Please see officers report above
Message of the Day—Keep American Values Strong
Fighting Back Against Hostile Work Environments
June 3, 2019
(This article first appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
“A workplace free of harassment is beneficial to everyone. The environment in the postal workplace, however, can be difficult if not miserable.” These are first two sentences of an issue statement that we submitted to the Postal Service during contract negotiations, but they may actually understate what many of the members of the APWU face in the postal workplace.
The USPS states the following in its Postal Service Policy on Workplace Harassment:
The Postal Service workplace must be one in which all employees are treated with dignity and respect by supervisors, subordinates, and coworkers. Supervisors and managers will take prompt action to prevent, address, and remedy workplace conduct that is contrary to this policy.
However, we know from our own experiences, and through many reports from the field, that your supervisors’ and managers’ behavior can be aggressive, abusive and in complete disregard of their own policy. The data shows that hostile work environments like these are widespread throughout the country.
The APWU demanded the USPS address this hostile work environment, and we engaged the USPS in discussions and attempts to come up with solutions. It is well-established in all sectors that where supervisors and managers create tense, miserable and difficult work environments, there is lower worker morale, high absenteeism and high grievance activity. As we head into interest arbitration, we still have active proposals on the table to address the work environment. It is a problem that the Postal Service must face, and we won’t back down. While management chooses not to act, your union is going to take steps to come up with meaningful solutions.
Forming a Committee to Combat Harassment
In the very near future, a select committee of ten local officers from around the country will convene to work on this issue. They will come up with ideas and plans that can be used in the field to identify the issues, specific supervisors/managers, and workplaces that need to be addressed.
The committee will use its knowledge of workroom floor conditions to develop this program. You can also expectthat the committee will reach out to members and locals to get your input and stories, as well as locate problem areas. Your participation is vital to the development and success of the program.
You have a right to a safe workplace, free from intimidation, bullying and abusive, aggressive and authoritarian behavior. You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. These should not just be words that you hear in a stand-up talk or read on a bulletin board. Treating employees with dignity and respect is the Postal Service’s own written policy that the union will enforce.
The Postal Service seems to believe that the solution to workplace harassment is moving their “problem” supervisors and managers to new offices, districts or cities. This doesn’t fix the problem – it only allows them to continue their reign of abuse in a new office with different employees.
With your input and help, this new committee will be the first step in addressing the miserable work environments that exist throughout the Postal Service. A harassment and hostility-free workplace is your right. As we stand united and work together, every postal worker will get the workplace that we deserve.
APWU Reaches Monetary Settlement with USPS on POStPlan Staffing Violations
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
19-201802/23/2018 - On February 9, the Clerk Craft reached a $49.9 million dollar settlement with the USPS on POStPlan staffing violations. The monetary settlement follows a ruling by Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg that the Postal Service violated Arbitrator Goldberg’s previous award of September 5, 2014 and a subsequent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated September 22, 2014.
The dispute was initiated after the Postal Service admittedly failed to honor their agreement that after December 22, 2014, the ‘POStPlan’ Remotely-Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) open 4 or 6 hours a day would be staffed with bargaining unit clerks, and Level 18 offices would be staffed with career employees. Long after the agreement, Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) were still working in 4 or 6 hour RMPOs across the country and Level 18 offices reported still using PSEs instead of career employees.
“Our goal is for management to abide by their contractual obligations in the first place. When they don’t, it is best if management addresses the problem as quickly as possible, in this case to properly staff the POStplan offices,” remarked President Dimondstein. “Unfortunately, neither happened, and I congratulate the Clerk Craft in insuring that these management violations have consequences as a deterrent to future violations.”
The money from the settlement will be distributed among Clerk Craft employees to be identified by the National APWU. The Postal Service is required to cooperate and provide information necessary for the union to identify employees eligible for payment. Updates on the implementation of the settlement agreement will be provided to local/state organizations and the membership through the APWU website.
“It is important we have arbitrators willing to rule that monetary payments and other strong remedies are necessary to address willful and/or repeated violations of the contract,” said Clerk Division Director Clint Burleson, “It is even more important that the membership work together to develop the leverage to win grievances at the local level and ideally prevent violations from occurring in the first place.
“Many thanks goes to Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas Barber,” Burleson continued, “who served as the case officer for the grievance, provided testimony at the hearing, and developed the leverage to secure the $49.9 million in remedy. Thanks also go to Assistant Craft Director Lamont Brooks for his assistance in negotiating the final settlement.”
New Postal Reform Legislation Introduced in the Senate
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #:
32-2018 03/23/2018 -
On March 22, The Postal Service Reform Act of 2018 (S. 2629) was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The APWU recognizes the efforts of the four bi-partisan Senators who worked to craft and co-sponsor the proposed legislation - Tom Carper (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). “The APWU appreciates their efforts to achieve postal legislative reform that is fair to the APWU members, postal workers in general, the public Postal Service and postal customers,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard.
Much of the Senate bill is based on the foundation of H.R. 756, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives, which the APWU supports (while still seeking some improvements). H.R. 756 is currently stalled in the House.
The new Senate bill also includes a number of elements from the Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency Act, introduced in the last Congress by Sen. Carper.
There are many positive elements in this proposed legislation that the APWU supports as a basis for further legislative action. This includes addressing the unfair and absurd pre-funding mandate for future retiree health care costs, imposed on the USPS by Congress in 2006.
The key to passing needed postal reform is strong bi-partisan support. The APWU will continue to work with representatives of both political parties as we remain actively engaged to achieve quality postal reform.
The APWU Legislative & Political Department will keep you informed and involved as this new Senate bill works its way through the legislative process.
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 negotia-tions between the USPS and APWU. Union workers receive wages nearly 20 percent higher than non-union. more
By Jennifer Fulbright
"SRT Positions assigned to Clerk Craft"
After extensive discussions, the parties were not able to agree to a financial remedy and the case has been rescheduled before Arbitrator Goldberg, who retained jurisdiction on the financial remedy for April 19th-20th.
