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    APWU National Convention: Delegates Make Progress on Convention Business

    By Apwu133,

    APWU National Convention: Delegates Make Progress on Convention Business


    August 17, 2022

    After a productive first day of convention, delegates continued on Tuesday to make significant progress on union business. They debated and voted on many meaningful resolutions addressing bargaining demands as the Labor-Management Committee, co-chaired by Ken Fajardo, Albuquerque Local, and Wanda Harris, Miami Area Local, continued its report.

    Among the adopted resolutions were several dealing with demands for additional types of paid leave. One such resolution, Resolution 30, calls on the APWU to bargain for a sick leave donation program similar to the system for donating annual leave. A pair of resolutions, 33 and 34, were adopted, calling on the union to bargain for paid maternity leave and paid parental leave for postal workers. 

    Resolutions that dealt with postal workers’ clothing allowance, Resolutions 62 and 70, which were both adopted by the convention. Resolution 62 calls for the union to bargain for an increase in the clothing allowance for outdoor work in cold weather regions, whereas Resolution 70 calls for the APWU to bargain for a VMF cold weather clothing allowance consistent with NALC’s allowance. 

    Another successful resolution, Resolution 43, called for the elimination of Article 12.1.A language regarding probation, and for the union to represent employees from day one in regard to separation from service.  Other successful resolutions addressed bereavement leave and ensuring union notification of the reason for separation of a PSE. 

    The Labor-Management committee’s report will continue on Wednesday with several more important resolutions on tap. If Tuesday’s deliberations are any indication, delegates should anticipate another day of spirited debate as the convention displays trade union democracy at its finest. 


    Delegates gathered Tuesday for a rally drawing attention to attacks on vote-by-mail and the nationwide wave of other voter suppression laws. 

    Holding signs with messages such as “Vote by Mail Works!” and “Hands Off Voting Rights,” attendees enthusiastically listened as a number of speakers described attempts to subvert democracy through voter suppression and the critical importance of vote-by-mail.

    APWU Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell opened the rally saying, “There is no power like postal worker’s power…Are you ready to fight for democracy and vote-by-mail?”
    The Democracy Initiative’s Charly Carter called postal workers heroes, saying, “Because of you everyone had those votes counted, demonstrating that vote-by-mail works.”

    Throughout the rally, speakers commended postal workers for the work they perform, especially during the pandemic.  AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond said, “You were the glue that kept us together during the worst health crisis we’ve seen in our country.” 

    President of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement Yanira Merino talked about the forces at work who oppose democracy as well as worker rights. “We have to show we are united,” she said. “We have to show that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

    Our Revolution’s Paco Fabian provided an antidote to voter suppression, saying we need to make sure working-class voters participate in our democracy and vote-by-mail is a key element.” 

    APWU Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy encouraged APWU members to bring their activism back to their communities, saying “When you get home, form a committee to get out the vote so we can win in November.”

    Rev. Graylan Hagler pumped up the rally, saying “Democracy is about access - access to vote, access to speak, access to stand up, access to be heard, access to make demands.  We don’t intend to do anything less.”

    Sara Nelson, Association of Flight Attendants President, expressed her support for vote-by-mail, emphasizing how it provides everyone access to the ballot box.

    Marcus Batchelor from People for the American Way praised postal workers for their service. “We know that you not only help our country run, but in 2020 you demonstrated in a very real way how you help our democracy run, how you help some of the most isolated and marginalized people in our community.”

    “The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is disappearing,” said APWU Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. “They’re stealing our voting rights. And we’re going to stand up and fight back!” 

    Concluding the rally, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said “We have a message for the people of our country. Postal workers have your back. We’ve got the back of the people in the country when it comes to exercising your right to vote.” 


    National Postal Mail Handlers Union President, Paul Hogrogian, addressed the convention with a message of unity. 

    “The relationship between our organizations is stronger now than it has been for some time. I was proud to sit with your delegation at the opening of your contract negotiations some time ago. It sends a message to the postal service management that we are united.”


