Union Vows to Escalate Fight To Preserve Postal Service
APWU members vowed to escalate the fight against the Postal Service’s plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery on the fourth day of the union’s 20th Biennial National Convention, unanimously approving a resolution to engage in “rallies, marches, and pickets” in concert with other unions and public interest organizations.
Paul Felton, a member of the 480-481 Area Local, spoke in favor of mobilizing union members for legislative rallies. Recalling a demonstration many years ago, he said, “What I remember most about the trip to Washington was not the effect we had on [former Rep.] David Bonior, but the impact we had on a group of employees and members that came with us and went back on the workroom floor and spread the word.”
“I believe these mobilizations are valuable for the effect they have on our membership,” he said.
Delegates also approved a resolution that would allow the Postal Service to use its $75 billion overpayment to the Civil Service Retirement System to offset the requirement to pre-fund the retiree healthcare obligations. A bill to fix postal finances (H.R. 5746), which was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), would achieve this goal.
The convention also adopted resolutions considered by the Maintenance, Motor Vehicle, and Support Services conferences.
In other convention action, delegates approved a measure to engage in “more meaningful action” to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and support our troops. “We demand our nation keep its promise to our veterans by ensuring they are afforded quality jobs with living wages” and that service-connected medical conditions be recognized without requiring veterans to take extraordinary measures to prove the connection, the resolution said.
Delegates also voted to oppose Arizona’s controversial immigration bill (S.B. 1070), and to support comprehensive immigration reform.
Delegates Pays Tribute To APWU Members We Lost
APWU delegates and friends honored fallen union sisters and brothers at a memorial and prayer service on Aug. 22 sponsored by the Human Relations Department.
The theme was “Fight for the Living,” and featured presentations by John R. Smith, former APWU Retirees Director; Marcus Smith of the Detroit District Area Local, and James Scoggins, National Business Agent, Clerk Division.
APWU members who passed away since the last convention were remembered, with special tributes to Roy Pacifico, President, Colorado Springs Area Local; Doug Sapp, President, Northern Virginia Area Local; Chris Santos, President, Idaho Postal Workers Union, and
Shirley McLennan, former Clerk Division National Business Agent.
The program also featured remembrances of APWU members killed in action and family members of union members who died while serving their country.
APWU Auxiliary Raises Money, Spirits
Members of the APWU Auxiliary had a busy week of training and fundraising — conducting workshops and collecting contributions for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The Auxiliary is an organization of union members’ friends and families.
On Aug. 22, auxiliary members kicked off the convention with workshops for Auxiliary presidents, secretaries, legislative aides and editors, as well as for first-time delegates. A “bits and pieces” seminar was held to share information about the projects chapters are carrying out.
During convention week, the Auxiliary raised more than $10,000 for the children’s hospital and collected hundreds of stuffed animals, coloring books, and crayons to give to children receiving care there. The Auxiliary chose the hospital because it provided excellent care to Fanchon Favors, granddaughter of APWU member Regina Favors. Fanchon, an Auxiliary member who has volunteered at Michigan State APWU conventions, was treated for a brain tumor in 2006. Now 11, she’s continuing to recover and will attend the check presentation.
A raffle was held for a quilt bequeathed to the APWU by former National Auxiliary President Thelma “Bubbles” Jensen. The quilt was sent to the convention by Auxiliary member Myrnaloy Smith, who asked that the piece of history be used to raise money for local and state Auxiliary chapters.
Young Activists Watch and Learn
Union members age 35 and under said their first convention gave them insight to the innerworkings of the APWU.
Braden Pelky and Wendy Nesmith, members of the Eugene (OR) Area Local, said observing the debates and engaging in discussions with delegates from their state was helpful. While both are active in their local, the program motivated them to become more involved.
“It’s helpful to see the discussions on a national level,” Pelky said. “Being here makes me want to get a lot more involved when I get home.”
Justine Cool, a member of the Billings (MT) Area Local, said being a non-voting spectator gave her the chance to focus on the issues at hand.
“It takes the pressure off, not having to vote,” she said. “I can see what’s going on.”
Daniel Artherton, a member of the Utah Area Local, said the national convention was a lot different than he anticipated.
“I didn’t expect so much participation on the floor,” he said.
Artherton said he was excited to return to his local and, for the first time, join the other delegates in reporting on the resolutions adopted this week.
Retirees Meet and Greet
At Conference, Reception
On Aug. 21, APWU Retirees gathered for a conference where they discussed issues affecting senior citizens, such as Social Security, Medicare, and health care reform.
Retirees Department Director Judy Beard led participants in a seminar on health and retirement security, and stressed the importance of staying involved with the union after retirement from the Postal Service.
Beard said regular meetings and conference calls are crucial in order to exchange important information and to help the department grow. She also urged delegates to contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to support retiree benefits.
Retirees were honored at the meeting for their dedication to the APWU. Beard recognized chapters for holding educational seminars and workshops; acknowledged the National Executive Board’s resolution to recognize March as Older Americans Month; and thanked the retirees who participated in the department’s photo contest.
Following the seminar, retired members mixed business with pleasure, socializing and concluding Saturday’s conference with an afternoon reception honoring APWU President William Burrus.
Credentials Committee Report
As presented by Chairperson Geneva Greenlee of the Indiana APWU, the preliminary report of the APWU Credentials Committee for Thursday, Aug. 26, is as follows: The 20th Biennial Convention’s 2,419 delegates represent 359 locals, 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Also in attendance are 84 national officers and five Retirees Department delegates.
2010 APWU Convention Highlight Videos