About the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Task Force is a forum for APWU members to address
their unique problems and concerns in the workplace, union, and society.
Established in 1988 by an amendment to the APWU National Constitution,
its goals include: better communication, better representation; better
training, a better workplace, a better union, and building friendship.
Five regional representatives selected at the National Deaf/Hard of
Hearing Conference serve as spokespeople for
The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the USPS and APWU includes
a Memorandum of Understanding
[PDF], which outlines management's obligation to provide "reasonable
accommodation" to deaf and hard of hearing workers.
Important achievements of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Task Force include
winning rights at work, within the union, and in the community.
Reasonable Accommodations in Union Activities Include:
- National conventions use real-time captioning, enabling Deaf/Hard
of Hearing members to participate fully;
- All union videos offer closed captioning;
- TTY telecommunication devices are available at the union's national
headquarters and in the offices of all five APWU Regional Coordinators.
Reasonable Accommodations at Work:
- Visual light-alarm systems have been installed in many post offices;
- Vibrating beeper-pager systems are utilized in many post offices;
- Flashing lights, mirrors, and other safety and health items are
in use at many post offices.
Strides in Education and Communication:
- The Task Force has sponsored national, regional, state, and local
conferences on the rights of Deaf/Hard of Hearing union members;
- Task force members have taught workshops on subjects such as,
sensitivity training for the hearing APWU officers and stewards,
and steward training for Deaf/Hard of Hearing members.
- The Deaf/Hard of Hearing Task Force successfully lobbied for
the "ILY" ("I Love You" in sign language) postage stamp;
- The Task Force works with the AFL-CIO Workers with Disabilities
- The Task Force was awarded the "Spirit of NAD" award in 1996
from the National Association for the Deaf.
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