From the Field

January 11, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Below are quotes from various APWU local and state publications throughout the country. All the publications listed are part of the Postal Press Association (PPA). For more information on the PPA, visit apwupostalpress.org or email ppa@apwupostalpress.org.

“So many folks fought extremely hard for the wages, working conditions and benefits that we all have. Each of us should be grateful. How do we protect what we have? We get involved! So many times I hear folks say that the stewards and officers are the union. Brothers and sisters, you are the union! Stewards and officers are those that stepped up to protect our rights. What would happen if every steward and officer in this local stepped down tomorrow? There are quite a few of us officers and stewards that are at retirement age or nearing that age. Who is going to step up and fight? We all need each other because ‘we’ are the union.” – Amy Puhalski, Western Michigan Area Local President, WMAL Voice

“We are looking for motivated members to become union stewards. Are you looking for something more challenging and rewarding than your normal day-to-day job? Do you want to learn more about the contract, local memorandum of understanding, postal handbooks and manuals? Do you think you have what it takes to learn to be an effective contract enforcer? Do you want management to follow the rules and see fellow member’s rights protected? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you would be a good candidate to be a steward and your union desperately needs more stewards to ensure its fine reputation for success continues into the future!” – Brad Sandberg, Minneapolis Area Local President, The Northern Light

“2020 has been tough. It has been tough both physically and mentally. Just about every single office or station we cover is short of clerks. That equates to the clerks getting extra work dumped on them daily. A lot of us are on the last half of our careers, which means that we are not exactly spring chickens anymore. The increase in parcels has created a dynamic to our workday that is a touch different from the norm. We are spending a good portion of our day lifting heavy boxes, much more than we are used to. That’s the physically challenging part. The mental struggles come from many different things… Let’s all do our best to try and stay focused on the job at hand and move on to the next task, one step at a time.” – Jen Lemke, Toledo Area Local (OH) Clerk Craft Director, The Black Swamp Outrider

“Though this year has been a challenging one, I realize I am blessed beyond measure and am thankful for the life I am able to live, due to my good paying job with benefits that has allowed me to maintain an amazing quality of life! All of it was made possible by the negotiations and struggles of the people who came before me in the fight for justice. Let’s not take that progress for granted and also recognize at what cost some of our benefits have been obtained.” – Melinda Scott, Kansas Postal Workers Union Maintenance Craft Director, The Jayhawk Fed

Is your local a member of the Postal Press Association? Learn more about joining at apwupostalpress.org.

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