    Leon Russell, Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors spoke on Tuesday about how we must deepen the partnerships that we have built through the years, including A Grand Alliance and the Save Our Public Postal Service campaigns.

    “That partnership, that grand alliance, is an effort joined by labor organizations and civil rights organizations. We understand that together we have the power to make a change in public policy, make the changes that we seek,” he said.

    That alliance is vital because our communities are in danger, a danger that comes from “policy makers who encourage us to see ourselves in an “us versus them” context. Instead, he implored, we must seek solutions that benefit society as a whole.

    “So I invite you to join us as we organize our communities to save this democracy,” said Russell. With a civic program active in 22 states, the NAACP is looking for 270,000 volunteers across the country. “We’re not telling anybody how to vote, but are telling them that if they recognize their power, if they use their power, if they use their vote, they can make a difference.”

    As he finished his remarks, the NAACP Board Chair reiterated that we are stronger together. “Power to the American Postal Workers Union. Power to the people. Thank you. And remember. Partnership. Partnership. Partnership.”


    At the Post Office Women for Equal Rights (POWER) Caucus held August 15, the following awards were presented by Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell to notable women:

    Elizabeth “Liz” Powell Executive Award – Tiffany Foster
    Joyce B. Robinson Leadership Award – Lynn Pallas-Barber
    Nilda Chock Pioneer Award – Bettye Maddox


    In an impassioned speech, Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, commended APWU members, stating that “...this union gives me so much hope…this union knows how to fight the union busters.” She referenced the important role that postal workers play in maintaining a universal Postal Service to retain our democracy and standing up to those who would destroy it.

    She continued by highlighting the APWU’s resolve in never giving up the fight to overturn 2006 legislation designed to destroy the USPS financially and cited the wildcat strike of 1970, stating “there are no illegal strikes, only unsuccessful ones.”

    Nelson spoke about the billionaire-class’s attacks on freedom, equality and democracy, addressing their divisive attacks on women and people of color. 

    Nelson went on to say that, in a time when women and people of color are under attack, we must recognize that capitalists are responsible and she emphasized that these actions have nothing to do with morality: “It has to do with whether or not we are going to recognize each other as equal so that we can bargain with the power of that equality together.” 

    She continued by saying “until all of us are free, none of us are free… We have to love our country, love our families, love our communities, love our neighbors by loving our union.” She finished with a rallying cry: “I’ve got your back!”


    As presented by Co-Chair Cindy Foster of the Charlotte Area Local, the preliminary report for the APWU Credentials Committee for Tuesday, Aug. 16, is as follows:

    The 26th Biennial Convention’s 2,026 delegates represent 297 locals, 43 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Also in attendance 69 national officers and four Retiree National Convention Delegates.


    After a warm welcome from Legislative & Political Director and fellow Michigander Judy Beard, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence brought the convention to its feet with a stirring address. Rep. Lawrence reflected on her 30-year postal career and how it prepared her for work in Congress. “I was trained as a public servant in the United States Postal Service,” she said. “And I know how to fight.”

    Lawrence applauded postal workers for their service to the people of the country, particularly during the pandemic. “During COVID, the Postal Service showed the world how important and critical we were when it came to our democracy, when it came to our health, prescription drugs, the COVID test kits,” she said. “When it came to ensuring that we were moving the economy when everybody else at home, we kept it moving.”
    Following her address, the convention showed their appreciation of the congresswoman in a special way. A delegate from Michigan, noting that the Congresswoman began her postal career as an APWU member, moved that the convention name her an honorary member of the APWU. The hall burst into applause as the motion carried and the union gained yet another member. 


    Sister Elise Bryant, President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, rounded out the day’s proceedings with an uplifting address. “There is no other force in the United States of America,” said Bryant, “that tells capital how to spend its money except the union movement.” 

    “I don’t have to preach to you, you are the choir,” Bryant fittingly added as she, in her inimitable style, led the convention in song throughout her remarks. She sent delegates forth to the voting rights rally with a stirring rendition of our labor anthem “Solidarity Forever.”


