Convention Endorses Hillary Clinton
(This article first appeared in the September-October 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)
Delegates to the APWU 2016 national convention, representing a broad cross-section of the union’s membership, voted overwhelmingly to endorse Hillary Clinton for president and to “support her in every possible way.”
Following the endorsement vote, Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard read a letter from Clinton, where she expressed explicit support for postal workers and our goals, fully embracing the postal provisions in the Democratic Party Platform.
“If I am so fortunate to serve as president, I’ll work to relieve the pre-funding mandate for retiree health costs; restore overnight mail service standards for local mail; appoint postal leaders who champion a strong public Postal Service; and strengthen partnerships between the Postal Service, community banks, and credit unions to provide more American access to affordable financial services,” she wrote.
The former Secretary of State has expressed opposition to the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership), a trade deal that has been condemned by the entire labor movement, environmental groups and many others. She also has embraced several other positions the APWU endorses, including a $15 per hour minimum wage. She has a strong record of supporting voting rights, and has strengthened her support for making college affordable.
Trump is Anti-Worker
Many delegates voted to endorse Clinton because of their intense opposition to Donald J. Trump. The endorsement resolution noted that “the Republican nominee is anti-union, anti-worker, anti-women, anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Muslim and anti-American.”
But APWU President Mark Dimondstein is quick to point out that many blue-collar folks are drawn to Trump, not because of the divisiveness he stokes, but because of their frustration with “politics as usual.” They are outraged at the system and politicians that spawn detrimental trade deals while crushing workers at home and abroad.
Nonetheless, Trump’s record on issues of importance to working people is dismal. He opposes increasing the minimum wage and, in a Republican debate, said, “Wages are too high.”
And despite his alleged affinity for working people, Trump’s actions reveal his true stance: He refuses to recognize the union that workers at his Las Vegas hotel voted for, and he supports anti-union state laws.
Prior to the endorsement vote, several convention delegates praised the historic campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders – which also tapped into outrage over income inequality – and which was instrumental in advancing many of the policies that are now being advocated by Clinton and the Democratic Party.
A Personal Decision
In his State of the Union speech prior to the endorsement vote, Dimondstein said, “I fully respect that every individual’s choice at the ballot box is a personal decision.”
“Remember,” he said, “elections come and go. But the struggle continues. Whoever sits in the White House, the main challenge going forward will be to build a powerful movement for social and economic justice.”
“Postal workers should work to elect pro-worker candidates no matter which party they are from,” he said. “The APWU should also be involved in promoting issue-based ballot initiatives, such as living-wage provisions that uplift workers, our families and communities.”
'Don’t Sit on the Sidelines’
The message at a special briefing for union members in battleground states was clear: Don’t sit on the sidelines.
Take action this election season by volunteering with your Central Labor Councils, union locals, or community groups. There are many ways to participate: phone-banking, data-entry, poll-watching, door-knocking, etc. AFL-CIO Field Director Karen Gasper, who led the special briefing at the union’s National Convention, encouraged volunteers to sign up on the AFL-CIO’s website, WorkingAmericaVotes.org.
Kits will be mailed out to volunteers and will include flyers, postcards, “talking points,” and more. To obtain a kit, please visit APWULabor2016@apwu.org. If you don’t have Internet access, please call 202-216-2652. Volunteers are also encouraged to send photos of campaign activities to the email address above.
Another crucial task is making sure people are registered to vote. To obtain state-specific guidelines and resources, please visit 866OurVote.org/state.