From the Field

May 1, 2018

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(This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 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.

“The union is you, me and the co-worker next to you. The union is all of us. We, as officers, have a job to represent, but without you as members standing up and standing behind the officers, there is no power in the union. If things are not the way they should be, or you feel something more needs to be done, then the union needs you to stand up for that. The officers can solve some things with class action grievances but if you want to see change, it requires UNITY and all of us working together to get the change you deserve and want.” — Mike Mize, Michigan Postal Workers Union President, Auto City Flint Facts

“What is the role you play as a union member? … Each of us has something to contribute to the union; whether you are a steward, an officer or a member. Sometimes you may feel as though you are not important to the United States Postal Service. However, you should always feel as though you are an asset to the union.”  — Turnette Chestnut, North Carolina Council APWU District 2 Representative, The Tarheel Postal Worker

“Many local managers and supervisors are quick to blame the union for the financial troubles of the Post Office. ‘If the union wouldn’t file all these grievances, we wouldn’t be spending so much money,’ they say. How unbelievably myopic! It is management’s fault they have no money. Look at the way they run the business; constant violations of the contract, improperly staffing operations and the inexplicable mismanagement of work hours. Instead of blaming the union for money spent on grievance settlements, perhaps they should stop the violations! No violation…no grievance. No grievance…no payout. Seems simple enough to me!” — Chad Beer, Lehigh Valley Area Local (PA) Clerk Craft Director, Lehigh Valley Visions

“We cannot police the contract alone, and with dozens of offices in our local, we need you! We need employees to reach out to us with questions and concerns… Most of all, and more than ever, we need stewards. One of the best ways to get involved is to become an alternate steward. This will unlock the door to becoming more versed in the contract and understanding the process better. We have lots of issues that go on in these offices and unfortunately, if we don’t know about the violations, we can’t do anything about it. This can be a building block in turning your office around.” — Mike Weigandt, Toledo Area Local (OH) Secretary, Black Swamp Outrider

“Upper management feels we are ‘over-staffed.’ For those of us who have worked for the Postal Service for any length of time the words ‘over-staffed’ are infuriating. At this point in time, lines at most of our post offices are more often longer than they should be which leads to insane wait times, annoyed customers, failed mystery shops, delayed mail, loss of repeat business and many other issues.”  — Robert Rodriguez, Oregon Postal Workers Union, District 3 Representative, Oregon Stater

“The best way to ensure the contract is followed in the first place is to be willing to stand up and say something! Familiarize yourself with the contract – know what order overtime should be called or how holiday scheduling should be prioritized. Knowing your rights makes us all stronger as a union. The union isn’t some far away building in Washington or the local hall, it’s all of us working together to build a better contract and support our rights.” — Monica Esquibel, Salt Lake City Area Local, POWER Coordinator, The Six-Bits

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