Activate, Participate, and Engage

AJ Jones

July 18, 2023

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Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I hope you and your families are well and enjoying a safe summer. The union is up against some of the most challenging times we have seen in years. This is a call to action for all members of the APWU to activate, participate, and engage.

Who is Running the Local?

Our retirees are an important part of the APWU and have always been there supporting our union. However, solely relying on our gracious retirees to run our local union is a greater challenge than they should have to endure. Their knowledge, skills, and experience are such a benefit to our union’s growth, and that is invaluable. I often hear about a local president who has decided to retire from the USPS and remain as the local president. This is a plus to those locals who gain such a benefit. In other cases, folks decide not to seek re-election as president. Many say, “I will stick around and help out.” This is great and crucial to mentoring new officers and maintaining the history of our great union. Unfortunately, this often ends with them running the local due to a lack of interest from the rank-and-file members.

This is a slippery slope and risky situation for a local and its members. Once an officer decides it’s time to take a supportive role, as opposed to a leadership role, we must respect their decision. One day, that retiree will decide it’s time to move on, at which point, others must step up and take the lead.

A structured plan must be in place for this to happen so a local remains vibrant. This is not an easy task, but putting off the inevitable is like leaving a Band-Aid on a wound that was never cleaned. It’s time to rip off that Band-Aid, treat the wound, and allow for healing to provide for a better future. Now is the time to find creative ways to get members directly involved in our union. Being a member is great, but we need to engage our members if we want to prosper.

Changing Times

Often times when change happens the first reaction is fear. Fear of the unknown is what we are really afraid of. The Postal Service is moving quickly with their plans under the 10-year plan. How will we figure it all out? What does all of this mean to us? Will I be able to keep my job? What if I have to move and work in a different office? These are some concerns I hear from folks.

One initiative is the implementation of Sorting and Delivery Centers, otherwise referred to as S&DCs. The USPS began placing carriers into buildings which in some cases were previously known as Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DCs) impacted under the Area Mail Processing (AMP) initiative. They will move carriers into these buildings and put package sorting equipment in place. This may result in an Article 12 event in the office that lost carriers. So far, things are not going as planned. I know, you’re not surprised, neither am I. Keep track of your jobs and file grievances on all violations.

Other initiatives include the implementation of Regional Processing and Distribution Centers (RP&DCs) and Local Processing Centers (LPCs).

I would like to wish Sharyn Stone the outgoing Central Region Coordinator a happy and healthy retirement and welcome Amy Puhalski, the newly appointed Central Region Coordinator, to the National Executive Board.

I, along with my colleague coordinators, Central Region Coordinator, Amy Puhalski, Western Region Coordinator, Omar Gonzales, Southern Region Coordinator, Yared Wonde, and Northeast Region Coordinator, Tiffany Foster, stand strong and here to help in any way we can.

In Solidarity,

AJ Jones ■

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