The Postal Service was required to cease and desist the violation of assigning injured employees to the SRT and that violation is ongoing and still a subject of the continuing violation for the financial remedy. The USPS will be eventually assigning those employees utilizing Section 546 of the ELM. The APWU position is that they still have to abide by Article 37.3.A.1 and the Rehabilitation MOU.
Arbitrator Goldberg ordered the following directives in his award (attachment #3):
1.Cease and desist from the violations of the National Agreement found in this case;
2. Assign SRT positions to Clerk Craft employees;
3. Post SRT work assignments for bid by clerks without delay.
The Postal Service was required to post the SRT duty assignments for bid for the clerk craft within the installation. Page four of the first attachment lists the following information as of 2/24/2017:
As a result of the notice to the APWU, a meeting was requested and the following was resolved:
On March 3, 2017, the national APWU was provided a copy of the job posting dates and award dates for each SRT site (attachment #5)
The other issue unresolved is the identification of the standard position description and the pay levels of the duty assignments in the SRT.
We will be filing a national dispute over the USPS identification of the duty assignments as Customer Care Agent Tier-1 (level-6) via their notice to the APWU dated February 10, 2017 (attachment 2) and their unilateral change to already existing standard position description only authorized only in Customer Care Center (Corporate Call Centers in the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU). Those sites are only located in Troy, Los Angeles, Edison (Kilmer) and Wichita. The Postal Service stated they mirrored these jobs only to expedite the posting of the assignments. APWU takes the position that the standard position description should have been based on the duties that established the SRT modified assignments. We are also reserving the right to challenge the levels of the pay based on the duties expected to be performed. The duty assignments should have been posted as some form of Sales Retention Team Agent.
In the event the pay levels are challenged and the APWU is successful, Article 37.3.A.9 is applicable. It is very important that this information is shared with your members so that they can make informed decisions.
What is COPA you ask? APWU COPA;
the union's Committee on Political Action, was created to raise voluntary political campaign contributions from our Union's active and retired members, as well as members of the APWU Auxiliary to support the campaigns of candidates for public office who share our values and goals. We as members may not support the same political parties, but as working men and women, it is imperative we all support those who support us; otherwise we will become part of the "forgotten class" rather then the ''middle class."
APWU President Dimondstein & Sec-Tres Liz Powel talk about our contract campaign kickoff, EFEL, postal reform legislation, your questions and more. click below.
SEIU Texas Rallies for Increased Wages
Essential airport workers in Houston, TX shared their stories of sacrifice due to poverty wages of $7.25 an hour and even lower tipped wages for skycaps and others at $2.33 an hour.
After years of challenges, they are asking airlines and contractors to keep their commitment to increasing wages to $12 in January 2021 so workers can start on the path to stability.
Tyson Managers Allegedly Made Cash Bets on How Many Workers Would Get Covid-19
Managers and supervisors at a Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, allegedly forced employees to work in unsafe conditions during the coronavirus pandemic and even took cash bets on how many workers would get sick from covid-19, according to new filings in a lawsuit brought against Tyson by the son of a worker who died. At least five workers from the Waterloo facility have died since the pandemic began and at least 20 Tyson workers have reportedly died of the coronavirus nationwide.
The lawsuit, which was uploaded in its entirety by KCCI Des Moines, was brought by the son of Isidro Fernandez, a worker at the pork plant who died of covid-19 on April 26. The suit alleges that supervisors, led by plant manager Tom Hart, organized a “cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool” on how many workers would test positive for the coronavirus.
The supervisor allegedly told employees that “it’s not a big deal; everyone is going to get it” and reportedly referred to covid-19 as a “glorified flu” when workers expressed concern. - Read More
Message from APWU President Mark Dimondstein:
As we enter the final stage of the 2020 election, every postal worker should be proud of our role in securing the public’s most precious democratic right – the right to vote. This year, an unprecedented number of voters chose to “vote-by-mail.” Whatever craft we work in, we were an important part of the process, a process that will continue to receive priority treatment over the next few days.
Despite the fact that the integrity of postal workers was constantly attacked by the highest office of the land, the honesty and dedication of postal workers to the people of this country was once again in full display.
The people were counting on us and we did not fail. Almost one-half of all voters have voted by mail, a tried and tested system. Ever more popular with voters, tens of millions more in a COVID world chose vote-by-mail as the safest way to access the ballot box and exercise our cherished right to vote.
Earlier this year, when management policies delayed the mail, we rallied with a supportive public and helped force management to commit to robust procedures for handling election mail.
With extra hours, extra attention, extra effort and extra priority postal workers moved “heaven and earth” to make sure ballots are processed, arrive on time and will be counted. Every local stepped up to ensure the timely delivery and processing of ballots with hundreds of our locals involved in local task forces to ensure the job was done well and any problems were addressed.
Over the next few days, we stand with all fair-minded people throughout our country who expect and insist that all ballots, including all mail ballots, will be counted and the results respected.
You are heroes for serving on the front lines of this pandemic and making sure the democratic process is carried out. You are why 90% of the people trust, and have a favorable view of, the public Postal Service.
On behalf of the national leadership of the APWU, we commend every postal worker for this tremendous effort!
USPS email tells managers not to reconnect sorting machines
By Kristen Holmes and Paul P. Murphy
CNN Updated 10:21 PM ET, Thu August 20, 2020
How the USPS became a political battleground 03:08
(CNN) While Postmaster General Louis DeJoy may be suspending changes to postal service operations, it
doesn't necessarily mean machines that had been removed will be put back in use, according to an email
obtained by CNN.
The email, sent hours after DeJoy's public suspension of changes on Tuesday, instructs postal workers not to reconnect any mail sorting machines that have previously been disconnected.
