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Help and Hope for Veterans

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.) 

This winter, the APWU and community volunteers joined the Veterans Administration (VA) to give help and hope to veterans at the 19th annual Winterhaven Stand Down. This was the eighth consecutive year that APWU officers and staff participated in the event – providing assistance to hundreds of veterans in need.

More than 700 homeless and at-risk veterans were transported from area shelters and off the streets. When they arrived to the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center, volunteers greeted them with a hot breakfast and coffee, kind smiles, handshakes, words of encouragement and expressions of gratitude for their service.

Contract Negotiations:

A Break from Tradition

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Contract negotiations between the American Postal Workers Union and the United States Postal Service got underway on Feb. 19 in a dramatic break with tradition.

Joining the APWU at the opening session were actor-activist Danny Glover and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who made brief remarks following a statement by President Mark Dimondstein. National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando joined APWU negotiators at the bargaining table as well.

The presence of special guests was designed to send a message: The U.S. Postal Service belongs to the people, and the people have a stake in the union’s fight to protect and strengthen a great national treasure.

Say 'No' to Means Testing

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The services that Americans depend on are often on the chopping block. When it comes to seniors, attacks on Social Security and Medicare are just the tip of the iceberg. Who exactly is standing up for retirees?

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Doris O. Matsui (D-CA) recently wrote a letter to President Obama, urging him “to work to strengthen and improve Social Security and Medicare benefits.” Schakowsky, who spoke at our last convention, also addressed concerns about the “Chained CPI” (Consumer Price Index) and proposals for cutting benefits through “means testing” – a phrase you will hear often during the 114th Congress.

So what exactly is “means testing” for Social Security and why are we opposed to it?

Full Disclosure Required

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Postal employees are hardworking and giving. Many hold down two jobs. Some run a side business or help with a family business, while others volunteer for their favorite charities.

These activities are not something we would typically need to divulge, but the law requires individuals who are injured on the job and collecting wage-loss compensation (WLC) to disclose all sources of income, paid and unpaid work activities, business interests and volunteer services to the Office of Workers Compensation (OWCP).

Failure to report or attempts to conceal income and activities can result in forfeiture of benefits and criminal prosecution under the False Claims Act or other applicable laws.

The Fight for Pay Equity

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.) 

The Equal Pay Act, signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, made it illegal to pay men and women working the same job different salaries. Unfortunately, it did not close the wage gap.

When the act was passed, women were earning an average of 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. Today, while women hold nearly half of the jobs performing similar work, women earn about 78 cents for every dollar a man earns – a gap that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages.

Excerise Your Precious Right to Organize

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Organizing is our union’s strength and essential to our survival. When contract negotiations take place, inevitably non-members ask questions about issues that are discussed during bargaining.

That’s a great opportunity to remind non-members that only union members have input into negotiations. It’s also a good time to point out that union members are forced to pay non-members’ share of the costs associated with negotiating and enforcing the contract.

We all know the phrases, have seen the posters and read the posts on social media. “Strength in Solidarity,” “Union Power” and “United We Bargain, Divided We Beg.”

It's Not Too Late

Join the Battle to Save America's Postal Service!

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The time to act is now! On Nov. 14, 2014, our national day of action, we had protests at 150 sites and at least one activity in every state. It was one of our biggest turnouts. We appreciate those who stood on the front lines and spoke out against management policies that are destroying our communities, our jobs, and the Postal Service.

Contract Negotiations:

Our Members Expect Change

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Editor's Note: Below are excerpts from President Dimondstein's opening statement at contract negotiations.

The American Postal Workers Union welcomes this opportunity to represent approximately 200,000 postal workers in these important negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Few in this room were postal employees during the days of “collective begging.” But we know the history: Forty-five years ago, the unions representing postal workers had no authority to negotiate over wages, benefits and conditions of employment. Instead, postal workers’ livelihoods were subject to the whims of politicians. Many postal workers qualified for public assistance.

Today – since the advent of true collective bargaining, which was gained as a result of the postal strike in 1970 – postal workers’ lives are vastly improved. And representatives of our union today sit across the bargaining table from management as equals – not because we have important titles – but because we have a union sustained and supported by our members.

How You Can Fight Money in Politics

03/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Postal workers’ allies in the 114th Congress are attempting to reverse the drastic slowdown of the mail caused by postal management’s decision to lower service standards and reconfigure mail processing, effective Jan. 5.

Rep. Dave McKinley (R-WV) introduced House Resolution 54 on Jan. 27. Submitted with bipartisan support, the resolution states that the Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to restore the service standards that were in effect as of July 1, 2012.

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