Research & Education Dept.
American Postal Worker Magazine Articles
Fewer Union Members Means Lower Pay for All
In the decades after World War II, the labor movement greatly improved pay, benefits and working conditions not just for unionized workplaces, but for the nation’s entire workforce. The better pay and benefits that unions helped establish for blue- and white-collar workers in every industry helped build the great American middle class. But in recent years that trend has been reversing: Union membership has been declining, and the American Dream — home ownership, good jobs, and retirement security — has become elusive for millions of working families. The statistics on declining union membership paint a bleak picture.
Right-to-Work? – Wrong!
Right- to-work” sure sounds good. But “right-to-work” laws, which are being promoted and passed in many states around the country, are wrong for workers and wrong for America. These laws make it optional for workers covered by union contracts to help pay for the expenses unions incur protecting workers’ rights.
Starting a Small Business
Starting a business is an exciting proposition, but it’s also an incredibly challenging undertaking.It involves extensive planning, making key financial decisions, and completing a series of legal activities.
Applying for Federal Financial Aid
College students and their families are facing increasing tuition rates, and figuring out how to pay for a college education is more challenging than ever. But opportunities to pay for education are available from the government through the U.S. Department of Education. To take advantage of such opportunities, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Do You Suffer From Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is briefly interrupted during sleep. Breathing pauses can last between 10 to 20 seconds and can occur frequently during the night. Chronic sleep deprivation from sleep apnea causes daytime sleepiness, slow reflexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents. Sleep apnea can also lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.
Earn a Business Degree Online
Union members who are interested in starting a business, improving the performance of an existing business, or who are simply interested in acquiring business knowledge can do so by earning an online Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from the National Labor College.
Attend a Pre-Convention Workshop
The Research & Education Department is proud to announce that the APWU is sponsoring its 13th Educational Conference, a National Convention event that provides union members with a wealth of information to take home to their locals and state organizations. Twenty-one workshops will be offered on Friday, Aug. 17, the day prior to craft meetings, at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 S Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90071.
End Unwanted Telemarketing Calls
Have you ever sat down to a peaceful dinner only to be interrupted by a call from a telemarketer? If so, you’re not alone. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the National Do- Not-Call Registry in June 2003 in response to consumer complaints about unsolicited telemarketing calls.
Surviving an Earthquake or a Hurricane
This year’s devastating natural disasters demonstrate the importance of preparing an emergency plan, which can reduce the likelihood of serious injury or loss of life during an earthquake or hurricane. As I write this, we are still “recovering” from this year’s devastating weather effects. My prayers continue to go out to my APWU sisters and brothers and their families who were adversely affected. Listed below are tips to help you prepare before the disaster strikes:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a neurobiological anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors. Even though the compulsive behaviors seem irrational, the person with OCD is powerless to stop. It affects men, women, and children, and is the fourth most common psychiatric disorder. Approximately two to three percent of the U.S. population — or one in 40 adults and one in 100 school-aged children — have OCD.
Testing Your Home for Lead
Many houses and apartments built before 1978 contain high levels of lead, which can pose serious health hazards. The lead typically comes from the paint used in these dwellings. Federal law requires landlords and sellers to supply information on the effects of lead before renting, buying, or renovating pre-1978 housing, and buyers have up to 10 days to check for lead.
Stop the Cycle of Violence!
Many people believe that domestic violence is a private matter, but it’s not. It is a critical problem that affects us all. Domestic violence occurs in every community, and in workplaces and schools across the country. To solve this problem, we must end the silence and change our attitudes toward this type of crime.
We all face challenges and obstacles, and sometimes the pressure can be hard to handle. Especially now, as the excitement of the holiday season builds, we may feel overwhelmed and experience stress. In small doses, stress can be a good thing. It can motivate you to do your best and to stay focused and alert. But when life’s demands exceed your ability to cope, stress becomes a threat to both your physical and emotional well-being.
Recognizing Drug Abuse & Addiction
Drug abuse is a prevalent problem in our society. It involves the repeated and excessive use of chemical substances to achieve a certain effect. These substances may be “illicit” drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, or they can be prescription drugs, which are just as dangerous when used incorrectly.
