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Postal News Roundup

Papillion-La Vista post office employees recognized for coming to aid of ailing co-worker

Omaha World-Herald - “One morning in June, U.S. Postal Service semitrailer truck operator Merle Oltmans was working late. He works nights, but on this particular day, he had a load of priority mail to run to the Papillion-La Vista post office about 9:30 a.m. When he arrived, he started feeling disoriented and confused. He had a hard time remembering where he was headed next. Fortunately for Oltmans, five post office workers came to his aid. He has since recovered and returned to work. On Tuesday, he was in attendance as those five post office workers were recognized by the Postmaster General Heroes’ Program. Omaha Postmaster Keith Reid presented letters of commendation to the five — Steve Shea, Terri Safarik, Vicki Krayneski, Pauline Conrad and Jeff Diedrich — at a reception. About 70 people attended the event at the Papillion-La Vista post office.”  

Lawmakers seek information on drug risks to postal workers

Safety.BLR.com - "Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have requested an audit to examine how the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is training and preparing its workforce to respond to the risk posed by the illegal shipment of synthetic opioids. In a letter to Tammy Whitcomb, acting USPS inspector general, the chairman and ranking member of the committee write, “The safety of the nation’s 600,000 postal service employees is of critical importance and we would like to understand the measures the postal service has put in place to mitigate these evolving threats.” Specifically, the lawmakers note concern about the escalating importation of drugs including fentanyl, which they describe as a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. In June, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released a video warning emergency responder about the dangers of fentanyl and urged extreme caution. In the video, the acting head of DEA warns views to assume the worst and to not touch the substances or their wrappings without the proper personal protective equipment.”

Postal inspector: About 60 pounds of meth mailed to Guam this year

Pacific Daily News - “So far this year, U.S. Postal Inspectors have intercepted at least 60 pounds of methamphetamine mailed to Guam, according to Kevin Rho, assistant inspector in charge with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s San Francisco Division. Rho said that, for Guam, the amount of meth sent through the mail has increased during the last 10 years.”

Nurses Welcome AFL-CIO Call for Medicare for All Resolution Pledges to Make Health Care for All ...

Common Dreams - “National Nurses United today hailed adoption of a resolution by the AFL-CIO at its convention in St. Louis, declaring that “we will support legislation that guarantees health care as a human right through an improved Medicare for All.” Adopted by unanimous vote, the resolution said the Medicare for all system “must guarantee everyone can get the health services they need without exclusions or financial barriers to care.” To achieve that, we will engage with all affiliate bodies and constituency groups to win. . .  Medicare for All. The AFL-CIO resolution subsumed a resolution brought to the convention by NNU, together with the Amalgamated Transit Union, American Postal Workers Union, Association of Flight Attendants, American Federation of Government Employees, California School Employees Association, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, United Auto Workers, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, and Utility Workers Union of America.”

AFL-CIO's Trumka puts Democrats on notice

Fox Business - "The AFL-CIO—the largest union in the United States—is holding its convention in St. Louis, Mo., this week, and its president, Richard Trumka, has been reelected by its members. Trumka, who won his third four-year term, is putting the Democratic Party on notice, saying the nation's largest labor federation cannot count on its support in a blanket fashion anymore. “We’ll find hope and opportunity for working people, not inside the major political parties, but inside our movement and our communities,” the AFL-CIO president said Tuesday on Twitter. President Donald Trump and Trumka have found common ground on issues such as renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), building the Keystone XL pipeline and infrastructure spending.”

As AFL-CIO convention opens, Trumka emphasizes need to battle income inequality

People's World - “Income inequality and the wage gap are far more than simply unfair according to Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. In a talk with labor communicators here this weekend at the International Labor Communications Association convention just before the opening of the AFL-CIO’s convention, Trumka said income inequality is “tearing apart” not just the United States but the entire world.

‘Everything is at stake:’ California unions brace for a Supreme Court loss

Sacramento Bee - “California labor leaders sound almost apocalyptic when they describe a looming Supreme Court case that many of them concede likely will cost them members and money. “Everything is at stake,” says Yvonne Walker, president of Service Employees International Local 1000, state government’s largest union. “It’s a blatant political attack,” says Eric Heins, the leader of the massive California Teachers Association. “That’s a way that the corporations are trying to take our legs out from under us,” says Kim Cowart, a state registered nurse and SEIU union leader...”

