Department & Division News

2018 Contract Campaign

'Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow'

(This article first appeared in the November-December 2017 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

The APWU’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Postal Service expires on Sept. 20, 2018. As part of the National Officers’ preparation for the upcoming negotiations, they issued a call-to-action for members to suggest an initial contract campaign slogan. Answering the call, members stepped up and spoke out.

Slogans came pouring into headquarters with over 1,500 members, mostly rank-in-file, taking action. Concern for the future, unity, respect and support for the union’s general bargaining goals were recurring themes. By the deadline, more than 2,500 entries were received, with some members entering multiple suggestions.

Around 1,300 All-Craft Conference (ACC) attendees got a chance to cast a ballot for their favorite pick of the five “finalist” slogans – determined by the National Executive Board. The winning slogan is “Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow,” submitted by Alfonso McFarlin, Jr., a member of the Houston Area Local Retiree Chapter.

ACC attendees vote for their favorite slogan

‘Work Together to Get What You Really Want’

Alfonso McFarlin, Jr,

After learning he won the 2018 Contract Campaign slogan contest, Alfonso McFarlin, Jr., kept asking himself, “Is this real?”

The Houston Area Local Retiree Chapter member explained that his slogan, “Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow,” embodies the spirit of not only hard work and good service, but also ensuring better pay and benefits for generations of future postal workers, as well as a strong public Postal Service.

“I believe in fighting for what’s right,” McFarlin said. “That’s what made me want to do this.”

McFarlin started working at the post office in 1980 and immediately joined the APWU. He worked as a clerk for 29 years before retiring on Nov. 1, 2009. Since then, he has been a dues-paying member of his retiree chapter.

He talked about how all postal workers deserve good benefits for their work – and how belonging to a union makes it possible. “Everyone should be protected,” McFarlin said. “With the union, you do better and you work better.”

McFarlin plans to take the three-day trip to Washington, D.C. to coincide with Opening Day of contract negotiations. He has some winning advice of his own for today’s postal workers, “Keep fighting! Everyone should work together to get what you really want.”

‘You Are the Union’

“Negotiations are not a mystery,” President Dimondstein said at the 2018 Contract Campaign Kick-Off event on Oct. 3 in Las Vegas. “We know we want decent wages and benefits, good job security, an end to subcontracting, ending the divisive three-tiered wage system and protecting so many of our great gains of the past… we want a better life for postal workers and our families.

“And on the other side – and it is a ‘side’ – there’s management,” President Dimondstein continued, “who wants us to make less in the worst conditions, with a more hostile environment. They want more non-careers. They want more sub-contracting. They want more privatization.

“So how do we win?” he asked the crowd. “We win through building power and leverage… When we are at the table, our strength comes from you, the members, because you do the work, and you are the union."

CAT Teams Are Forming

Recruitment for Contract Action Teams (CATs) began in the beginning of October at the All-Craft Conference (ACC). CATs are designed to involve union members in the fight for a good contract. This means sharing information on the workroom floor and winning community support for the struggle to secure better service and good jobs.

CATs can:

  • Share flyers with updates about negotiations and upcoming activities;   
  • Establish a text messaging group, email list or a newsletter;
  • Organize activities, such as T-shirt days, button days, sticker days, etc., to publicize the issues, and develop new ideas for building support for our goals;
  • Conduct outreach to potential allies beyond the Postal Service to explain why their support is needed.

Seventy teams were formed on the spot at the ACC and President Dimondstein spoke with local and state presidents to discuss the contract campaign and the CATs on Oct. 27. The next phase involves recruiting more CATs across the country. 

APWU members from the Mid Hudson New York Area Local in union gear during the 2015 Contract Campaign.

Local and state presidents who answer the call to establish CATs are requested to designate a coordinator to act as their liaison and assist CATs with efforts to share information on the workroom floor, as well as win community support for our struggle to secure better service and good jobs.

If you are asked to volunteer for a CAT, say “Yes!” It is more crucial than ever that the APWU’s collective power is exerted as members fight to secure a good contract during these challenging times. Contact your local or state president to find out how you can get on board!

“Every member has a role to play,” said President Dimondstein. “So build those Contract Action Teams, and send management a message that we plan to have a contract we can be proud of when we are done – one that advances the life of every APWU member, our families and the working class in general.”