APWU Installation of Officers
Burrus Issues a Call for Continued Progress
11/13/2007 - Although globalization and breakthrough technology have transformed the workplace, the APWU has enabled the workers it represents to pursue the American Dream without interruption, re-elected union President William Burrus said in an address at inauguration ceremonies in Las Vegas.
“Tonight we point with pride to the voluntary career choices of the employees we represent,” Burrus told union members during the Nov. 8 installation ceremony for successful candidates for the union’s national positions.
The event was the 10th official inauguration since the union’s formation in 1971. “We began the tradition of a formal installation in 1980 as President Moe Biller assumed the leadership of our union,” he said. “The objective was to instill a collective pride in our organization’s activities.”
The 85 elected officers — who will serve three-year terms — take an oath to serve postal employees. The union president said that “The bar will be high. Throughout the 37-year history of our union, our members have received first-class representation, progressing from the dark days before collective bargaining to the conditions presently enjoyed in every community in the country.
“Because of the reach of the Postal Service into every community, we have a universal presence,” Burrus said. “In the small towns of Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee and others, employees represented by the American Postal Workers Union are among the most highly compensated, with the best benefits of any workers in their communities.
“Through our efforts at the bargaining table, coupled with aggressive enforcement, we have moved ever forward... We did this together, and I salute each of the newly elected officers and pledge to continue our efforts in a cohesive force for the good of our membership.”
Burrus said that the union’s accomplishments include a budget surplus in each of the past four years and in excess of $1 million annually in contributions to the Committee on Political Action. This fund-raising capability helps make the 2008 U.S. elections an unprecedented “opportunity to achieve our political objectives.”
The recent appearance at the union’s All-Craft Conference by Bill Clinton was something that “highlights the progress that we have achieved.” The 40-minute address made by the former president “symbolizes that we have become a force in the political arena,” Burrus said. “I intend to assemble an APWU force unparalleled in our history to elect friends of labor to every branch of government.”
In a formal address to delegates to the conference earlier in the week, Burrus announced the APWU plans to hire “grassroots coordinators ” who will help implement the union’s political activities in each of the five regions. The coordinators, he said, “will combine the efforts, the interests, and the goals of our retirees, our activists, our locals and states, and individuals who are involved in the political process — organizing them into a single force to take our message to Congress and the president.”
In his inaugural address, Burrus again stressed the need to be as effective politically as in collective bargaining.
“The record is impressive;” the union president declared. “We have much to be proud of, with more work ahead.”