"Please message out to your respective Maintenance Managers tonight," wrote Kevin Couch, a director of
maintenance operations. "They are not to reconnect/reinstall machines that have been previously disconnected without approval from HQ Maintenance, no matter what direction they are getting from their plant manager."
DeJoy announced Tuesday he would pause many of the new policies he put in place, including the removal of high-volume mail sorting machines, after postal workers, the public and some lawmakers, sounded alarms the changes were causing massive delivery delays, potentially putting the November election in peril.
It's unclear if there's been additional guidance since Couch sent the email, which appeared to have been sent to managers in the western region.
With slower mail and election concerns, Trump's postmaster general is in the hot seat . The USPS has not been attempting to reassemble or replace the mail sorting machines or letter collection recently removed in at least nine states, according to the union officials CNN spoke to in those states.
CNN spoke with union officials across the US on the local, regional and national level, and was only able to identify
two facilities Dallas and Tacoma, Washington that had attempted to reassemble and reintroduce mail sorting machines back into USPS's daily operations.
The Postmaster General and USPS have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks over changes put in motion ahead of the 2020 election. Many Americans have since grown concerned over the USPS' ability to handle the expected influx of ballots as more voters choose to vote by mail because of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Dallas facility tried to restore removed mail sorting machines
Yared Wonde, the president of the American Postal Workers Union's Dallas Area Local , told CNN
that management at the Dallas processing and distribution center, which serves nearly all of Dallas, unsuccessfully tried to put back four delivery barcode sorter machines. Problems at the post office could devastate these small businesses .
DBCS machines make up the bulk of the mail sorting operation across USPS, handling envelopes which includes ballots heading to voters.
The machines, which Wonde says were removed in July, cannot be put back into service because they are missing pieces. Wonde said it was unclear what moved management at the Dallas facility to attempt to reassemble the DBCS machines.
Will the new Postmaster General be the last?
by Nora Taggart
On his first day on the job, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy addressed postal workers in a video posted on Liteblue. In the four-minute video DeJoy praises the hard work of postal workers, especially during the pandemic. He also vowed to work with the unions, management and lawmakers to place the agency “on a trajectory for success.” Click Here for rest of article.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers
As provided under the legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor will be issuing implementing regulations. Additionally, as warranted, the Department will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.
“Paid sick leave” – means paid leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.
“Expanded family and medical leave” – means paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
Questions & Answers By Category and Numbers
USPS FACE COVERING POLICY
The Postal Service has a new resource to help ensure compliance with its face covering policy in states and cities across the nation.
USPS requires all employees to wear face coverings when there is a state or local face covering order or directive in place or when an employee — including those who do not deal directly with the public — cannot achieve or maintain social distancing in the workplace. CLICK HERE
Join us in expressing gratitude to the United States Postal Service
The AFL CIO has rescheduled their day of caravan action for June 17, 2020, for national solidarity calling for implementation of America’s Five Economic Essentials and passage of the HEROES Act.
On Wednesday, June 17,2020, working people from Texas will join thousands of people from across the country in a Workers First Caravan, an all-out action of national solidarity calling for implementation of America’s Five Economic Essentials - including much-needed relief for the Postal Service.
Will you be one of them? Your closest event is:
Workers First Carvan | Dallas
Start: Wednesday, June 03, 2020 2:00 AM
CWA Local 6215 parking lot
1408 N Washington
Dallas, TX 75204
You can RSVP here.
Or find a list of other events here.
Additional caravans from across all 50 states and Puerto Rico will also be participating in solidarity actions.
America's Five Economic Essentials are crucial. We need the Senate to:
Join us and tell Texas: Workers first!
American Postal Workers Union
1300 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20005 | www.apwu.org
National AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said, "My heart is heavy at the events of the past few days. I watched the video of George Floyd pleading for his life under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. No person of conscience can hear Floyd’s cries for help and not understand that something is deeply wrong in America.
'What happened to George Floyd, what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, what happened to far too many unarmed people of color has happened for centuries. The difference is now we have cell phones. It’s there for all of us to see. And we can’t turn our heads and look away because we feel uncomfortable.
'Racism plays an insidious role in the daily lives of all working people of color. This is a labor issue because it is a workplace issue. It is a community issue, and unions are the community. We must and will continue to fight for reforms in policing and to address issues of racial and economic inequality.
'We categorically reject those on the fringes who are engaging in violence and destroying property. Attacks like the one on the AFL-CIO headquarters are senseless, disgraceful and only play into the hands of those who have oppressed workers of color for generations and detract from the peaceful, passionate protesters who are rightly bringing issues of racism to the forefront.
'But in the end, the labor movement is not a building. We are a living collection of working people who will never stop fighting for economic, social and racial justice. We are united unequivocally against the forces of hate who seek to divide this nation for their own personal and political gain at our expense.
'We will clean up the glass, sweep away the ashes and keep doing our part to bring a better day out of this hour of darkness and despair.
'Today and always, the important work of the AFL-CIO continues unabated."
"Below are pictures of Caravan participants in Dallas on 06/17/2020"
Contract Update 03/11/2019. APWU has a new Contract.
Click her for the full award in pdf.
APWU President Dimondstein, we have a new Contract video update on collective bargaining agreement.
"Our State President Carlton Williams and I (Tanya "Tan" Daniel), had a great meeting today with Congressman Colin Allred.
Thank you for supporting HR Bill 2382."
Loyal Employees are your Most Valuable Asset!
By: Brigette Hyacinth,
Author: The Future of Leadership: Rise of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Keynote Speaker
An employee's relationship with their manager sets the tone for their level of commitment to the organization's success. Gallup research shows that a mind-boggling 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her manager. It’s no wonder employees don’t leave companies; they leave managers. Disengaged employees can cost companies millions of dollars from lost productivity, damages from employee negligence and negative publicity due to poor customer service. Organizations know how important it is to have motivated, engaged employees, but most fail to hold managers accountable for making it happen.