Know Your Credit Score:
Credit card companies and lending institutions are tightening their approval standards, making it harder for people with low credit scores to get new lines of credit. Everyone should know their credit score, which is the number used by credit-card companies, lenders, and even many landlords, to assess a borrower’s reliability.
Post Convention Workshops:
The Research & Education Department is proud to announce that the APWU is sponsoring its 12th Educational Conference, a National Convention event that provides union members with a wealth of information to take home to their locals and state organizations. Twenty-seven workshops will be offered on Saturday, Aug. 28, the day after the conclusion of the National Convention in Detroit. The seminars, like the convention itself, will be held at the Cobo Center.
The State of U.S. Unions: At the end of 2008, union members accounted for 12.4 percent of employed wage-and-salary workers, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of workers belonging to unions rose by 428,000 to 16.1 million; which was a .3 percent increase over 2007.
Telemarketing Scam Protection: Consumers lose billions of dollars a year to telemarketing fraud. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages you to be skeptical about phone solicitations, and to be aware of a law that helps protect against deceptive and abusive telemarketing practices.
Sexual Harassment (Part 2): Employees who are victims of sexual harassment often fail to report it because they are embarrassed and think nothing will be done to stop it. They fear reprisals, being labeled a troublemaker or prude, or being ridiculed. If you are sexually harassed in the workplace, remember: It has more to do with power than with sex.
Sexual Harassment - Part 1: In Fiscal Year 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received approximately 14,000 charges of sexual harassment; nearly 12,000 were resolved. Victims received more than $47 million in damages, with some aggrieved individuals obtaining additional monetary benefits through litigation.
Effective Time-Management: The first step in managing your time effectively is to identify your goals and priorities. You must decide what you want out of life, and what you must do to get what you want.
Applying for Student Aid: Through Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, eligible students and their families can help fund post-secondary education via FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Conflict Resolution: Conflict is a serious disagreement of opinion with another person or an argumentative incompatibility of opinions and principles.
Cataracts: Who’s at Risk?: A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear crystalline lens inside the eye. Cataracts are usually associated with aging, but may also be a consequence of a disease such as diabetes, a side effect of medication, or the result of trauma.
The Decision: Quit Smoking: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44.5 million American adults are smokers, 24 percent of men, and 18 percent of women — slightly more than one out of five overall. The breakdown by race/ethnicity is whites, 22 percent; African-Americans, 23 percent; Hispanics 15.2 percent; Native Americans/Alaska natives 32 percent; and Asian- Americans, 10 percent.
Avoid the Crisis of Foreclosure: Millions of American homeowners are facing financial difficulties because of the way their mortgages are structured. Some borrowers did not understand the risks of a mortgage tied to fluctuating interest rates. Others borrowed more than they could afford, in anticipation of ever-soaring real estate values.
Post Convention Workshops: The Research & Education Department is proud to announce that the APWU will sponsor its 11th Educational Conference, a 2008 National Convention event that provides union members with a wealth of information to take home to their locals and state organizations.
Ensuring Financial Stability: A sufficient amount of money in savings accounts can protect you from unexpected financial hardships, such as those associated with illness or divorce.
Recognizing, Avoiding Burnout: Burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It can occur when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands.
‘Sister Study’ Update: The nation’s largest ongoing research project on the causes of breast cancer is still searching for sisters. Known as “The Sister Study,” the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) project needs 11,000 more women to volunteer a little time to help it reach its goal of 50,000 enrollees with sisters who had breast cancer. Nearly three years old, the Sister Study must meet its enrollment goal by the end of 2007.
Pregnancy Discrimination: In 2005, approximately 4,500 charges of pregnancy-based discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC resolved nearly all of them, and recovered an average of $2,700 per complaint. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978) is an amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,which first became law in 1964.
Building Self-Esteem: Of all the judgment calls we make, none are as important as the ones we make about ourselves. Low self-esteem can lead to a wide range of personal problems, often masking what is truly wrong, and resulting in underachievement, fear of commitment, alcohol or drug abuse, anxiety, and depression. How we feel about ourselves affects virtually every aspect of our lives.
An Opportunity to Earn a Degree: Because so much of the work can be done online, union members, officers, retirees, and staff can earn Bachelor of Arts degrees (B.A.), from the National Labor College (NLC) while continuing to hold full-time jobs, virtually anywhere.
