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Turn Your Grief and Anger Into Action and Hope!

05/01/2015 -


Postal workers took matters into their own hands
in 1970 and made history.

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

By having hope, we inspire hope. if you wait until you have time, people and resources, you may miss out. If something must be done, we must do it now.

When you ask someone for a little bit of their spare time, they may actually be ready to give you their all. Maybe they were hoping someone would ask them to be a part of a big movement – something that would bring meaning to their life.

You have to renew your efforts every day: 90 percent of organizing is follow-up. Don’t talk at people; put them to work by asking them. We put our heart and soul into rooting out the injustices in our workplace. We need to fight those who want to crush our communities by degrading our jobs, destroying our living wage, and taking rights and benefits from us, our families and our neighbors.

Contract Negotiations: Union Members Say it with Stickers, Flyers and More

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)


Members of the San Jose Area Local
distribute flyers outside a post office.

Stickers and flyers and headbands, oh my!

As contract negotiations continue, union members from East to West and North to South have been spreading the word to postal management and postal customers, with APWU-themed materials.

Our demand: Good Postal Service! Good Jobs! Good Contract!

What We’re Fighting For

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Sisters and Brothers,

I am proud that our activist union is engaged and organizing in many good battles, including to:

  • Win a strong new contract;
  • Stop the delay of America's mail and keep plants open;
  • Continue the fight against the Staples-USPS dirty privatization deal;
  • Build the "Grand Alliance" of 73 national organizations united to save our public Postal Service;
  • Expand the Campaign for Postal Banking;
  • Work toward positive postal legislation, and
  • Mobilize to stop the "fast tracking" of bad trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)!

The Good, the Bad and Congress

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Congressional representatives should be serving us, the American people. Some members of Congress try to make things better for seniors and working families, while others attack our benefits and resources.

The good news: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Social Security Expansion Act, which would increase Social Security benefits by approximately $65 per month by using a formula that more accurately reflects cost-of-living increases that affect seniors. The bill also would require households with income over $250,000 to pay the 6.2 percent payroll tax required of most workers.

The bad news: The House Budget Committee introduced its proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, which contains cuts to Medicare beneficiaries. It also would privatize some aspects of the program by requiring vouchers. In addition, it would increase the contributions of postal and federal workers to their retirement – without an increase in benefits.

Every member of Congress should support budget proposals, resolutions and bills that protect America’s commitment to the working class, regardless of political party or affiliation.

Understanding Your Rights

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Many employees accept unwarranted discipline, simply because they are unaware of their rights. Sometimes out of fear of losing their job, or being harassed by their supervisor, employees let things go and hope for the best. But things often get worse – and before they realize what’s happening, they’re in trouble.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you know your rights.

Our Most Important Member: YOU!

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Organizing is not just about signing up new members – it’s joining with current members to ensure common success. Our camaraderie and solidarity will also motivate non-members to join the union.

Management will try to take advantage of any dissension among union members. Postal bosses take note of whether the membership is engaged and active or passive and disengaged. Managers look for every weakness they can find. Let’s show them our strength.

Union meetings are the place to air our differences, not on the workroom floor and definitely not in front of management. We might disagree, as any family does, but when one of us is wronged, we must defend each other. That’s the union way.

A Budget That Doesn't Add Up

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

In March, the Senate and House passed bills for 2016 and both are bad news for working Americans. The Senate version proposes $5 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years to Medicare, children’s healthcare, food stamps, earned income tax credits, child tax credits, Pell grants and Social Security, while increasing military spending. It also would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), claiming $2 trillion in savings – but inexplicably continues to count revenue from the ACA as income.

Overall, the Senate budget would cut non-defense discretionary programs almost 40 percent below the lowest level in 50 years!

Moving MVS into the Future

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The postal service is constantly evolving and with it, we must move the MVS Craft forward and into the future. As such, the duties of local craft directors and stewards are continually changing, intertwined between policing the contract, representing our members, and protecting our work.

While the APWU continues to work on converting Postal Support Employee (PSEs) into residual vacancies, it has become apparent that in many facilities the union has not been tracking duty assignments.

Many assignments may have been improperly reverted, in violation of Article 39; they may have been abolished, or not reverted at all. In several instances, local management has changed job IDs, making it difficult to track duty assignments. Consequently, numerous assignments have disappeared.

It is important for every MVS director and each steward to maintain an inventory of all duty assignments in their facility. This should include the job ID numbers for every bid.

When Complement Managers Make Contact, Union Calls Foul

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

As this issue goes to press, there is no sign that management is stopping or postponing the Network Rationalization Plan and the quest to systemically dismantle the Postal Service.

Back in 2011and 2012, when AMPs (Area Mail Processing) changes were first implemented and Article 12 impacts were issued, management referred to the massive cutbacks as “consolidations.” Now that the impacts have been devastating to employees and service, they are called “Network Rationalization.” No term could be more fitting.

Everything from the bogus figures in the reports – that haven’t changed since they were first issued two to three (some four) years ago – is wrong. The numbers weren’t correct then, and couldn’t possibly be correct now. The misrepresented findings are clearly “rationalized.”

Getting Credit for Our Work

05/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Many locals followed through on enforcing the July 9, 2014, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the conversion of PSEs and have given positive feedback.

The MOU includes an automatic remedy for violations of custodial staffing requirements: In facilities maintained by USPS custodians, if staffing fell short of 90 percent of the work hours shown on Line H of PS Form 4852, management is required to compensate custodial employees identified by the local union at the overtime rate.

When custodians are not properly assigned to the jobs they were hired for, everyone suffers. The cleanliness of the office deteriorates, the outside appearance of the office gets shabby, the cost of repairs rises, and sick leave usage increases. The mission of the Postal Service suffers – all because short-sighted local managers would rather short-staff an office and assign custodians to deliver mail.

Management’s failure to maintain the required staffing and the frequency of work performance resulted in disparities between the staffed-for hours and hours actually worked. Local managers now have to answer for the payments they were required to make to our members.

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