    President Joe Biden sent a video greeting to delegates. The 46th US President lauded our history and our work as essential to the country.

    “It’s simple,” he said, “They believe in you. The American people believe in you. The congress believes in you. The women and men of our postal service are essential to our health, our economy and our democracy.”


    Tuesday, the APWU COPA (Committee on Political Action) Night party was hosted by Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. Members who contributed $200 or more to COPA since July 2020 put on their best Western gear to celebrate their achievements. 

    President Dimondstein, Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell and Legislative Director Beard presented awards to the three highest COPA contributors during the 2020-2022 COPA cycle. They were: 

    Shirley Taylor, NBA San Francisco (Burlingame)
    Ricardo Barreto, Sacramento Area Local
    Hector Baez, NBA Denver (Mesa)

    A special award, the 2022 COPA Leadership Award, was presented to Diane Erlanger (New York Metro) for signing up the most APWU members to COPA. 

    APWU National Convention: Dimondstein Delivers State of the Union

    By Apwu133,

    APWU National Convention: Dimondstein Delivers State of the Union


    August 16, 2022



    On Monday, APWU President Mark Dimondstein delivered the ‘State of the Union.’ He highlighted our successes and struggles and gave an outlook for a bright, while challenging, future. 

    On Monday, APWU President Mark Dimondstein delivered the ‘State of the Union.’ He highlighted our successes and struggles and gave an outlook for a bright, while challenging, future. 

    Reflecting on the moment, Dimondstein said, “the pandemic has made it crystal clear what we always knew – it is we, the workers, who make the world go around.” 

    Dimondstein condemned the current wave of voter suppression and the former U.S. president’s attempt to hold onto power in a coup. He said “we must never accept as normal the rising white supremacist torrent of race hatred and bigotry that divides workers and led to the despicable racist massacres in Charleston, Pittsburgh, El Paso and Buffalo – all reflecting a dangerous drive toward fascism.”

    On the condition of the APWU, Dimondstein said, “together we are marching forward and building an activist, winning union. I submit to you that the state of our union is indeed ‘Union Strong, All Day Long!’”

    Dimondstein applauded the success of the ‘U.S. Mail, Not for Sale’ campaign and the defeat of the 2018 Presidential Task Force recommendations, which attacked collective bargaining rights.

    This year, members ratified a new main union contract with a 94 percent “yes” vote. “The new contract secured annual wage increases, full COLAs, new work guarantees for PTFs, new career conversion opportunities for PSEs, restored Level 8 to the high career pay scale, limits on subcontracting of existing PVS driver work, maintained and enhanced job security no lay-off provisions and generally uplifted postal workers of all crafts,” Dimondstein said. It also maintains the Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA). The new contract’s second COLA amounts to $1.18/hr; it follows the $0.63/hr COLA in January.

    In Congress, after 16 years of organizing, the Postal Service Reform Act was passed. Among other provisions, this law eliminates the prefunding retiree health benefit mandate of 2006.

    Other accomplishments included winning liberal leave and COVID safety memos; securing $10 billion in postal COVID aid; 100,000 PSE conversions; 10,000 new clerk jobs in mail processing; improved member communications; joining struggles for racial and social justice.

    Dimondstein also lauded the recent organizing campaign, which brought on 5,000 new members, as well as private-sector organizing wins.

    “Our approach to sticking to the issues and never shying away from a fight has served our members well,” Dimondstein said. “A solid new contract, historical postal legislation, improved staffing, a better path to career status and an openness to new and enhanced postal products. However, we must and will remain ever vigilant.”

    He stressed that, while the privatizers have been kept at bay, “Wall Street is still Wall Street” and the threat of privatization continues to rear its ugly head. 

    “Yes, the dangers are great but so are the opportunities,” he said. “The weather will be stormy at times. But we have the good and sturdy ship called the APWU built with many hands over generations of struggle.”


    Dr. Claudia Fegan, the Chief Medical Officer of Cook County Health and the national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, addressed the convention on Monday with a message about the urgent need for a single payer health care system in the U.S. 

