Ask Me About A Grand Alliance!
(This article first appeared in the November-December 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
President Mark Dimondstein reported to delegates in his State of the Union speech at the union’s National Convention in August that A Grand Alliance “is now a reality and consists of more than 140 organizations, including 80 national labor, faith-based, community, environmental and civil rights organizations…
“The Alliance has brought their concerns directly to the Postmaster General, it has a social media presence, and recently concluded five regional field hearings on the importance of the public Postal Service to our communities. The public Postal Service, sisters and brothers, will only survive and thrive with the support of the people of this country and their fight to protect it and keep it.”
A new video highlighting the five Grand Alliance field hearings was unveiled at the convention. Delegates from the New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, San Jose, and Greensboro locals that hosted field hearings took to the stage to be recognized. Check out the video of the field hearings at apwu.org.
Rev. Terry Melvin, Secretary-Treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO and president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) told delegates, “CBTU is proud to be part of the Grand Alliance. We will stand with you, we will march with you, and we will defend every part of what we are doing… This Grand Alliance was formed to say it’s not just a worker issue, a union issue, even a community issues; this is a national issue. The Postal Service is in our veins, from which all activity flows. Without it, we all fail as a nation.”
Populist radio commentator Jim Hightower reminded delegates that democracy takes constant work, and that a strong, public Postal Service is central to a functioning democracy. He praised APWU for launching A Grand Alliance, saying, “It unites everyone who has a zip code and a mailbox. Your Grand Alliance says we really are all in this together. I think of the Alliance in terms of a little hardware store near my home in Austin, Texas, called Harold’s Hardware. It’s a little bitty place, not one of these big box stores, but it’s a great place…the slogan at Harold’s is, ‘Together, we can do it yourself.’ Now, that’s got to be our slogan, doesn’t it? Because we can’t do it ourselves, but together, we can do anything we set our minds to. We can take power back to the people.”
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka commended the activism of A Grand Alliance, saying “The Postal Service is vital, critical, essential for America, but your enemies, our enemies are on the attack. You and your brothers and sisters in the Grand Alliance have reversed the damaging and false narratives” that are used by corporate forces that threaten to dismantle the Postal Service.
At the Grand Alliance booth, delegates took the pledge to support a strong, public Postal Service, snapped selfies with the first Postmaster General Ben Franklin and collected materials, including a Question and Answer fact sheet for APWU members. They departed the convention eager and empowered to spread the work of A Grand Alliance to their union brothers and sisters and their communities.