Training Programs for 2007: To help APWU activists enhance their skills, the Research and Education Department will be providing several training programs in 2007.
A Preventable Cancer: September is “Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month,” and women are strongly urged to get screened for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the cause of virtually all cervical cancer, and which can be prevented.
Identity Theft: A Growing Problem: When someone uses your name, address, Social Security number, bank or credit card account number, or other identifying information without your knowledge, it is called identity theft and incidences of fraud and other crimes related to it are on the rise.
2006 Post-Convention Workshops: The March/April 2006 Issue of The American Postal Worker magazine decribes the wide array of training sessions to be offered in Philadelphia on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2006.
Financial Aid for Students: As the cost of college continues to escalate, many parents find that they do not have the funds or resources needed to assure that their children can pursue a higher education. They fail to take advantage of the numerous student aid programs available at the state and federal levels because they simply do not know what’s out there.
What to Do When Disaster Strikes: As I write this, we are still “recovering” from this year’s devastating hurricane season. My prayers continue to go out to my APWU sisters and brothers and their families who were adversely affected. Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. With preparation, you can have what you need and a plan in place that will serve you well in almost any emergency.
Developing Union Leaders: In Detroit this summer, the union, in partnership with Wayne State University, offered a week of “Leadership Training for APWU Presidents.” We consider these sessions significant to our goal to help local and state leaders run more effective unions. The training is designed to help participants acquire the knowledge and skills needed to meet the challenges of the future.
Cancer Research Project Deserves Union Support: We’ve all been touched by breast cancer. Whether we’ve personally experienced the disease or have a relative, friend, or co-worker who has had to deal with the challenge head on — we know the devastating effects of breast cancer.
Know Your Rights on the Job: Some USPS supervisors seem to enjoy issuing discipline. In many post offices, it appears that the more discipline supervisors issue, the higher they are promoted. It also seems that many employees accept unwarranted discipline simply because they are unaware of their rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Hypertension Awareness: Blood pressure is the force exerted by the bloodstream as it flows through the arteries. The pressure on the arterial walls varies throughout the day, and several factors can cause blood pressure to be dangerously high relative to an individual's size and hereditary background. When blood pressure stays high over an extended period of time it causes a condition known as hypertension.
Dealing With Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is on the rise in the United States. In all cultures the perpetrators of domestic violence are usually men and the victims are almost always women.
Are You at Risk for Diabetes? Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into the basic fuel for the cells in the body. The cause of diabetes is unknown, although genetic and environmental factors appear to play roles. Other factors include high blood pressure, weight gain, or giving birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds.
Home Fire-Safety Planning: Fire drills are a fairly commonplace event at schools and at many workplaces.Not enough families think to practice fire safety around the house, however, and it may be time to do so. Remember: You may not be able to prevent a fire, but you can develop an escape plan to minimize its impact.
Understanding Autism: Autism is a developmental disorder that severely impairs a person's ability to communicate and socially interact with others. It affects 500,000 Americans, occurring four times more often among boys than among girls. The cause is unknown.
Advance Directives Speak for You When You Can't Speak for Yourself: Less than 25 percent of Americans have expressed their thoughts in writing about how they want to be cared for at the end of their lives. Although most people avoid the subject, it's important to have an "Advance Directive" to ensure that your wishes are carried out if a serious illness deprives you of the capacity to make health-care decisions.
The Importance of Having a Will: More than 70 percent of Americans do not have a will or some other legal method for transferring their property after their deaths. If you die without leaving a will, state law determines what happens. Therefore, if you want your wishes to be followed, it's important to write a will.
Celebrate Women's History Month: In 1908, labor unions and women's groups all over the world joined forces to recognize the accomplishments of the women who fought to end child labor and in support of the right of women to vote. International Women's Day has been celebrated ever since and continues to be an annual event on March 8.
Choosing a Childcare Provider: All parents, at one time or another, need to find someone to help with childcare. Good childcare arrangements can improve the quality of daily life for children and parents. Selecting childcare is an important decision for any family. While cost and convenience are important considerations in selecting care, you will want to think of what is best for your child's age, personality, abilities, and interests.