    Dr. Fegan debunked myths about the affordability of a national health program, noting that the United States already spends more than $4 trillion a year on health care. “The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee universal access to health care,” she said. “We already spend enough money to guarantee access to everyone. Yet medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy.”

    Introducing Dr. Fegan, Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy noted with pride that the APWU is a longtime supporter of Medicare for All. 

    “When we start putting profits before patients, we all suffer,” Fegan noted. “When our government starts to support corporate greed over personal freedom, we all suffer. We have to fight back.”
    Dr. Fegan concluded, “No country has ever won universal health care without the support of labor. This is your fight! This is your fight!”


    Delegates to the 26th Biennial Convention went right to work on the convention’s first day. 

    After adoption of the convention rules, the delegates moved on to other business. The Finance Committee, introduced by Secretary Treasurer Powell, presented a report on the union’s finances over the last four years, finding all relevant financial documents to be in order and the current revenues and assets of the union to be in great condition.

    Attendees also began work on resolutions presented by the Labor-Management Committee that primarily focused on proposals for future contract negotiations. 


    As presented by Co-Chair Lorraine Sawyer of the Massachusetts Postal Workers Union, the preliminary report for the APWU Credentials Committee for Monday, August 15, is as follows:

    The 26th Biennial Convention’s 
    2,017 delegates represent 297 locals, 43 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Also in attendance, 69 national officers and four Retiree National Convention Delegates.


    Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) addressed APWU delegates on Monday morning, highlighting the contribution of postal union members. “I can tell you, they are all out there, on the ground, putting in the work.”
    The congresswoman thanked postal workers for the many contributions during the pandemic. “You saved our elections by processing millions of mail-in ballots in 2020, through today, despite impossibly hostile conditions. You did that. You saved our elections. You saved countless lives and livelihoods during a global pandemic with your work,” she remarked.

    While many people, she noted,  especially those in Congress, claim that progress is impossible, she pointed out that “what other people call impossible is another day on the job” for APWU members!

    With  growing support for labor unions, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said, “What was impossible a year or two ago is now possible today, and it is important that we recognize that, because far too many people use the word impossible to signify what is really just a lack of political will and political imagination.”

    That is why we must continue to grow the movement. Winding up her speech, AOC urged us all to “Talk to your kids about why you’re in a union. It’s really incredibly important because there is power in a union. We all also are in the work of protecting our democracy. You all and your support for the For the People Act has been incredibly important in making sure that we build momentum in combating gerrymandering, ending the filibuster and expanding the right to vote.”


    Nation’s Capital Southern Maryland Area Local President, Dena Briscoe, opened the 26th Biennial National Convention with a welcome to APWU delegates from across the country. The morning’s ceremonies were kicked off with a presentation of colors by the United States Air Force Honor Guard, Air Force District of Washington. Fazia Deen of the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center gave the invocation and the pledge of allegiance was led by Pam Richardson, Clerk Division National Business Agent.


    Research & Education Director Joyce Robinson held a caucus to highlight POWER sisters. After an inspiring speech by CLUW President Elise Bryant, defending democracy and women’s rights.

    An awards ceremony was held for notable POWER Delegates. Joyce Robinson received a COPA Award for POWER’s participation, presented by President Mark Dimondstein and Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell, reminding all, “you don’t have to dim another’s light for yours to shine.”


    Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) welcomed delegates to National Harbor, MD. In a rousing speech, he highlighted our recent wins, including preventing the privatization of the USPS, promoting vote-by-mail, and in the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act. 

    “It really is because of all of you and your persistence and determination and advocacy over time,” Van Hollen said. “You never gave up, and you got that across the finish line.” 
    The senator supports key legislation, such as the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, which affects Social Security benefits for certain workers and the restoration of the 2012 service standards. 

    The Maryland senator also encouraged members to hold our elected officials accountable and push for pro-postal legislation. He warned that, to get much of this passed, “We may also ultimately require getting rid of or amending the undemocratic [senate] filibuster, which has been an impediment to important progress in our country.” 


