(This article was first reported in the June 2018, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Rob Armentani, President of APWU, SJAL #0526
With Election day rapidly approaching, it’s time to have our voices heard! This issue of the South Jersey Postal Express is being mailed to both members and non-members due to the importance of the upcoming elections and we are strongly encouraging everyone to get out and vote for those candidates that support the Postal Service and working families. Failure to get out the vote could have a negative impact on all Postal workers.
Fight Postal Privatization!!
On October 13th through the 15th I attended the National President’s Conference in Portland Maine. During the conference, National President Mark Dimondstein and National Legislative Director Judy Beard spoke to the delegates about the very real possibility that the Postal Service may be privatized under the country’s current administration. Recently the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) unveiled a plan for privatization of the Postal Service promoted by corporate interests that have powerful influence in the Trump administration. There have since been bipartisan bills introduced to both the Senate and the Congress to help combat a proposal to privatize the Postal Service: House Resolution 993, this resolution calls on Congress to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the United States Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the Federal Government and not be subject to privatization and Senate Resolution 663 which states, Congress should take all appropriate measures to ensure that the United States Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the Federal Government and is not subject to privatization.
We are all in this fight together to save our jobs! It doesn’t matter what political party you support, your race or whether you are a Union member or not. If you are a Postal worker it is time to unite to fight for our jobs, fight for our livelihoods. It is imperative that on November 6th you go to the polls and cast your vote for those who support the Postal Service and oppose Postal privatization.
Our Collective Bargaining Agreement was set to expire on September 20, 2018. Negotiations for a new contract began on June 26, 2018. When an agreement wasn’t reached by September 20th, the parties agreed to a 30 day extension to continue to try and come to an agreement. On 10/20/2018 APWU President Mark Dimondstein announced that the union and the Postal Service again agreed to extend negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for an additional 30 days until November 20, 2018. All the rights, benefits and provisions of our existing union contract remain in place, and are fully enforceable during the new 30-day extension of negotiations.
South Jersey Area Local Elections
By the time you receive this edition of the newsletter you should have received and returned your ballot for our Local Elections. The ballots must be received by November 15th so if you have not returned them, please cast your vote and return them. We have had some dismal participation in our Local Elections in the past and I would really like to see that change this time around. This is your Union. You should be heard on who you want to represent you. Complacency is management’s best weapon and our biggest obstacle.
Why Am I A Union Member?
Since this edition is going out to non-members as well as members I want to formally invite you to come on board and stand with your co-workers and support YOUR Union as we fight for fair wages, benefits and working conditions. Without the support of our membership we cannot maintain this fight. I will be more than happy to meet with anyone to answer questions you may have about Union membership.
When I was hired to work for the Postal Service in March of 1987 at the Philadelphia BMC, the first thing my father told me was to make sure I signed up with the Union. Of course, I asked why and this is the story he told me:
My father got a job working for the Philadelphia Fire Department back in the 60s. Not long after he was hired there was a contract dispute with the city and there were many pickets and rallies held by the Union. My father was fortunate, or should I say unfortunate, enough to be on the front line of one of these pickets and a picture of him walking the line made it into the local newspaper. Since he was identified in the newspaper he was fired from his job. The contract dispute was settled and my father was unemployed with three children. The Union immediately went to bat for him and fought and won his job back. Because of the Union fighting to get my father’s job back, my siblings and I enjoyed a good upbringing and my parents enjoyed a good retirement. My father showed me the picture he was referring to and then he showed me another. It was a newspaper clipping of him carrying a child down a ladder out of a burning house. Thankfully for that family my father was still on the job thanks to his Union representation.
After hearing his story, I didn’t hesitate one second to sign up when I got the chance.
As I get closer to retirement myself I understand more than ever why it is so important to have a job that offers fair wages, benefits and working conditions. Without the Postal Unions I believe we would all be nothing but casual employees. Remember them? No raises, no benefits and you could be fired with the snap of a finger.
In closing I want to again encourage you all to stand together as Postal Workers. Get out and vote for those who support the Resolutions against Postal Privatization.