will greatly intensify.”
He encouraged members to, “…attend meetings, join committees, write articles, stand up for safe jobs, sign up non-members, wear union gear with pride, welcome young workers, lobby politicians, fight for postal banking, stand in solidarity with all workers, speak up and defend the public post office.”
He ended with the call to action, “…We must carry on the crusade to save the public Postal Service and our collective bargaining rights and to take on corporate Wall Street power with more workers’ power! Let’s continue to stand up and fight back, hand in hand with each other, all crafts, active, retiree and auxiliary members, postal and other unions, community allies and the people who support the public post office and trust postal workers.”