    In a speech to convention delegates, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler praised the role that postal workers have played in preserving democracy and serving the American public. “You have taken on a growing role in our elections, truly serving on the front lines of democracy,” she said. “You are not only making sure that people get their ballots but also their letters, paychecks and subscription medications.”
    Shuler talked about the importance of continuing to elect leaders who will fight for working people. Recent examples of beneficial legislation include passage of the Postal Service Reform Act strengthening the Postal Service and the Inflation Reduction Act that will help the middle class, protect the environment and reduce the cost of prescription costs and health care premiums.

    The AFL-CIO president also emphasized the organizing power that unions can have when they join forces and work together, especially now with the increasing number of workers seeking union representation. To facilitate the effort of organizing, the AFL-CIO recently announced the formation of the Center for Transformational Organizing (CTO). “We need to rise up and capture the energy of this moment that is leading people to organize in all kinds of companies and in all kinds of industries,” she said. “There is so much opportunity for organizing around us.”
    Among the reasons fueling the desire to organize is the fact that CEO pay continues to skyrocket while worker pay remains stagnant. According to the latest AFL-CIO pay watch study, CEO pay at the top 500 S & P companies is 324 times more than that of the average worker.

    Concluding her remarks, Shuler said, “In this moment when we are facing so many challenges in our jobs, to our economy, to our democracy, to our freedoms, we have to face them together as a movement.”

    Second COLA Increase Announced

    By Apwu133,

    Second COLA Increase Announced


    August 10, 2022

    In accordance with the 2021-2024 Collective Bar­gaining Agreement, career employees represented by the APWU will receive a $1.18 per hour cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective August 27, 2022.

    The increase is the result of a rise in the Consum­er Price Index (CPI-W). It will appear in paychecks dated September 16, 2022 (Pay Period 19-2022). The value of the COLA for full-time employees in each step and grade will increase by $2,455.00 annually, and the hourly rates for part-time employ­ees will be adjusted accordingly.

    The COLAs are in addition to general wage increases. This is the second cost-of-living increase under the 2021 contract. The first, effective in February, amounted to $0.63 per hour or $1,310 annually. The COLAs received so far during the 2021-2024 National Agreement total $3,765.00 this year.

    In light of the fact that Postal Support Employees (PSEs) do not receive cost-of-living increases, they have received several additional increases beyond the general wage increases for all employees in the APWU bargaining unit under the 2021 contract.

    Rising inflation underscores just how important the continuation of our negotiated Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is in our outstanding new union contract. The COLA is our best protection against inflation. Postal Workers are some of the few U.S. workers who receive COLA increases. Even in the postal world, we are the only postal union that has maintained full COLA in our union contract.

    “At times of high inflation, our union-won COLA is invaluable to ourselves and our families,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It pays to be union! It’s always a struggle to keep these COLA provisions and every postal worker should be proud we fought hard and prevailed to keep full COLA in our latest contract.”

    Go to apwu.org/pay-information to view pay scales.

    Statement of APWU President Mark Dimondstein in Response to Recent Remarks by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Future Postal Staffing

    By Apwu133,

    Statement of APWU President Mark Dimondstein in Response to Recent Remarks by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Future Postal Staffing


    August 8, 2022

    In a recent presentation before the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, Postmaster General (PMG) Louis DeJoy outlined his views of the future direction of the United States Postal Service.

    One remark from the Postmaster General during a discussion following his prepared speech created headlines that deeply concern postal workers and the American Postal Workers Union. The PMG said that, through attrition and retirements, the USPS “may need to get 50,000 people out of the organization” in the next 10 years to “break even.”

