Fighting Forward

Mark Dimondstein

November 21, 2019

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(This article first appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

The following are excerpts from President Dimondstein’s installation speech given on Oct. 31, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV:

I am deeply honored to be re-elected by our members for a third term as national president. I congratulate all who have been elected. Join me in wishing the outgoing officers the very best and thanking them for their contributions and dedication to the APWU and postal workers.

Our election is over. Now principled unity is key, as we battle corporate greed, Wall Street privatizers, a hostile political environment, and those in management who are undermining the Postal Service.

Together, working with you, we are marching forward and building an activist, winning union. We achieved the 2015 contract stopping the downward spiral of concessionary bargaining and winning more job security, protected jobs in the victorious Stop Staples battle, built A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, converted 66,000 Postal Support Employees to career, negotiated important settlements that protect our work, fought against plant closings, aggressively enforced the contract, encouraged new and young workers to step up, strengthened the retirees department, improved cooperation among the four postal unions, campaigned for expanded services including postal banking, practiced solidarity with other unions and workers, improved communications with the members, and built an impressive fightback campaign in the critical fight against postal privatization.

But we cannot rest. We are working, living and struggling when there is an all-out war on workers… It is Them vs Us, Wall Street vs. Main Street, Capital vs Labor.

Our problems did not start, nor will they end, with this [Presidential] Administration. But they are intensifying as witnessed by the Janus Supreme Court ruling, increased voter suppression, Executive Orders to destroy federal unions, and the outrageous lock-out of 800,000 government workers. Green lights from the highest office have unleashed a “divide and conquer” torrent of race and religious hatred and immigrant bashing.

The paramount job security battle of our time is to ensure the public Postal Service remains just that. Our jobs, our union and the people’s democratic right enshrined in the Constitution depend on our determination and success. Since the White House plans for full-blown postal privatization emerged, the APWU has mobilized all hands-on deck. With a soon to be new Postmaster General chosen by the Trump controlled Postal Board of Governors, this critical battle will greatly intensify.

I challenge all of us to find ways to inspire and encourage members to attend meetings, join committees, write articles, stand up for safe jobs, sign up non-members, wear union gear with pride, welcome young workers, lobby politicians, fight for postal banking, stand in solidarity with all workers, and speak up and defend the public post office.

We, the people, are the makers of history. Dolores Huerta, famed farmworker leader, who graced our last convention at 88 years young, challenges working folks to “walk the street with us into history.” Be encouraged by the words of Tommy Douglas, the beloved Canadian leader and founder of their labor party, the National Democratic Party, “Courage my friends, tis not too late to build a better world!”

And so, from our workplaces to the streets, from our neighborhoods to the halls of Congress, it’s time to ever more educate, organize, mobilize and galvanize. We cannot solely elect, litigate, hope or grieve our way out of these difficult and dangerous times. We will have to fight our way forward with a movement of millions. We must organize the unorganized and save our unions. We must carry on the crusade to save the public Postal Service and our collective bargaining rights, and to take on corporate Wall Street power with more workers’ power! Let’s continue to stand up and fight back, hand in hand with each other, all crafts, active, retiree and auxiliary members, postal and other unions, community allies and the people who support the public post office and trust postal workers.

Solidarity Forever!

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