New Congress, Same Goals
(This article first appeared in the January-February 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
The 2016 election is over. It is time to revamp our efforts to secure legislation to benefit the working class and protect the public Postal Service. The results of the election have caused a divide in this nation. It is a divide we must work to end. It is now more important than ever to stand up and fight for what is right.
The APWU Constitution calls for our legislative efforts to go beyond just postal issues. We will continue to work on stopping the decline of the middle class, increasing the national minimum wage, making college more affordable, combating climate change, fighting for racial justice and increasing women’s rights.
There were some victories won by the labor movement and allied organizations. In four states, ballot initiatives backed by the APWU were passed to raise the minimum wage. Colorado, Maine and Arizona voters raised the minimum wage to $12 an hour. Washington residents voted to raise its minimum wage to $13.50 an hour. Citizens in Virginia also said “no” to amending its state constitution to include so-called “Right to Work” language.
In the Senate and House of Representatives, we welcome new allies and congratulate APWU supporters who kept their seats. Notable victories include newly elected Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada), Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire) and Tammy Duckworth (Illinois). Cortez Masto will be the first Latina Senator and Duckworth will be the first Thai-American woman to serve in the Senate.
With the Senate leadership unchanged, we will need to continue our discourse to ensure nominees to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors are champions of a strong public Postal Service.
It is critical that we increase our participation in the legislative process. On your 2017 membership cards is the phone number for the Capitol Hill switchboard, 202-224-3121. While we will continue to fight here in Washington, DC, it is imperative members of Congress hear from their constituents.
We ask APWU members to contact their representatives on both sides of the aisle. Educate them about our issues. Explain to them how their vote for or against a piece of legislation will impact your life.
While our legislative agenda may not be in line with those in control of the 115th Congress, our priorities remain the same. We will continue to fight for:
- Removal of the pre-funding mandate for retiree health costs,
- Restoring overnight mail service standards for local mail,
- Appointing postal leaders who champion a strong, public Postal Service,
- Expanding affordable financial services at the post office.
We will advocate for vote by mail so every eligible voter can cast their vote without barriers. We will work towards postal reform, which lets us keep our federal health insurance. We will stand against the privatization of Social Security and Medicare.
With a new President and a new Congress in 2017, it is more important than ever for our voices to be heard. Maintaining a vibrant public Postal Service impacts people in every corner of our country and should not be a partisan issue. Our goal, as always, is to support those who stand with us and to oppose those who seek to destroy our jobs.
To achieve this goal I am asking for your help. If you already contribute COPAmatically, I thank you for your ongoing support. If you have not yet enrolled, I urge you to sign up today.
Recently a COPA sign-up form for automatic payroll deduction was mailed to active members not currently signed up. If you did not receive it, have misplaced yours, or have questions, please call the Legislative and Political Department today, 202-842-4211, and a form will be mailed.
Remember, no amount is too small or too big. TOGETHER our voice will be strong.