    Let me be perfectly clear with our members: Prior to the PMG’s remarks, postal management had never discussed any such proposals or plans on the future size of the postal workforce or of the APWU bargaining unit. In fact, over the last two years the APWU and postal management have reached a number of settlements that increased much-needed staffing in Function 1 mail processing, creating 10,000 new clerk craft jobs. We are currently pressing management to agree to increase staffing in Function 4 Retail. We also reached a number of agreements, including in the recently ratified contract, resulting in tens of thousands of PSEs being converted to career positions. These are welcome developments and a testament to the powerful campaigns our union has led to demand management invest in the staffing and retention policies necessary to ensure we provide the quality service the public deserves.

    I’ve spoken with the PMG since his remarks and made clear to him our position: without postal workers, there is no USPS. We make it work and we’re committed to fulfilling our mission of providing essential service to the country. The best way to get the Postal Service back to break even is to focus on improving service quality, expanding and enhancing service, and growing the Postal Service’s role in a fast-changing economy – including growing with long-needed staffing.

    If it’s management’s intent to weaken our union, attack our pay and conditions or eliminate family-sustaining union postal jobs, the PMG will get a strong fight from the APWU. But let’s also be clear about one thing – we don’t bargain with newspaper headlines.

    When PMG DeJoy was hired, we made clear that our union would judge the PMG based on his actions. When he degraded service in the summer of 2020, we opposed his actions and led the fight back which forced management to abandon the worst of those policy changes.

    When PMG DeJoy introduced management’s 10-year “Delivering For America” plan, I called it “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” There were elements of the plan we supported, like efforts to grow the USPS’s market share in the booming e-commerce business, advocating for six-day delivery and for a better path to career jobs for our non-career members. And we vowed to use every resource of our union to fight elements of the plan we opposed, like cuts to service standards and retail hours of operation.

    We will oppose future job reductions that affect the lives of the postal workers we represent, good living wage union jobs for future generations and diminishes the good service the people deserve. Rest assured that any such management actions will be met with unbridled opposition of the APWU – the same kind of fightback, allied with the labor movement and the people of our country, that won the “Stop Staples” campaign, defeated the privatization plans of the White House in 2018 and compelled the USPS to do right in relation to vote by mail during the 2020 election.

    After Pressure, Management Sets Retroactive Pay Date!

    By Apwu133,

    After Pressure, Management Sets Retroactive Pay Date!


    August 5, 2022

    Last week we announced the APWU was preparing collective actions in response to the unacceptable delay in retroactive payments won in the 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Today, after concerted struggles with postal management, management has finally provided the union with firm dates the payments will be received by postal workers in APWU-represented crafts.

    The retroactive payments will be processed on October 11, 2022. They will appear as a pay adjustment on paychecks received October 28, 2022.

    “Those in management responsible for overseeing these payroll changes had so little respect for postal workers that they apparently thought a May 2023 date for the retroactive payments would somehow be acceptable. This was outrageous,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Postal workers earned this pay, we deserve it, and we’re not in the business of giving management interest-free loans on the back of our labor. While we’re still unsatisfied with the delay, we sent a message and have gotten firm dates months in advance of management’s plan.”

    “This delay in retroactive payments was unacceptable to everyone in our union,” said APWU Director of Industrial Relations Charlie Cash. “While we’re glad to have dates to look forward to, we will still file a national-level grievance seeking an appropriate remedy for all affected postal employees.”

    The CBA included the following pay adjustments:

    • Effective November 20, 2021: General wage increases of 1.3 percent
    • Effective Nov. 20, 2021: Additional 1 percent pay raise for PSEs (who do not receive COLA)
    • Effective September 25, 2021: New pay scale for Grade 11
    • Effective Feb 26, 2022: Sixty-three cents/hour COLA, for career employees
    • Effective April 9, 2022: Fifty cents/hour increase for the PSEs effective

    Each of the above adjustments were programmed and included in our wages on June 4, 2022, with the exception of the 50 cents/hour due to the PSEs. That management error was corrected and included in pay from July 30, 2022.

    The retroactive payments due to workers consists of the above adjustments on hours worked from June 4, 2022 going back to their respective effective dates, and between April 9 and July 30 for the PSE fifty-cent increase.

    We will keep members updated on the grievance process regarding this unacceptable delay. 

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