APWU Announces Dedication of Headquarters Boardroom to President William H. Burrus

February 23, 2024

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APWU has honored the legacy of former President William H. Burrus by renaming the National Executive Boardroom at APWU Headquarters in his memory.  William H. Burrus Executive Boardroom

President Emeritus Burrus was elected as APWU President from 2001- 2010, following a role as Executive Vice President between 1980-2001. The first African-American president of a national union directly elected by members, his leadership and decades-long dedication to postal workers has left a lasting impact on the union.

In 1958, he began his postal career in Cleveland, OH where he began work as a mail clerk before transferring to the Maintenance Craft soon after. He rose through the ranks of his local union and participated in the Great Postal Strike of 1970. In 1974, he was elected president of the Cleveland Area Local, and later became the founder and first president of the APWU National Presidents’ Conference. He took pride in his role and protected the economic well-being of generations of postal workers by leading the successful fight to protect COLA increases in the 1978 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

In 1980, he joined Moe Biller to run for and win the union’s highest two offices. Ultimately, Burrus served as APWU Executive Vice-President under President Biller for 21 years.

Burrus negotiated many of the union’s most important achievements, including the “maximization clause,” which resulted in the conversion of hundreds of thousands of part-time flexible employees to full-time positions; the return of Priority Mail, which had been subcontracted; the application of the Family and Medical Leave Act; and securing the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday for postal workers, who were among the first federal workers to fight for and secure the observed day.

During the 2006 negotiations, Burrus helped make significant advances for postal workers. The Part-Time Flexible (PTF) category was eliminated from large offices, thousands of PTFs were converted to full-time, and all APWU-represented employees were upgraded.

Well-respected across various communities, Burrus served as a Vice-President of the AFL-CIO, named multiple times by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans and was regarded as a champion of the public postal service by Congressional representatives.

The dedication was made at the suggestion of Clerk Craft NBA, Vince Tarducci. President Mark Dimondstein noted at Burrus’s memorial service in 2018 that he is still a guiding force in the union today. “He was responsible for countless arbitration settlements and memorandums of understanding … Local and state officers throughout the country still rely on what we affectionately call the ‘Burrus Book,’ a compilation of hundreds of settlements negotiated with postal management.” ■

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