WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LABOR UNIONS?
It simply amazes me, how someone can reap the benefits based on the labor of someone else and really believe its’ okay.
Labor Unions’ efforts have standardized many workforce regulations, including the 40 hour workweek, overtime pay, paid leave, unemployment benefits and health insurance. These are benefits we, as Postal Employees, enjoy as a result of negotiations between the USPS and APWU. Union workers receive wages nearly 20 percent higher than nonunion workers while enjoying 26 percent more vacation time. More than 80 percent of union members have employer-provided health insurance compared with 62 percent among nonunion workers.
We heard so much about elevating those who remain at the bottom of the earning ladder, during the Presidential debates. The fact is Unions raise the income of blue-collar workers more than white-collar workers, increasing the chances for lower-class individuals to join the middle class, become homeowners and send their children to college. But with all these benefits, we still have 15% of our workers, who benefit from the negotiating of the Union, paid for by Union members like you, but for whatever reasons, they feel they don’t want to, and so they don’t have to pay, they just keep riding on your back and mine. I guess I was raised, like you, to pay for what I receive. Maybe you can influence a nonmember you work with. I wonder how many of them would join the Union if they had to, in order to benefit from those items which were won through the bargaining process. I began my Postal career in 1969. I recently found a pay stub from 1973. My gross pay for 80 hours straight time and 4 hours of overtime, 12 hours of night differential and 8 hours of Sunday premium was $383.52. After my deductions I took home $238.36. We have truly come a long way since then.
I was blessed with the position of Secretary/Treasurer in June 2007. At that time, we had 4,177 Union Members and 777 who chose not to pay. Today we have 2,872 members and 531 who chose not to pay. Out of the 2,872, over 300 are in a non-pay status, so we don’t receive any revenue from them and nearly 120 are PSE’s so we receive less than ½ of the amount of dues we receive from career members. This Union has managed to survive and even flourish with our resources having been cut more than 30% over the last six years.
At the January Union meeting, there were some changes introduced and adopted, due to the reduction in our operating capital. Some salaries were cut, some positions eliminated, changes in meeting dates, etc. What were not discussed in the meeting were changes that have already taken place to cut expenses and also generate income over the past 5 years. In 2006 we paid our CPA over $25,000.00 for services rendered. In 2012 we only paid $2,800.00 for services. We have changed contracts for office cleaning, telephone services, cell phone plans, etc. We currently rent two of the offices in the Union Office. The Secretary/Treasurer takes on the duties of the Office Secretary when she is on leave. This was a tremendous savings on LWOP and lost leave at the end of the year. Benefits for the Office Secretary were negotiated and cut, LWOP in 2005 was 4,493 hours, in 2007 the LWOP was 4,227 hours, in 2011 2,636 hours used and in 2012 the total was 1,456 hours of LWOP. Believe me, when I say we have looked at every way possible, to cut our liabilities, while protecting our assets to continue to serve this Local. The proof of that is our bottom line. Some felt the cuts were not deep enough. Depending on how many members have chosen to take the incentive that was offered to retire, those cuts will not be enough. We will know exactly where we stand the first week in March and will act accordingly. A contingency plan has been discussed and will be presented if necessary to the membership. Those of us, who you have entrusted to run this Union, understand that it may become necessary to cut even more, but we are committed to first and foremost represent and protect you, our members. This Organization was here before any of us were, and I pray it remains, after we’re gone.
I would like to say thank you to all of you who have supported my efforts in this position. Having this position and serving our Members, has truly been a labor of love for me. Some have been critical of me, not visiting in some facilities. I am an administrative officer. My duties concern the day to day operations of the Office, and the safeguarding of the assets of this Union. I take my responsibility very serious. If I’m not in the Office,
I cannot perform those duties, but if I’m needed in the field, I go. I am accountable to you. I pray 2013 is a year of fulfilling promises for you and your family. I pray you all enjoy joy, peace and good health. Begin each day in thanksgiving.
Yours in Solidarity, Jennifer D Fulbright, Secretary/Treasurer
Faith, Family & Friends