7 Things a Manager can do to Improve Employee Morale:
1.Connect with staff- As a leader you should be seen. Make your presence felt.Don’t just lock yourself in your office whole day and only communicate with staff when you want something done. Get to know your employees. Find out about their interests.
2. Show employees that you genuinely care. If an employee is dealing with an issue whether personally or professionally, show Empathy. Advocate for your team. Stand up for them. Don’t throw your people under the bus when things go wrong.
3. Practice Open and Honest two-way Communication. Keep employees informed. Don’t let them have to be hear of upcoming changes through the grapevine. Listening to employees - Have an atmosphere where employees ideas and suggestions are valued. Don’t have surveys and suggestion boxes then when feedback is given, you simply ignore it.
4. Be fair and neutral. Treat everyone fairly. Don’t pick favorites. Lead by example. Be known as a person of integrity.
5. Empower Employees. Provide them with the proper tools, then give them room to get the job done. Don’t micromanage!
6. Reward and Recognition- Offer incentives. Show employees how much you value and appreciate them. Always reward staff for good work, and not only top performers include those who are improving or doing their best. Be generous with "Thank Yous."
7. Recommend employees for training and new opportunities. Staff members can interpret an employer’s unwillingness to invest in training as a disregard for their professional development. Acknowledge and encourage strengths, recognize the different skills they possess and recommend training and development opportunities.
If you believe, that employees are your most valuable asset, you will create a healthy work atmosphere and provide them with the tools and support to do their jobs effectively.
It's important that managers focus on relationship building and encourage a family atmosphere at work. Get to know your employees, meet them where they are and be flexible. Many organizations treat their employees as if they are a commodity. They use them until they can get no more out of them, and then cast them aside. This leads to poor morale, lower productivity, and higher turnover.
Loyal employees are your most valuable asset. Don't take them for granted or treat them poorly. They use your internal tools and systems and interact with customers. They are your best brand ambassadors. Loyalty is a two-way street. You can't buy loyalty, but you can certainly foster and nurture it. Employees who have been pushed to the point where they no longer care, will not go the extra mile.They will not take the initiative to solve problems. They will end up treating customers the same way you treat them. Employees are the heart beat of the company. And if the heart stops beating...What will happen?
Why Young Workers Are Embracing Labor Unions
Millennials are more pro-union than generations before
By Jamie Lynne Burgess
In March 2019, the editorial staff at Gimlet Media became the first podcasting company to unionize when they joined the Writers Guild of America. The announcement came just a month after Gimlet was acquired by Spotify in a $230 million dollar deal.
Unionizing has been notoriously difficult for tech companies, according to Fast Company, but it could be the beginning of an industry-wide shift.
And the Gimlet workers’ move is evidence that labor organizing isn’t a thing of the past. The Center for Economic Policy and Research reported that 75 percent of new union members are under the age of 35.
Will younger generations of workers lead a resurgence of organized labor?
Whitney Yax has been working for the labor movement for more than six years. In her role as an organizer for Communications Workers of America District 1, which represents 150,000 members in the Northeast, she helps new members get involved in their unions.
She has noticed an increase in younger members, and in younger members’ desire to be active participants. They’re phone banking or knocking on doors to garner support for a political candidate, organizing meetings with industry leaders, or gathering signatures on a petition. This is on-brand for millennials, who typically value experiences over stuff.
Whether or not unions can adapt quickly enough will determine if they grow in the next generation.
“I always think of unions as offering a voice, a role in decision-making at work,” Yax said.
Millennials are more supportive of labor unions than generations before them. A 2018 Gallup poll showed that 66 percent of people ages 18 to 34 approve of labor unions, compared to 60 percent of people ages 35 to 54 and 62 percent of people ages 55 and older.
But unions have a long way to go when it comes to finding the right set of benefits that will encourage membership among millennials, said Zane Dalal, executive vice president of the union benefits administrator BPA.
“Millennials are incredibly adaptable, and people think of them as this sort of vague group, yet they are activists, and they’re incredibly sure of what they want,” he said.
Unions’ influence often extend beyond their membership, Yax said. The opportunity to effect change is attractive to young workers.
“I believe very strongly that unions, individually and collectively, just by their existence, improve the situation for workers that are non-union,” she said.
For example, unions were instrumental in raising the minimum wage in New York, which benefited all minimum wage workers, not just the unionized ones, Yax said.
“The action that union members take can have a great effect on other people,” she said.
A ‘match made in heaven’?
Knowing that our work and financial lives will be much different than what our parents experienced, millennials have been forced to adapt. In many cases, adapting has meant piecing together side gigs and extra jobs. It’s easy to feel alone in the gig economy, or even feel in competition with your fellow workers.
“The human element is diminishing, and it shows in the way that people want to pay their workers,” Dalal said.
He believes “unions might bring back that personal side” to employment.
We millennials can be both disdainful of being forced to go it alone, and oddly proud of our hustle. Joining a union means embracing solidarity and leaving that pride behind, which can be especially hard when you’re raised on a strict diet of American individualism.
Yet, as we try to find a path to retirement, millennials and unions have been called a “match made in heaven” by the California Labor Federation.
“Some may think that unions are a thing of the past, but as reports pile up on how young workers are going to need to work themselves into exhaustion just to put food on the table, joining a union remains the best way for millennials to reap the kind of economic security their parents and grandparents had,” Alexandra Catsoulis wrote for the California Labor Federation.
‘A barrier for younger people’
Union membership peaked in 1970 and has been declining ever since. Whether or not unions can adapt quickly enough will determine if they grow in the next generation, Dalal said.
“There was a heyday of the labor movement, and many of the people who were part of it are still involved, in roles of leadership now,” Yax said.
