The Attacks From All Sides Can Only Be Fought Through Solidarity
(This article first appeared in the July-August 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)
By Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard
White House Proposal to Privatize the Postal Service
In June, the White House proposal, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” was released. This proposal puts forth a restructuring plan for the federal government which includes the privatization of the Postal Service. It was crafted around a slew of untruths including the implication that the Postal Service relies on taxpayer dollars.
We know the USPS is funded by the sale of its products and doesn’t use taxpayer dollars. We need to to educate our co-workers, communities and public officials every chance we get. The Postal Service belongs to the American people. It remains one of the highest rated and most trusted government services, and the call to privatization by the White House mirrors the agenda of the Heritage Foundation and its wealthy corporate backers.
The White House issued an Executive Order in April creating a “Task Force” to evaluate the finances of the Postal Service. President Dimondstein and I met with the Task Force in June to present our recommendations (as did the other postal unions). As we await the final report of the Task Force, we are concerned their recommendations will echo the call to privatization, especially since political appointees are influencing both processes.
The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Jeff T.H. Pon, sent a letter dated May 4th, 2018 to the Speaker of the House of Representatives in pursuit of pay and benefit cuts for federal and postal employees, active and retired. These unfair cuts include:
- Increased Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) contributions by 1 percent a year up to 7.25%
- Elimination of the FERS Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and reducing Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) COLAs by 0.5%
- Elimination of the Social Security retirement supplement and significantly reducing retirement benefits by using your high five salary average in lieu of the current high three years.
We worked with allies and successfully fought back OPM’s attempt to add these catastrophic provisions to the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA).
These attacks demonstrate the need for our membership to to remain actively engaged in the political process and to stand in solidarity with other organizations. In anticipation of attacks such as these, the Legislative Department launched APWU Legislative and Political Trainings. These trainings are designed to re-energize our members and create a path for each of us to get involved. Kicking off in March and ending this June, the Legislative and Political Department brought our training to 25 states and the District of Columbia.
Legislative Events at the APWU National Convention
With the APWU National Convention right around the corner, we invite you to join the Legislative and Political Department at three important sessions:
Political Action Session
Sunday, August 19 from 3:30 pm to 5 pm
A panel of speakers will discuss how to build a broad movement with a progressive agenda for workers. Speakers will address the fight for workers’ rights in 2018, ranging from the teacher strikes to the fight for $15.
COPA Night – A Part y with a Purpose to Thank Our Eagle , Capitol and Presidents Club Contributors
Tuesday, August 21 from 7 pm to11 pm
2018 Midterm Election Briefing
Thursday, August 23 from 8 am to 9:15 am
Be a part of the Union Excellence Team as we discuss the AFL-CIO Get Out the Vote (GOTV) program, community election efforts, ballot initiatives, and Hatch Act guidelines.
For a list of APWU’s legislative priorities, please visit apwu.org