Union solution to Janus case: Wall-to-wall internal organizing

People's World - “Key unions representing state and local government workers are responding to the looming threat of a devastating U.S. Supreme Court decision with wall-to-wall internal organizing.”

Rate of people without health insurance rises for first time since 2014

The Hill - “The percentage of people who do not have health insurance rose to 12.3 percent in the third quarter of the year, the first such rise since ObamaCare took effect in 2014. The hike in the uninsured rate, up 1.4 percent according to Gallup since the beginning of the year, comes as the GOP Congress has sought to repeal the law and as President Trump has threatened to allow its implosion...”

Want to Get Back to Normal? Strong Unions Are Key

The American Prospect – Op-ed AFSCME President Lee Saunders - “Daily flirtations with nuclear war. Suspending freedom of the press. Fifty-nine people executed during a country music concert. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching openly in the streets. American citizens begging for their government’s help after a storm wiped their hopes and dreams off the map, only to then be threatened with revocation of that aid because Wall Street wants its money. Foreign powers sabotage our elections; our leaders sabotage our health care because of an ill-conceived campaign promise.  Saying “This isn’t normal” has become clichéd, but finding solutions to get us back to normal isn’t yet commonplace.

We don’t have to look too far to find those solutions. They are right beneath our feet. For 240 years, these solutions have built a strong, stable foundation for our democracy. Equality is one brick. Justice is another. One person, one vote; freedom of speech, religion, and the press; free and fair elections; separation of powers; an independent judiciary—these are all bricks that help form the base of our nation. Our nation’s institutions are the mortar that stabilize and hold these bricks together: public schools, churches, the military, community organizations—and unions.”

What would happen if Amazon brought 50,000 workers to your city? Ask Seattle.

The Chicago Tribune - “Amazon.com has driven an economic boom in Seattle, bestowing more than 40,000 jobs upon a city known for Starbucks coffee and Seahawks fandom. Its growth remade a neglected industrial swath north of downtown into a hub of young workers and fixed the region, along with Microsoft before it, as a premier locale for the Internet economy outside Silicon Valley. Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in the United States, a company town with construction cranes busily erecting new apartments for newly arriving tech workers. Google and Facebook have joined Amazon in putting large offices here.”

Post-hurricane cleanup could kill more workers than storms themselves

The Guardian - “More workers could die from the long-term effects of cleaning up after hurricanes Harvey and Irma than were killed by the storms, according to a nationwide network of workplace health and safety groups. The mainland US death toll for the two hurricanes, which battered Texas and Florida in August and September, now stands at approximately 200 people. But according to Jessica Martinez, executive director of National Council of Occupational Safety and Health (Cosh), a nationwide network of workplace health and safety groups, a greater number of people will die cleaning up in their wake “if more resources aren’t put into health and safety training from post-cleanup”. And local work safety groups said federal officials have been conspicuously absent from meetings about worker safety.”

UAE first Arab country on global postal services index

Gulf Today - United Arab Emirates - “The UAE has been ranked first among Arab countries in terms of quality and performance of postal services. Chairman of Emirates Post Group, Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi, said that the UAE’s top regional ranking on the Integrated Index for Postal Development, 2IPD, is a great achievement, and constitutes a new element on the postal policy map for the future, according to the global perspective. Emirates Post is able to contribute and participate strongly and effectively in the development of postal services locally and abroad, he added.”

Mediator picked to resolve Royal Mail pensions row with union

Reuters  – United Kingdom - “Royal Mail and the Communications Workers Union have appointed Lynette Harris of Britain’s Central Arbitration Committee to mediate in a row over plans to replace the company’s defined benefit pension scheme. The talks, which will cover pay, pensions and other issues, will run for seven weeks and could be extended in order to reach a deal, Royal Mail said in a statement on Wednesday. The CWU has been at odds with Royal Mail since April over its plans to save billions of pounds on its pension contributions and has attempted to call a strike.”