Pledge Your Time in 2019!
(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Vice President Debby Szeredy
By 2019, we at APWU Headquarters will have possibly completed negotiations, and one of three decisions will have been made: 1) you will have the right to vote on a voluntary contract, 2) we have no contract and will be going to arbitration, or 3) we have agreed to an extension of the 2015 contract with possible additions.
Going forward there are more battles ahead: the fight against privatizing the Postal Service, against consolidations and closures of plants and post offices, and the fight to expand services like postal banking and community services that help take care of our neighbors across this country.
Our battles need mobilized members from all our locals to participate in building alliances with congressional members and local politicians, as well as community organizations and our sister unions. We must mobilize. In the United States, we have approximately 600,000 postal workers of all nationalities. We, the APWU and our sister postal unions, have negotiated and provided good jobs, benefits, pensions, services to our community to be passed on to our children.
It is always a battle to keep what we have. Sitting Bull, the Hunkpapa Lakota Leader who defended the rights of his people, has been quoted as saying “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children,” and “as individual fingers we can easily be broken, but all together we can make a mighty fist!” Today Native American tribes in South Dakota, Arizona, North Carolina, California, and many other places across this country, are still fighting to save the sacred land and water from mass destruction at the hands of big corporations and politicians. They are killing people, animals, wildlife, and sacred grounds. We too are fighting the same enemies.
The corporate and political greedy scavengers are going after the mighty dollar, and the hell with what it costs to our people and our country. There is only one prayer I have for APWU members this holiday season, and that is that many more members rise up with us.
1. Make sure your local and the national has your email and cell phone number to stay connected and active.
2. Go to your union meetings and union activities.
3. If you are a retiree, help start or become a member of a retiree chapter in your local or state, and/ or offer to mentor a young postal worker.
4. Volunteer to help the union – there are many kinds of activities to choose from, find something you like, try something new.
5. Be the eyes and ears for your union representatives on the workroom floor, be a witness for your coworkers who are being harassed, or stand up for yourself and get the union representative involved when harassed so that we can work together to make our workplace healthy and safe.
6. Help to mobilize other members in your work area and share issues of concern. Ask your local union to provide educational materials on workers’ rights. Help get members to stand together in your work section.
7. Help communicate our issues with other community organizations who can be an ally in our fight to stop privatization and help us expand postal services for the good of the community.
8. Get involved in the political process, build a relationship with new politicians, help get candidates in office that will fight privatization, support expansion, and support vote by mail.
There you have it, eight small actions to make a big difference in the struggle to keep the Postal Service public. Get involved with your local and state organizations, and give of your time, make your life count in our movement. We have much work to do in 2019.