Vote for 'Issues that Can Unite Us' on Election Day
(This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)
By Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard
The AFL-CIO Convention last October called for a break with the politics of the “lesser of two evils” that currently dominate U.S. elections. The 2018 mid-term election is an opportunity to implement these words and focus around important issues, directed by APWU National Convention actions and principles of our APWU Constitution.
What are some of those issues that can unite us across the political spectrum?
1) Protection of postal and federal workers’ benefits: The White House proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 was introduced in February and is an assault on our pay and benefits (read APWU Web News Article 17-2018 for more details).
2) Health care as a human right: “Medicare for All” works in countless other countries, providing better access to health care, lower costs and better outcomes, including life expectancy.
3) Union Rights: Workers should be able to unionize without fear of harassment and retaliation for organizing a union.
4) Education for all: Higher education should be available for all who want to obtain it – without economic obstacles or massive student loan debt.
5) Democratic rights: Get big money out of politics. Voting rights are being diminished and restricted. Vote-by-Mail can be part of the solution of defending the precious right to vote.
6) Clean water, clean air and a livable planet: All of us have a stake in a planet that can sustain future, healthy life.
Enemies of the labor movement disparage us for getting involved in politics. Those same critics waste no time – or money – buying political favors to enrich themselves, their corporations and their stakeholders. Look no further than the roughly $56 million dollars spent on lobbying in the final quarter of 2017 to ensure the passage of the disastrous tax bill. No one will defend our interests unless we do.
The APWU encourages all of you to get more engaged, organized and mobilized in local and state issue-based ballot initiatives, electoral “referenda” and legislative actions such as raising minimum wages, paid sick leave, health care for all, Vote-by-Mail and funding of public services.
(For a full list, please visit the Legislative & Political Department’s page)
The Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756) – Solves the disastrous postal pre-fund mandate. The APWU supports this bill moving through the legislative process – it has advanced to the House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees.
The Postal Service Reform Act of 2018 (S. 2629) – There are many positive elements in this proposed legislation that the APWU supports as a basis for further legislative action. This includes addressing the unfair and absurd pre-funding mandate for future retiree health care costs.
Postal Service Financial Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 760) – Allows USPS to invest a portion of the Retiree Health Benefit Fund to better match medical inflation and significantly reduce future liabilities.
Medicare For All (H.R. 676 & S. 1804) – Ensures universal access to high-quality affordable health care for all Americans, regardless of employment, income or health care status.
Vote by Mail Act (S. 1231 & H.R. 2669) – Requires every state to provide registered voters the opportunity to vote-by-mail. By utilizing America’s most trusted government agency, voting by mail can reduce election-related expenses and is proven to increase voter participation.
The PAGE Act (H.R. 3257) – Strips union representation and protections from new postal and federal employees, making them “at-will” employees, subject to discipline or termination at management’s discretion.
National Right-to-Work Act (H.R. 785) – Removes the requirement for employees to join a union/pay dues as a condition of employment. This would seriously reduce a union’s collective bargaining power.