Delegates Vow to Fight
Privatization of Parcel Post
Convention News Bulletin #05-08, Aug. 25, 2008
On the final day of the APWU 19th Biennial Convention, delegates adopted a resolution calling on the union’s national leadership to “lead and organize resistance to any/all attempts to privatize the parcel business.”
Resolution 161, Fight Privatization of Parcel Business, also encouraged union members to urge elected legislators to delay implementation of any provisions of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 that allow for the privatization of postal work. The law requires Congress to review the underpinnings of the Postal Service, including universal service, the mailbox monopoly, six-day delivery, and the postal network.
“The Postal Service has embarked on a strategy to undermine parcel post,” said Eastern Region Coordinator Mike Gallagher, noting that the USPS has asked for bids from competitors to perform many of the duties currently conducted at the nation’s 21 Bulk Mail Centers. “They will privatize us incrementally,” he warned delegates, “first the BMCs, then other work,” unless the union and the American people put a stop to their efforts.
If UPS or FedEx take over the parcel business, Gallagher cautioned union members, they will control USPS expenses, “making our costs higher and killing our product line.”
Gallagher noted that U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Murphy (D-PA) had written to members of the House Appropriations Committee [PDF], asking that 2009 appropriations bills “suspend the misguided plan to privatize BMC operations.” He urged delegates to try to persuade their legislators to do the same.
Vince Tarducci, president of the Philadelphia BMC Local, issued an impassioned plea: “The Postal Service has a plan and it is fatal” to the future of postal employees and service to the American people, he said. “A few years ago we first heard of the USPS plan to contract out the AMCs [Air Mail Centers]. Now, they have changed the letter ‘A’ to the letter ‘B.’ Tomorrow they can easily subtract the letter ‘B’ and replace it with ‘P&D.’ Nothing stops them but the letters “A- P- W- U.”
Tarducci encouraged delegates to “make some collective noise in the legislative field.”
In other convention business, delegates approved resolutions adopted at conferences immediately preceding the convention that focused on topics of specific interest to each craft.
Clerk Craft goals included protecting jobs; educating members and the public about the pitfalls of the Automated Postal Centers in retail lobbies, and improving and expanding uniform allowances. Maintenance Craft resolutions addressed housing arrangements while attending training at the NCED in Norman, OK; timeframes for filling residual vacancies; upgrades; suspension of seniority for 204Bs, and protecting jobs. Motor Vehicle Services resolutions focused on opposing subcontracting.
Delegates also adopted the recommendations of numerous committees, including Appeals, Legislative, Human Relations, and Safety and Health.
First-Time Delegates Honored
On the last day of the convention, APWU President William Burrus paid tribute to first-time delegates, asking them to stand to be recognized by their fellow convention-goers. “You are the future of the union,” he told them. “We ask that you take forward a sense of solidarity.
“You have seen us agree and disagree,” he said referring to the often-passionate debate throughout the week, “but it has been in the name of solidarity for the best interests of the members.”
Byron Murdaugh, a first-time delegate from the Philadelphia Area Local, said, “I was awed and impressed by the solidarity. These are historic years for the Postal Service with all the excessing and it is great how the people are manning up together and fighting.
“I’m also impressed with how the officers break everything down so you can get a clear understanding of what’s going on and how important it is to be a union member.”
Parliamentarian Says Goodbye
Lorraine Buckley, who plans to retire after serving as parliamentarian at every APWU convention since 1982, said goodbye to the union on the final day of the convention. “It’s been a very interesting journey,” she said. “I have learned so much about the Postal Service.”
Although many of the union’s top-ranking officers are experts in parliamentary procedure, the parliamentarian’s job is to advise them as they chair the meetings. Buckley rarely addressed the conventions, but when she said farewell delegates responded with a prolonged standing ovation.
“I have served many conventions and I have acquired many new friends, but I value the friendship of each and every one of you because you have been so kind…. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Credentials Committee Report
As presented by Chairperson Geneva Greenlee of the Indiana APWU, the preliminary report of the APWU Credentials Committee for Friday, Aug. 22, is as follows: The 19th Biennial Convention’s 3,220 delegates represent 417 locals, 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Also in attendance are 85 national officers and five Retirees Department delegates.