Millennials have a unique opportunity to contribute to labor unions and, in turn, contribute to change in many sectors. There are issues specific to this age group and this cultural moment that unions could address if young folks pushed for it, Dalal said.
Unions could advocate for student loan repayment policies, as our collective debt continues climbing. They could also become involved in the opioid crisis, he said, pushing for recovery support.
But there’s a sentiment that younger generations don’t want to get involved.
“The language of people who are driving the conversation, they’re in their 70s and they’ll never ‘get’ millennial culture,” Dalal said. It’s hard to sit in meetings as a young person and hear about how millennials don’t care, Yax said. In fact, it’s “a barrier for younger people to get involved.”
Even so, “I really think we could have another heyday very soon,” she said.
Members rallied together under this year’s theme
“Ready to Go”
On Tuesday afternoon, the highest governing body of the American Postal Workers Union hit the streets to protest against the possible sale of the U.S. Postal Service.
“This White House, the Heritage Foundation, and their billionaire backers, the Wall Street investors, they want their greedy hands on the public till and the public good, but they’ve started something that they’re not going to be able to stop,” said President Dimondstein. “They think this is their time…We’re going to show them this is truly our time.”
American Postal Workers Union AFL-CI0 and Union all across America, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world are fighting today, now, and tomorrow, for a better tomorrow. Labor is a age old fight, we can’t give up, as our future, the future of our children, and their children depend on what we as working class stand up for today.
The fundamental right to all should be a fair days pay for a fair days work, and that pay should enable every working class to be able to live a comfortable lifestyle. The Greedy hands of businesses, Wall Street, and the government, through the people we have elected, are out only for themselves. They are lining their pockets with dollars while the workers of America are scrapping their pockets for pennies. We as a Union are not going to stand by and watch that happen without a fight!
A Labor Union or trades union, is workers who have come together to achieve a vast number of goals; such as improving safety standards, better wages, benefits (such as vacation, health care, and retirement), and working conditions through the bargaining power of the majority the collective members. The unions, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labor contracts with employers. The most common purpose of these unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment. This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, work place safety and policies.
Texas is under an Open Shop Union. An open shop does not require union membership in employing or keeping workers. Where a union is active, workers who do not contribute to a union may include those who approve of the union contract (free riders) and those who do not. In the United States, state level right-to-work laws mandate the open shop in some states, that is, all discrimination based on union membership is forbidden. This affects the bargaining power, function and services of the union.
The role labor unions have played in raising living standards and improving the quality of life for working people in the United States. While most people recognize that unions have been beneficial for their members, there is little known about the role of labor unions in winning the 40-hour workweek.
In the 1800s, many Americans worked seventy hours or more per week and the length of the workweek became an important political issue. In the United States, a few limited eight-hour-day laws were on the books shortly after the Civil War. One, in Illinois, was passed in 1867, followed in 1868 by a law covering certain classes of federal workers. So a reduction in the work week became a leading issue for the labor movement and the struggle to win the 40-hour work week is the thread that ties together the history of American Labor.
40-Hour Workweek Timeline
1866 – The country’s first union federation, The National Labor Union, urged Congress to pass a law mandating the eight-hour workday.
May 1, 1867 – The Illinois Legislature passed a law mandating an eight-hour workday. Many employers refused to cooperate, and a massive strike erupted in Chicago.
May 1, 1886 – The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (later the AFL) called for a national strike. Nearly one million American workers stopped work that day. The purpose of the “May Day Strike” was to bring pressure on employers and state governments to create an eight-hour workday.
May 4, 1886 – The “Haymarket Affair” took place at a labor demonstration at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour day. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb as police acted to disperse the public meeting. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; dozens of others were wounded.
May 19, 1869 – President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation that guaranteed a stable wage and an eight-hour workday for government workers only. “Whereas the act of Congress approved June 25, 1868, constituted, on and after that date, eight hours a day’s work for all laborers, workmen, and mechanics employed by or on behalf of the Government of the United States.”
1898 – The United Mine Workers won an eight-hour work day.
1906 – The eight-hour day was widely instituted throughout the printing industry.
1910 – Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, and Utah, reduced the legal workweek limit for women from 54 to 48 hours.
1914 – Ford Motor Company instituted eight-hour shifts and raised wages. However, many Ford workers still worked six days a week.
1916 – Congress passed the Adamson Act, a federal law that established an eight-hour workday for interstate railroad workers, with additional pay for overtime work.
June 25, 1938 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act that creates the right to a minimum wage, and time-and-a-half overtime pay when people work over forty hours a week. It also prohibited most employment of minors in “oppressive child labor.”
1940 – Congress amends the Fair Labor Standards Act, reducing the federal workweek limit to 40 hours. The realization of the 40-hour workweek that has become standard across many American industries was hard fought. It took deadly accidents and employees banding together to make it happen. Let’s not take these gains for granted. We must forever remain vigilant in our fight for respect, justice and safe working conditions.
Sources: Entrepreneur, NBC news, Economic History Association, PBS, and Wikipedia
Now a bit about how APWU came to be:
The American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, represents more than 200,000 employees of the U.S. Postal Service who are clerks, maintenance employees, and motor vehicle service workers.
Postal unions, dating back to the 19th Century, have experienced a number of transitions, paralleling the growth of the former Post Office Department, which became the U.S. Postal Service in 1970. Upon the creation of the USPS, postal unions were allowed to bargain collectively over wages and conditions for the first time.
The early unions had essentially no bargaining rights — they existed largely as lobbying organizations that otherwise would have had no say about their working conditions. Wage increases depended on the whim of Congress.
As a result, postal workers were chronically underpaid. In March 1970, full-time employees earned about $6,200 to start, and workers with 21 years of service averaged only $8,440 — barely enough to make ends meet at that time. In fact, many postal workers qualified for food stamps.
