Reaching Out to Postal Workers, Other Hurricane Katrina Victims
09/08/2005 - APWU members are joining together to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which included thousands of postal workers and their families.
The APWU is urging union members to make contributions to the Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF), a charitable organization established by postal unions, management associations, and the USPS. It benefits active and retired postal workers who have suffered significant property loss or damage from natural disasters.
The need will be great: Approximately 6,000 postal employees lived in areas affected by the hurricane. Eleven days after the storm, 2,000 workers still had not contacted the USPS to report their whereabouts.
To donate to the fund, please make checks or money orders payable to PERF and mail them to PO Box 34422, Washington, DC 20043-4422. Donations also can be made via credit card on the organization’s Web site, www.postalrelief.com. The Postal Service announced Sept. 7 that it will make a $250,000 contribution.
Union members who want to do more than “just write a check” are encouraged to solicit contributions from their co-workers.
The union is also coordinating an effort to match postal families that need temporary housing with postal workers who can accommodate them. (See below.)
People who wish to volunteer their time or other services should contact their local Red Cross or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Because of the logistical problems associated with storing, sorting, transporting, and distributing goods, these organizations have indicated that volunteers should not collect or send supplies.
The APWU Web site, www.apwu.org, has been providing frequent updates with information for postal victims of the hurricane as well as ways union members can help.
Displaced workers have been asked to call the USPS at 1-877-477-3273 to provide contact information. Administrative leave continues for affected employees in some locations until further notice. Workers are advised to continue to check the status of their work location by calling 1-888-363-7462. Eleven days after the storm, more than 100 post offices were still closed or “have ceased to exist,” and almost 200 were offering only partial services.
“We are deeply saddened by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina,” said union President William Burrus. “APWU members and other postal workers have responded to the hurricane with an outpouring of offers of support and donations. We thank each and every member who has contributed to the relief effort – but a great deal remains to be done.”
Members Housing Members
Efforts are under way to find temporary housing for APWU members and other postal employees who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
APWU Human Relations Director Sue Carney is compiling a list of APWU members and postal workers near disaster and shelter areas who are willing to open their homes for this purpose. The effort is being coordinated with Southern Regional Coordinator Frankie Sanders.
Individuals who are willing to volunteer should call (202) 842-4271. Please be prepared to provide contact information, your APWU local, the number of adults and children you can house, and for how long.
Modified Work-Week Update
The APWU’s five regional coordinators are asking local presidents who are interested in developing modified work-week programs to complete a form and return it to their coordinator no later than Sept. 30. The forms were mailed to locals in late August, and are available on the union’s Web site, at www.apwu.org.
The APWU-USPS contract extension agreement, ratified Aug. 5, provides for the establishment of a minimum of 18 pilot sites during the term of the extension. Modified work-week programs allow employees to select work schedules of four 10-hour days.
The regional coordinators will be working with management to formulate rules for implementation of the program. The coordinators will use the completed forms to provide USPS management with a list of potential modified work-week sites.