APWU COPA, the union’s Committee on Political Action, was created to raise voluntary political campaign contributions from our union’s active, retired and Auxiliary members to support the campaigns of candidates for public office.
Campaign contributions from members of organizations who give through a fund such as a political action committee often have a major influence on congressional elections, thereby influencing votes on many important issues. The APWU must have a strong voice in political affairs, and we must support the elected officials who advance our interests and help defeat those who oppose them. If we sit on the sidelines, organizations that oppose our goals will go unchecked.
Simply put, our union has too much at stake to turn a blind eye.
Over the last 20 years, building a strong COPA fund has become a major priority for the APWU. With the support of tens of thousands of APWU members, COPA raised more than $2.5 million during the 2007-2008 election cycle. As a result, our voice on Capitol Hill—which in the past was just a whisper—can now be heard.
Thanks to the generous contributions of many members—and an even larger percentage of our retirees—legislators are now aware that the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, is a political force to be reckoned with.
Every APWU or Auxiliary member or retiree who contributes to COPA is vitally important—no matter the size of his or her contribution.
What COPA Does With Your Contributions
Every contribution is recorded in our computer system and deposited directly in COPA’s bank account. By law, COPA funds may not be co-mingled with other APWU funds. The Secretary-Treasurer’s Department is responsible for administering the COPA account, and employees in APWU’s accounting office make sure that individual and group contributors receive acknowledgements from President Burrus.
COPA committee members meet regularly to survey the political landscape and to determine the best possible use of COPA’s funds. We consult with headquarters staff and other APWU national, state and local officers about supporting incumbents and challengers. The COPA committee also consults the APWU Auxiliary, the Retirees Department, and retiree chapters to get their input.
Criteria for COPA’s Support
The COPA Committee uses many criteria to determine if, or how much, financial support will be given to candidates. Some criteria are:
For All Candidates—Incumbents and Challengers:
Locals Make it Happen
Members’ contributions to COPA continue to be strong, particularly in response to various proposals to cut postal pay and benefits that continually surface in the ongoing postal “reform” debate. We must constantly keep the COPA war chest full, even in non-election years, to help protect our jobs, wages, benefits and collective bargaining rights.
Across the country, locals have established COPA fundraising programs. Many have developed innovative and effective ways to raise COPA funds through special events, such as golf tournaments, dinners, 50-50 drawings and raffles. Many locals promote COPA in their local publications, and they often compete with other locals to see which local can top the other. What is your local doing?
On the state level, competitions at conventions have proven to be very successful. State organizations also request COPA funds in their publications. The fundraising efforts of each state have been charted in The American Postal Worker, our union’s national magazine, to assist them in monitoring their progress.
Thanks to Retirees and Auxilary Members
COPA’s most loyal contributors have always been APWU retirees, and that trend continues. Proportionally, retirees are our most frequent and regular contributors.
Nor can we cannot overlook the involvement of our APWU Auxiliary members in COPA fund-raising. In addition to running their own COPA campaigns, Auxiliary members continue to assist local and state fund-raising efforts.
Building a strong COPA fund is truly team effort.
APWU COPA Committee
Cliff Guffey, President and COPA