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'Stop Staples' Campaign Gains Momentum

05/01/2015 -

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

The American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) may be small in numbers, but its impact on the Don’t Buy Staples campaign could be huge. The 20,000 AFSA members select which companies their school districts purchase supplies from – and from now on they will not be getting them from Staples.

In a March 19 letter to Staples CEO Ron Sargent, AFSA President Diann Woodard wrote, “Educators know all too well what privatization means to the public and to public employees: Less service, higher costs, lower wages, and the elimination of good, stable jobs. It’s true for those who lead schools, and it’s true for postal workers.”

Several other groups joined the Stop Staples movement in March as well.

APWU Web News Article 090-2015

Senate Opposes USPS Service Cuts

APWU Calls Vote 'Significant Development'

05/01/2015 -

 

The Senate approved a motion on S. Con. Res. 11 introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that instructs budget conferees to insist on a deficit-neutral fund to halt mail processing center closures, restore overnight mail delivery, and protect rural services. A deficit-neutral amendment may not increase the nation’s deficit.

The non-binding instructions were approved 85-11 in a resounding bipartisan vote on April 15.

The Road to a New Contract

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

The road to contract negotiations has been a long one. The APWU began holding internal weekly meetings in August 2014; the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires May 20, 2015.

Since last summer, craft officers, the vice president, president, staff and I have met dozens of times to review the current contract, convention resolutions, the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM), grievances and other material.

We also held four Saturday study sessions with experts in economics, benefits and logistics to brief us on:

  • USPS finances;
  • Postal product offerings and markets, especially the package market;
  • The economy, wages, benefits, and productivity trends;
  • Health benefits, including previous USPS contract proposals on the subject, legislative proposals, the USPS health plan for non-career employees, the Affordable Care Act, and options for both employees and employers;
  • Postal banking and financial services.

These briefings marked the first time the APWU conducted in-depth study sessions for the full negotiating team.

Is Your Union Constitution in Conflict?

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

Your local union constitution contains the fundamental principles by which the local is governed.

Federal law requires local unions to adopt a constitution that has been approved by the members. Section 201(a) of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) states, “Every labor organization shall adopt a constitution and by-laws, and shall file a copy thereof with the Secretary [of Labor].”

Constitutions should address the following:

  • Objectives and Mission
  • Membership
  • Executive Board, Stewards and Committees
  • Duties of Officers
  • Salaries and Benefits (if any)
  • Meetings and Quorum
  • Elections
  • Dues and Fiscal Year
  • Budget
  • Membership Protection
  • Amendments and By-Laws

Mail Delivery Takes a Dramatic Dive

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

Across the country, postal customers are complaining that they’re waiting longer for their mail. And while postal management dismisses the complaints as isolated, the numbers tell a different story.

First-class mail delivery for the first seven weeks of 2015 declined dramatically compared to the first seven weeks of 2014, according to an analysis by David Yao, vice president of the Greater Seattle Area Local.

Yao examined data from the External First-Class Mail Measurement System (EXFC), which calculates the time it takes first-class mail to reach its destination and compares the results to USPS service standards. Since 1990, the Postal Service has contracted an independent organization to measure performance based on a sampling of single-piece letters, cards and flats. Currently, testing is performed by IBM Corporation.

Canadian Postal Workers Launch Boycott

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

Postal workers in the United States and Canada face many of the same struggles – including the threat of privatization.

Mirroring the Stop Staples campaign, one Canadian local president launched a boycott of Shoppers Drug Mart, the country’s largest pharmacy chain. Much like the Postal Service’s deal with Staples, Canada Post has partnered with the drug store for retail transactions, opening 73 franchises across the country.

Gordie MacDonald, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Breton Local 117, is asking residents of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, to withdraw their prescriptions from the drug giant.

In Historic Vote, Greece Elects Pro-Worker Party

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

Greece made history in January when it elected the pro-worker Syriza Party – the culmination of years of protests against dire economic conditions following the global financial crisis that began in 2008.

Syriza was formed in 2004, but became popular during the international economic downturn four years later, which was felt intensely in Greece.

In the 2000s, Greece ran a large deficit. When the recession hit, Greece’s main industries, shipping and tourism, were deeply affected, and debt mounted quickly.

Virginia Clerk is the Talk of His Town

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

Tucked away in the western corner of Virginia, just across the Kentucky border, is the sleepy town of Pound.

On a frigid Tuesday morning this past February, most residents were snowed in – but not 46-year-old Mike Combs. The Pound post office clerk trekked two-and-a-half miles to work that morning so he could open up and serve customers.

In fact, the APWU member’s service is so outstanding that customer Shannon Phillips reached out to The Coalfield Progress to sing his praises.

Carwasheros Win Contract

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

Following a four month strike, the “carwasheros” of Brooklyn, NY, have secured a contract.

Workers at 10 car wash companies have voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) since the Wash New York Campaign began three years ago. The campaign is a joint effort by New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and the inion.

On April 2, the carwasheros of Vegas Auto Spa won a two-year contract agreement, including two wage increases, paid time off, overtime, a grievance procedure and protection for immigrant workers. It is the strongest contract won in the industry, with higher wages and a $1,500 per person signing bonus.

Young Workers Summit Makes a Splash in Chicago

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

More than a thousand young unionists, activists and organizers convened in Chicago from March 19-22 for the Next Up: Young Workers Summit, sponsored by the AFL-CIO.

Courtney Jenkins, who serves as the APWU representative on the Young Workers Advisory Council (YWAC), explains that the goal of the conference was to “educate, inspire, and organize the next generation of labor leaders” so the labor movement continues to grow. Jenkins is a member of the Baltimore Francis ‘Stu’ Filbey Area Local.

The conference offered 80 workshops focusing on issues that matter most to young workers, including “Collective Bargaining 101,” “Parents Just Don’t Understand: Building Generational Unity in the Labor Movement” and “What’s the Strategic Plan, Stan?”

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