The sporadic raises they did receive never seemed to amount to much, particularly in high-cost urban areas. From 1967 to 1969, postal wages were not increased at all, although Congress did raise its own pay 41 percent during that time. In 1968, the Kappel Commission, a special panel that had been studying postal reform during President Johnson's administration, concluded that postal workers deserved the same collective bargaining rights afforded to private-sector workers under the National Labor Relations Act. Congress failed to act on the commission's recommendation.
The Great Postal Strike of 1970
Workers grew increasingly frustrated with Congress's inaction, and on March 18, 1970, thousands of New York City postal workers walked off the job in protest. Within days, they were joined by 200,000 others in 30 major cities. Mail service ground to a halt and the plight of postal workers was brought to the public's attention. [Time Magazine article, March 30, 1970] The strike was soon settled, with Congress approving a 6 percent wage increase, retroactive to the previous December.The strike served as an impetus for the enactment of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which granted unions the right to negotiate with management over their wages, benefits and working conditions. In lieu of the right to strike, a binding arbitration process was established for resolving contract disputes. The law granted postal workers an additional 8 percent raise and enabled them to advance more quickly to higher-paying positions.
In the first contract, a starting postal worker's salary was raised to $8,488: slightly more than a 21-year veteran of the Post Office Department had been getting just three years earlier.
Since that first contract more than four decades ago, APWU has fought for dignity and respect on the job for the workers we represent, as well as for decent pay and benefits and safe working conditions. And as part of the AFL-CIO, the APWU fights for social and economic justice for all working families.
Click here to watch a 16-minute video about the Great Postal Strike of 1970.
The Merger The APWU was founded on July 1, 1971, the result of a merger of five postal unions. The two largest unions involved in the merger were the United Federation of Postal Clerks, which represented those who "worked the windows" at post offices and those who sorted and processed mail behind the scenes, and the National Postal Union, which claimed members in each craft. Both traced their origins to the National Federation of Postal Clerks, which was created in Chicago in 1906.
Two smaller unions involved in the merger were the National Association of Post Office and General Service Maintenance Employees, which represented those who serviced and repaired machines located in postal facilities, and who cleaned and maintained the facilities; and the National Federation of Motor Vehicle Employees, which represented workers who drove, repaired, and serviced postal vehicles. The smallest union in the merger was the National Association of Special Delivery Messengers.
All these workers are now covered by a single contract negotiated by representatives of all the crafts within the single labor organization, the American Postal Workers Union.
Since the Merger Four months before the Postal Reorganization Act was signed into law, U.S. Post Office Department management and postal unions announced a joint agreement on a reorganization plan. When the PRA became law on Aug. 12, 1970, it created the United States Postal Service, which on Jan. 20, 1971, participated in the first collective bargaining session with seven postal unions, including five that were soon to merge into the APWU.
Exactly six months later, on July 20, 1971, a two-year contract was signed by the new USPS and the APWU unions, along with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA), and the National Postal Mail-Handlers Union (NPMHU).
In 1973, 1975, and 1978, the APWU, NALC, NPMHU, and NRLCA bargained jointly as they had in 1971. In 1981, however, the APWU and NALC formed the Joint Bargaining Committee (JBC) and negotiated together. The JBC negotiated three-year contracts with the USPS in 1981, 1984, and 1987, and a four-year agreement in 1990.
Since 1994, the APWU has bargained on its own. Successive agreements ran from 1994-1998, 1998-2000, and 2000-2003. In December 2002, the APWU membership voted to extend the 2000 agreement by two years, until Nov. 20, 2005. In August 2005, APWU members ratified a one-year contract extension. In late 2006, the union reached an agreement with the Postal Service for a four-year contract, which was ratified overwhelmingly APWU members on Jan. 12, 2007. On May 11, 2011, members approved a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expired on May 20, 2015. After months of negotiations, mediation and arbitration, on July 8, 2016, Arbitration Stephen Goldberg issued an interest arbitration award for a new three-year contract which expires on Sept, 20, 2018.
APWU History (1874-1970)The APWU can trace its history as far back as 1874, when the Railway Mail Mutual Benefit Association (RMMBA) was formed. While the railroad clerks were mainly interested in securing a low-rate life insurance plan, the "MBA" also tried to lobby for improved wages and working conditions.
In 1891, MBA representatives met in Cincinnati and formed the National Association of Railway Postal Clerks (NARPC). In 1904, NARPC changed its name to the Railway Mail Association (RMA).
In 1949, the RMA changed its name to the National Postal Transport Association (NPTA). At the time, 28,000 NPTA members were employed by the Post Office.
In 1961, the NPTA joined with two of the three largest postal clerk unions (NFPOC and UNAPOC) to form the 115,000-member United Federation of Postal Clerks (UFPC).
NFPOC, the National Federation of Post Office Clerks, was chartered in 1906. Because the organization's locals hailed from seven cities that were as far apart as San Francisco and Nashville, this is considered the birth of the truly national postal workers union.
Some historical records indicate that UNAPOC, the United National Association of Post Office Clerks, existed in some form as early as 1881. It is known that an organizational meeting held in New York City in November 1899 resulted in the adoption of a constitution in early 1900. The rival NFPOC and UNAPOC periodically made attempts to join forces, with NFPOC, however, insisting that the other organization first needed to behave more like a union, which included not permitting supervisors among its ranks.
In 1957, UNAPOC made significant changes, including to its name. After nearly 60 years, the "C" officially stood not for "Clerks" but for "Craftsmen." This was key to its perception of itself as representing a craft; supervisors could do clerks' work, but they couldn't be part of the craft. In 1961, NFPOC and UNAPOC formed the UFPC, the United Federation of Postal Clerks.
