New Beginning, New Goals for Human Relations

Daleo Freeman

May 6, 2022

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(This article first appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of the American Postal Workers magazine)

I would like to begin by thanking President Dimondstein and the National Executive Board for appointing me to the position of Director of Human Relations. I extend a very special thank you as well to all the members of the APWU for supporting your union and the collective spirit that motivates all of us representing you.

There is much work to be done in this department. Before we get to the goals that we intend to accomplish, it’s helpful to revisit the constitutional duties of the Human Relations Department. The APWU Constitution states the Director “shall prepare and direct programs in the area of Equal Opportunity, Civic, Community Service and all other related programs.” The Director shall also make recommendations to the President for Representatives to handle OWCP and EEO cases on an as-needed basis.

It is my goal as Human Relations Director to build a National Network System across the country to meet members where they are. There is so much more to representing the membership and the Union than simply utilizing the grievance procedure. So, in accordance with the constitution our department will strive to continue to protect of our members’ rights and benefits, keep members aware of the available resources to assist them in various needs, and continue to build on the great accomplishments of those directors who came before me.

I’ll seek to continue the work of former Director Sydney Brooks, who helped lead the way, with others, in combating discrimination and ushering in an end to apartheid in South Africa; and former Director Sue Carney who fought for the rights of our Veterans and injured members.

We will put forth a strong effort into making sure that all the Veterans in our ranks will be recognized for their sacrifices and contribution. We must continue with these battles and the ones facing us today. It is imperative that we have a nationwide effort to make sure everyone has and uses the various union resources we have to offer. With respect to OWCP, with my input, President Dimondstein will appoint regional resource assistants for OWCP to carry out programs to train, support and assist locals in the fight to make sure injured employees are fully aware of their rights under the law.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is underutilized and I hope to bring more awareness to the benefits that this program provides. This is a shared priority of the Union and the Postal Service, to provide EAP assistance widely and expeditiously.

Another major objective I want to address as the Human Relations Director is the Human Side of what we do. This entails involving members and their families in other organizations, building alliances beyond the APWU to address issues that affect everyone. We must continue to forge a nationwide coalition that makes sure the public knows that the labor movement is integral to everything they do. Also, there is value in making sure that we all, as union members, are accessible and available to help all of our sisters and brothers no matter where they are and provide the necessary support from the union.

In conclusion, I look forward to applying my experience as a 28-year Postal Employee, 25-year Union Advocate, and my 4-plus terms as a Local and State union leader to this new position. This experience has led me to understand that everyone must be included in the process and your ideas about how to better expand our Human Relations Department are more than welcome. Let’s continue to forge ahead in solidarity.

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