Post Office Women for Equal Rights
Just What Is APWU POWER?
APWU POWER (Post Office Women for Equal Rights) is the women’s committee within the American Postal Workers Union. It unites women, with their special concerns, yet works within the framework of the national APWU organization.
When Was It Founded?
POWER was founded in St. Louis, Missouri on April 28, 1979. The APWU National Constitution was amended to include POWER at the American Postal Union’s National Convention in Detroit, Michigan in August of 1980.
Why Is APWU POWER Necessary?
In the United States, women make up nearly 50 percent of the workforce. In the Postal Service, they constitute approximately 48 percent of the workforce. The same percentage describes the membership in the American Postal Workers Union. Paralleling the women’s movement in our country, the women of the APWU recognized that their involvement and active participation had not kept pace with their membership. In the late 1970's a women’s movement in the APWU developed, designed to raise consciousness among the rank and file women of the union. Out of the movement came POWER.
Statement of Purpose
The following is the Statement of Purpose adopted at the founding conference of POWER:
To establish an APWU national women’s committee, to be incorporated within the structure of one of the present APWU national departments.
To establish APWU local and state women’s committees
To establish a viable communications network for APWU women throughout the country to exchange ideas, issues, problems and solutions; and to initiate and support educational programs
To encourage the involvement and participation of all women in the APWU.
To organize the unorganized workers in our workplace.
To promote affirmative action programs in the APWU; to assist women in achieving leadership roles with the ultimate goal of equalizing participation in leadership positions.
To join and become fully involved in the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW).
To enhance harmony within the realm of the National APWU Executive Board.
To work in cooperation with other groups and individuals where possible and appropriate to promote women’s rights and advance the labor movement.
We espouse “a woman’s place is in her union,” and will constantly endeavor to make the above quotation a reality.
How Is APWU POWER Structured?
POWER committees exist on four levels–local, state, regional and national. A national Steering Committee consisting of one coordinator from each of the five regions, assists in local, state and regional committee operations and communications.
How Do I Join APWU POWER?
If you are a female member of APWU, you are automatically a member of POWER.
How Do We Form a Local POWER Committee?
If you’re interested in forming a local POWER committee, first contact your local union president for assistance. Then contact your regional POWER coordinator, who will provide further assistance and materials.
Where Do APWU POWER Committees Obtain Funds?
Your local may assist your POWER committee, as it does any other APWU committee. In addition, funds can be raised by various means, such as: dinners, bus rides, sales of items, (bumper stickers, buttons, t-shirts, etc.), garage and yard sales and raffles. Ideas on profitable fund-raising activities can be obtained through your POWER coordinator.
How Do We Plan Meetings?
First, set a convenient meeting place, time and date. Remember, many members have family and union responsibilities; make arrangements for child care. Provide a sign-in sheet at the meeting. Let members introduce themselves. Circulate a questionnaire that will elicit insight into members’ interests. Plan educational programs that encourage member participation, based on results of the questionnaires. Display POWER posters, literatures and related materials. Invite interesting speakers.
The POWER Steering Committee — and all the members of POWER — invite you to join them in our rewarding and productive action-oriented program. Together we can help improve the working climate not only for APWU member but for all working people.
How Do I Obtain Additional Information?
To obtain additional information contact the POWER coordinator in your region.