Union Launches Ad Campaign to Combat Consolidation
APWU News Bulletin #08-2006, July 26, 2006 | PDF
The APWU is taking its grassroots campaign against USPS “network realignment” to a new level by airing radio and television ads that warn of week-long delays in mail delivery.
Broadcast advertising began July 26, with radio and television commercials running in Beaumont (TX), Bloomington (IN), Cumberland (MD), St. Petersburg (FL), and Yakima (WA), cities where APWU activists have already taken steps to inform citizens about the negative effect USPS network consolidation plans will have on mail service for individual postal customers and small businesses.
APWU activists in these cities have enlisted support from elected officials, community organizations, commercial enterprises, and individual citizens.
“The radio and TV ads are only the opening salvo in what promises to be a long campaign,” said APWU President William Burrus. “The USPS plan was created without any input from the American people, whose mail service will deteriorate. The plan is the result of an effort by big mailers to reduce their own postage costs at the expense of all others.
“We are asking affected locals to build on their existing efforts by coordinating activities to coincide with the advertising campaign,” Burrus said. Locals are planning to conduct press conferences, hold leafletting events, submit Op-Ed articles and letters to their local newspapers, and to discuss the issue on local talk-radio and news shows.
“The ads will run in additional cities in the coming weeks and months,” the union president said.
While the ads are aimed at the general public, the campaign is also designed to reach decision-makers and “opinion shapers,” such as elected officials, local business leaders, and journalists, as well as USPS management.
Vowing to do “everything in our power to thwart the Postal Service’s network realignment plan,” the union’s National Executive Board approved a $5 per member dues assessment at a special meeting March 10. The assessment is helping to pay for the advertising campaign.
“We must use all the tools at our disposal to involve the residents of the affected communities in this effort,” Burrus said. “The Evolutionary Network Development plan is part of a dangerous mindset that has been embraced by top-level managers of the Postal Service. The commitment to serving the nation’s citizens is history: High-ranking postal officials now feel free to act as agents for the major mailers’ and their special business interests.”
Since October 2005, more than 40 postal facilities have been identified for consolidation of “some operations,” or for Area Mail Processing feasibility studies.
APWU Firm in Opposition to Employee-Opinion Surveys
With contract negotiations set to begin next month, APWU leaders and members are being asked to remind co-workers not to participate in management efforts to seek their opinions on workplace issues.
“The subjects addressed in ‘Voice of the Employee’ and other employee-opinion surveys should be discussed in labor-management meetings, where the concerns of all represented employees are considered,” said Greg Bell, APWU Industrial Relations director. “That is the purpose of these meetings — for workers to speak with a united voice, so that their message cannot be manipulated against their own interests.”
The Postal Service has misrepresented survey results in the past, Bell noted, by claiming during contract talks that workers’ responses supported management’s wage proposals.