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Department & Division News

Union Disposes of Another 'Red Herring'

Maintenance Defeats Improper Excessing

10/14/2014 - Maintenance craft officers recently settled an important dispute, stipulating that the Postal Service cannot declare an installation “non-maintenance capable” and then use the designation to justify excessing Maintenance Craft employees who work on Building Equipment. The work at issue was primarily that of Building Equipment Mechanics (BEMs), although occasionally the duties are performed by other occupational groups, such as Level 7 Maintenance Mechanics (MM-7s) and Level 5 Building Maintenance Custodians.

APWU Retirees Rock

10/14/2014 - Many APWU members ask, “What do I do once I retire?” It is, of course, a personal choice. However, I have a suggestion: Become a union activist. Many of our members understand the importance of staying involved with the union and keeping up with important issues that affect retirees, our families, our former co-workers, and the American people.

That’s what activism is all about, and it keeps you pretty busy. The Retirees Department works to keep you up-to-date on important issues hoping that you will get involved. I proudly boast that, based on reports from our retiree chapters, many of our members are active organizers in the union and their communities. But there is room to increase our involvement.

Is Walmart Destroying America?

10/14/2014 - Is Walmart ruining our country? That’s a question that most people never stop and ask. Most of us love shopping in big, clean stores that are packed with cheap merchandise, but the truth is that Walmart is destroying America in a lot of ways.

Walmart has destroyed tens of thousands of small businesses and countless manufacturing jobs over the past few decades. It has become a gigantic operation that sells five times more stuff than any other retailer in the United States. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the things sold at Walmart are made overseas. What that’s costing the U.S. economy in lost jobs and revenue is incalculable.

Wanting Something vs. Getting It

10/14/2014 - It’s no secret that having more dues paying members makes locals stronger, but the benefits are more than financial.

New members mean greater solidarity, more camaraderie and a larger talent pool. Our union provides fairness in the workplace, healthcare that puts families first, security for the injured and a voice for postal workers in the halls of Congress. All this requires a team with diverse talents and a deep bench.

What Opportunities Are Left?

10/14/2014 - Recently, I was asked the following questions by a brother unionist I highly respect: what opportunities are left in the legislative arena this year to put a stop to the plant consolidations that are scheduled to begin in January 2015? What do we have to do?

If you receive e-Team alerts or regularly visit www.apwu.org, you may know the answers to these questions.

We have to get Congress to include language that would halt the closure or consolidation of mail processing facilities in an appropriations bill or “continuing resolution.” (A “continuing resolution” will be used to fund government operations beyond Dec. 12, 2014, when the current budget expires.)

Managing the Grievance Backlog

10/14/2014 - It’s been just about a year since I took office. Wow, how time flies!

Since taking office, I have instituted a very aggressive arbitration schedule based on my belief that disputes at the national level must be resolved to bring closure and provide guidance to union leaders and members in the field.

During the past year, at least two national-level arbitrations have been heard per month. This has enabled us to get some great decisions that will enhance our field representation. We now have three national-level arbitrators hearing cases rather than two.

Get the 1% Out of Our Dream

10/14/2014 - The American Dream. Anyone who works hard enough can climb the ladder and achieve success – a lovely home, cars in the garage, the kids off to a good college and a comfortable, secure retirement.

Unfortunately, that dream seems unattainable today. The gap between rich and poor, bosses and workers, has widened in the past few decades as compensation and wealth for the nation’s CEOs have grown much faster than for everyone else.

As a result of this increasing gap, American workers are asked to give up the dream that our children will be able to achieve and live a more comfortable, secure life than we have. What is so troubling is that the income gap is not increasing because workers are less productive or unwilling to work; it is directly related to the suppression of workers’ rights, and the transfer of a larger share of the wealth workers create to the country’s richest 1%.

To Win Consolidation Fight, We Must Build a Movement

10/14/2014 - If we are going to win the fight to stop consolidation of 82 mail processing plants, we must build a movement – a movement that unites postal workers with the people we serve: the neighbors we greet, the businesses we patronize, the civic organizations we participate in, the clubs we join, and the places we worship.

We cannot win this fight in the grievance procedure or even in court – we must win this fight in the court of public opinion.

We are part of the communities served by the United States Postal Service, the national treasure that binds us together as one America, and we must ask for their help.

One Year In: Looking Back, Looking Forward

10/14/2014 - It has been an exciting first year as your president. I am as honored today as I was the day I took office. I appreciate the help, insight and activism of so many members, local and state leaders, and national officers across the country. Together, we have made real advances in very difficult times.

We have forged a strong postal union alliance with our sister postal unions and we are supporting each other’s struggles. The APWU has joined the fight to protect six-day mail delivery, and the Letter Carriers, Mail Handlers and Rural Letter Carriers have enthusiastically backed our campaign to Stop Staples!

Together, we have sent a message to postal management, Staples and every other retailer in the country that the “U.S. Mail is Not for Sale.”

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert

Astronomical Prices of Some Cancer Drugs Hit Vulnerable Patients Hard

10/10/2014 - 60 Minutes reported last Sunday on the high price of cancer drugs in the U.S. Lesley Stahl’s piece shed light on the fact that Medicare has to pay the price determined by the drug companies, since under current law, Medicare is prohibited from negotiating the prices. The report noted that some cancer patients have gone into bankruptcy in an effort to save their lives. Dr. Leonard Saltz, chief of gastrointestinal oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering, noted that a patient could easily be paying $250,000 for two drugs, “just to get started.”

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