One other group is central to the history of the APWU, the short-lived National Postal Union. At the NFPOC convention in 1958, a group calling itself the "Progressives" disaffiliated and formed the National Postal Clerks Union. At its second convention, the NPCU dropped "clerks" from its name and became the NPU.
The NPU did not join with NFPOC and UNAPOC when they formed the UFPC in 1961; it remained an independent postal union until the merger that created the APWU in 1971. Prior to the merger, the UFPC was one of seven unions, including four other future APWU units, to be part of the first negotiations with the newly created Postal Service. The NPO was not part of the seven-union coalition bargaining team.
The seven unions that bargained the first contract with the USPS included the UFPC (Clerk Craft); the NAPO&GSME (Maintenance Craft); the NFPOMVE (Motor Vehicle Service Craft); and the NASDM (Special Delivery Messenger Craft).
The earliest piece of today's APWU Maintenance Division was the National Association of Post Office Mechanics (NAPOM), formed in 1937. NAPOCE, the National Association of Post Office Custodial Employees was formed a year later. In 1945, NAPOM changed its name to the National Association of Post Office Mechanics and Maintenance Employees (NAPOM&ME) and in 1947, that organization and NAPOCE merged, creating the National Association of Post Office and General Service Maintenance Employees (NAPO&GSME), which in 1971 became the APWU Maintenance Division.
The National Association of Post Office Chauffeurs and Mechanics Union (NAPOC&MU) was formed in 1923. By 1939, it had changed its name to the National Federation of Post Office Motor Vehicle Employees (NFPOMVE)
The National Association of Special Delivery Messengers (NASDM) was created in 1932. Originally the messengers were contract employees with local postmasters. They were brought into the Civil Service system in 1942. There were 2,500 postal employees in the NASDM at the time of the merger in 1971. In 1998, delegates to the APWU National Convention approved the merger of the SDM Craft into the Clerk Craft.
source APWU Web Site
Dallas Area Local Contract Kickoff Cookout/Cookin
"Members of American Postal Workers Union got fired up for opening of collective bargaining with a raucous rally on evening before negotiations began, promising intense member engagement across country.It wasn’t just a packed room of APWU leaders and supporters who participated. In fact, rally was streamed live online to thousands on both APWU website and on YouTube, and many members viewed it at “watch parties” organized for event.
APWU Sec. Treas. Liz Powell introduced a series of fiery speakers – from Tefere Gebre, Exec. VP of AFL-CIO, to Elise Bryant, President of Coalition of Labor Union Women, who led delegation in songs and chants. Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) vowed to fight postal service privatization" YO!
Lawmakers call for federal probe of postal time card fraud
By: Eric Rasmussen , Erin Smith
Updated: Jan 24, 2018
U.S. representatives Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch say nearly 100 post office managers are suspected of cheating employees out of overtime pay, according to a letter dated Nov. 30 they sent to the USPS Inspector General.
It’s unclear why Boston managers would doctor postal workers’ time cards, but a similar scandal surfaced in 2016 at USPS facilities in Richmond, Virginia.
In the Richmond case, postal managers got bonuses in exchange for keeping overtime costs down, according to a pending federal lawsuit.
Now Capuano and Lynch are calling for a federal investigation of time card fraud in Boston.
25 Investigates obtained letters from Capuano and Lynch – sounding the alarm to the USPS Inspector General as early as August.
Postal employees “were surprised to find several minutes of unpaid leave on their time sheets for times they were actually working, or would have had no reason to punch out,” Capuano and Lynch wrote in a letter dated Aug. 15.
The two congressmen followed up with another letter to the USPS Inspector General on Nov. 30, citing “a sense of urgency” to investigate the matter.
The letter also cited that postal union leaders had identified more than 7,000 cases of “time manipulations” in less than three years, resulting in nearly 4,000 missing work hours with 97 managers and supervisors suspected of cheating the system.
In statements to Boston 25 News, both Capuano and Lynch said the USPS Inspector General’s Office told them it had launched an investigation earlier this month.
But 25 investigates discovered the inspector general has yet to open an official investigation.
A spokeswoman for the postal inspector general's office said its auditors are still researching the complaint in a “fact-finding process” and it will be weeks before the agency decides whether to launch its own investigation or open the books at Boston area post offices.
“Based on the new information that we received from Representatives Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch, we are actively considering work to look into the possibility of a broader or systemic issue around unauthorized timecard manipulation,” said a spokeswoman for the USPS Inspector General. “We will know in the next few weeks what that body of work will entail.”
The spokeswoman could not say why the decision to open an investigation or audit would take months.
Statement from U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D- Boston)
“After learning about troubling reports of manipulated time cards at USPS locations in Massachusetts, Congressman Capuano and I called on the Office of the Postal Inspector General to investigate these allegations. I have been informed that, as a result of our request, a full investigation involving multiple locations is in progress. Once that investigation is complete, any person suspected of illegal activities will be prosecuted by executive branch authorities. In the meantime, my office will continue to provide any useful information to the appropriate investigators to ensure a thorough and timely investigation into this matter.”
Statement from U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Somerville)
“I was troubled when postal employees brought their concerns about manipulated time cards to my attention and I have been working with Congressman Lynch to address this matter. We have been told by the Office of the Postal Inspector General that an investigation has begun, which we expect will be thorough and deliberate. We will closely monitor this investigation to be sure that the issues raised by the employees are resolved with appropriate action.”
© 2018 Cox Media Group
CALL 844-402-1001 to tell your Member of Congress How You Really Feel About the House Budget
Say NO to Moving the Postal Service “On Budget” The Postal Service currently operates “off budget” and relies solely on the sale of postage and other postal services for funding. Moving the Postal Service “on budget” would severely hinder Postal operations and is an obvious attempt to move the Postal Service closer to privatization. Moving the Postal Service “on budget” could:
• Put caps on Postal Service spending—By dictating how the Postal Service can spend its money, the government can prevent them from using their funds to provide improved services and invest in infrastructure. • Subject the Postal Service to Federal shutdowns Oppose Cuts to Pay and Retirement Benefits The House 2018 Federal Budget calls for:
• Increasing employee pension contributions into the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). This could result in a pay-cut of thousands of dollars a year for each FERS postal employee. • Ending the Social Security supplement currently covering the gap in FERS benefits for those who retire before they are eligible for social security benefits.
