Let us Rise in 2020!

Debby Szeredy

January 23, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

I hope you were able to have a few moments to share some holiday time with family and friends. Hopefully your time at work involved standing strong and sticking together with your sisters and brothers of your union.

Our priorities this year include getting a better Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) from Arbitrator Goldberg, stopping further privatization of our Postal Service and bringing back the many jobs the Postal Service has taken from workers. Ten years of short staffing has taken a toll on our members.

We need to start preparing to rise up with people power. That includes all our members, family, friends, neighbors, community organizations, and our political representatives. We have to rise up to protect our working and living environment.

At the 2019 All-Craft Conference, we had our first APWU Union Climate Change Session, where we gave attendees a survey to find out what our members thought about the effects of climate change on postal workers and the responsibilities of the USPS. Our living and working environment must be turned around soon.

It was very clear from the survey that weather, air quality, and unsafe working conditions affect us on and off the job:

  • 62 percent of those surveyed (291) felt climate change has increased in frequency and intensity.
  • 33 percent felt that climate change interrupted jobs, wages, or benefits.
  • 54 percent have had their home or household expenses affected.
  • 87 percent felt that the USPS has failed at communicating the impact of climate change on the Postal Service and/or your work location.
  • 69 percent believe that climate change will affect our children and grandchildren personally.
  • 71 percent have family members who have been affected by extreme weather, and 30 percent of members have experienced health issues due to extreme weather and exposure to bad air quality.
  • 83 percent think it is better for the union to engage in the fight against climate change destruction.

We received so many ideas as to what the union should be doing to combat climate change, including negotiating how the Postal Service should help reduce the carbon footprint and invest in cleaner energy and provide a safer work environment. Members added comments they wanted to make and added to what we may have missed.

Many thanks to those who participated. We also have 114 members who wanted to be a part of the APWU’s fight against climate change. Any members interested in signing on please contact my office at 202-842-4250.

The latest activities in Washington, D.C. have been “Fire Drill Fridays.” At these events, celebrities and activists have joined together each Friday at the Capitol building to rally and voluntarily submit to civil disobedience arrests in order to send an urgent message to Congress to move forward on Green New Deal legislation.

As 15-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg has said, “act like our house is on fire – because it is.” Dec. 13, 2019’s Fire Drill theme was “Jobs, Communities and a Just Transition Can’t Wait.” Actress Sally Field was arrested, and some APWU members were in attendance.

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