• Eliminating pensions for new hires. There is also a concern that Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) on FERS retirement benefits will be eliminated and COLAs on current civil service retirees will be reduced, as previously proposed by the White House.
“Robbing workers to pay the rich, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse.”
White House Budget Proposals
Slash Postal Workers’ Pay and Benefits
What can you do?
"While the U.S. Postal Service is obviously not a product of the New Deal, that same conservative agenda is behind the attack on the Postal Service we're witnessing today.
Cutting the workforce, closing post offices and plants, and moving toward privatization through outsourcing and divestiture of assets--these are all part of an effort to shape the postal system in ways that serve the interests of an elite business class rather than the good of the country as a whole.
The free-market ideology and greed for profits that drove efforts to undo the New Deal are basically what's driving the 'postal reform' movement today."
Source: Historian Kim Phillips-Fein In her book ~ Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal
APWU Family day and Mortgage Burning event was a success, those that came out to the celebration had a good time, thanks to the Members, Officers and Vendors for making the celebration a success.
Click here to see pictures of the event.
Fired Up and Ready to Go!
Day of Action Kicks Off
APWU President Mark Dimondstein at the National Day of Action event in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Post Office in Washington, DC “Are you fired up? Are you ready to go?”
That’s the question APWU Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell asked dozens of supporters who kicked off the May 14 National Day of Action in front of the post office on 14th and L Streets in Washington, DC – just one week before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. Read full Article
Dallas Area Local members standing up and fighting back 05/14/2015
Contract negotiations are set to begin on Feb.19, 2015, and APWU members across the country are busy preparing. At the national level, officers have been studying data, weighing input from union members, plotting strategy, and honing contract proposals.
But to win a good contract, we will need support from union members across the country, as well as from the people we serve. Here’s what you can do:
Feb. 19, 2015: On the opening day of negotiations, wear stickers and union T-shirts, caps and other gear as a show of solidarity. Stickers have been mailed to local and state presidents for distribution.
Today and every day: Join your local or state Contract Action Team (CAT) to help share information with union members throughout negotiations and spread the word about upcoming activities. If there’s no CAT in your area, help your local president form one!
Every APWU member can and should get involved. Take the message to your family, friends and neighbors.
Mark Dimondstein, APWU President
Follow-Up Statement to APWU Members from President Mark Dimondstein
Re: New Revelations on USPS Cyber Security Breach
New revelations about the security breach in the Postal Service’s data systems are raising additional concerns about this very troubling incident. The APWU remains fully committed to protecting the rights of our members and demanding information from the USPS about what management knew and when they knew it.
Unfortunately, it appears the breach was worse than originally thought. Apparently, information regarding OWCP records that were shared with the Department of Labor exposed medical records, bank account and routing information for tens of thousands of employees and retirees. The Postal Service plans to issue follow-up letters to those impacted by the latest findings shortly.
Because the Postal Service has refused to bargain in good faith and continues to take unilateral action in response to the data breach, the APWU is pursuing the unfair labor practice we filed on Nov. 10 with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the National Rural Letter Carriers (NRLCA) have also filed charges.
The APWU is committed to protecting the rights of our members and will do whatever is necessary to make sure our members are protected and made whole for any damages suffered as a result of the security breach – now and in the future.
We are working with our sister unions to ensure that postal employees and retirees receive the information you need and that every effort is made to protect you.
I will continue to be personally involved and will keep you posted as more information is obtained.
Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service!
Today, the American Postal Workers Union and more than 60 national organizations have come together in A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service!
OUR MISSION A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is a wonderful national treasure, enshrined in the Constitution and supported by the American people. Without any taxpayer funding, the USPS serves 150 million households and businesses each day, providing affordable, universal mail service to all – including rich and poor, rural and urban, without regard to age, nationality, race or gender.
The U.S. Postal Service belongs to “We, the People.” But the USPS and postal jobs are threatened by narrow monied interests aimed at undermining postal services and dismantling this great public institution.
Even some postal executives have been complicit in the drive toward the destruction of the Postal Service and ultimate privatization: They have slowed mail service, closed community based Post Offices and mail processing facilities, slashed hours of operations, tried ceaselessly to end six-day service as well as door to door delivery, and eliminated hundreds of thousands of living wage jobs.
Good postal jobs are vital to strong, healthy communities, and have provided equal opportunities and the foundation for financial stability for workers from all walks of life, including racial and ethnic minorities, women and veterans. Postal services are essential to commerce and bind together families, friends and loved ones. In the day of e-commerce, a public postal service is as relevant as ever.
Yet those corporate forces who want to privatize public services allege that curtailing postal services and eliminating jobs are necessary due to diminishing mail volume and “burdensome” union wages and benefits. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, a Congressionally-manufactured USPS “crisis” imposed an unfair crushing financial mandate on the Postal Service that no other government agency or private company is forced to bear. (The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 compels the USPS to pay approximately $5.5 billion per year to fund future retiree healthcare costs 75 years in advance.) Without this unreasonable burden, the USPS would have enjoyed an operating surplus of $600 million in 2013 and over $1.4 Billion in 2014.
The people of this country deserve great public postal services. We advocate expanded services, such as non-profit postal banking and other financial services. We call on the Postmaster General and Postal Board of Governors to strengthen and champion the institution.
The public good must not be sacrificed for the sake of private investment and profit. A strong public Postal Service is our democratic right. Join us in the fight to protect and enhance vibrant public postal services now – and for many generations to come.