2024: A Year of Challenges and Opportunities

Mark Dimondstein

January 8, 2024

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Whatever your holiday traditions and beliefs, I hope you and your family had safe, enjoyable holidays.

With last year in the rearview mirror, the “struggle continues” in 2024. In addition to daily battles to enforce our union contract, I’d like to highlight some of our upcoming challenges and opportunities as a union:

New Union Contract: The main Collective Bargaining Agreement (union contract) covering 200,000 postal workers expires on Sept. 20, 2024. Negotiations will begin on June 25. Our union contract sets the wages, benefits, and rights of postal workers. The national union is already deep in preparations - reviewing national convention resolutions, engaging economists, assessing other union contracts, and identifying priorities. Negotiations are never easy, as we, the workers, have our goals, while the bosses have theirs. The outcome of this struggle depends on building power and leverage. Every member can help achieve a solid and fair new contract by engaging in the coming contract campaign.

Network Changes: Management’s “network modernization” plans will expand with the opening of more large Regional Distribution Sort Centers and Sorting and Delivery Centers. The wave of new automation will have a negative impact on our workforce. The APWU leadership is fully engaged and will continue to do our best to protect jobs and services. Contractual protections regarding the potential excessing of employees will be fully enforced. We will organize community-based fightbacks when any management changes diminish service.

APWU Leadership Institute: This spring, we will hold our first-ever twice-a-year Leadership Institute with the goal of developing an ever-stronger leadership core. Interest is high, as over 400 members applied for the first 30 available slots. Some of the classes at the Institute will also be shared at various state educational seminars.

Safety and Toxic Workplaces: Management’s creation of hostile working conditions is a long-standing and worsening problem. Together, from the workroom floor to the negotiating table, from the streets to Capitol Hill, we must compel management to respect postal workers, who deserve nothing less.

Proper Staffing: Short staffing is another long-term problem that undermines service and increases workplace stress. Management has been responsive to better staffing in mail processing, but not in retail. We will continue to unite with the public and demand staffi ng levels that keep retail lines short, post offi ces open, and create a safer workplace.

Campaign for Expanded Services: The 2022 Postal Service Reform Act created new opportunities for the USPS to perform “non-postal” services for local, state, and tribal governments. New services are crucial for our future. I have challenged all our locals and members to be proactive in seeking out ways to expand services.

Legislation, 2024 Elections, and Vote-By-Mail: Fixing the unfair penalty that reduced earned Social Security benefits of Civil Service retirees, and enabling PSEs to buy back time for retirement purposes once converted to career are top legislative priorities. We will be proactive in the 2024 elections with an eye toward protecting our jobs, public postal services, as well as protecting and expanding democratic and workers’ rights. Robust vote-by-mail provides access to the ballot box for millions when voting rights are under assault.

National Convention: Our biennial national conventions are key to our union democracy. The July convention will host some 2,000 delegates in Detroit who will debate and vote on resolutions that help direct our union. Every member has a voice through their local’s submitting resolutions for consideration, as well as choosing their convention delegates.

Non-Stop Organizing: Signing up the non-members in our ranks and organizing postal workers in the private sector, such as at Amazon, is vital to building worker power in our industry.

Your participation, creativity, and ideas are welcome and needed to build our union power as we look forward to a busy year. “Union Strong, All Day Long” is the path of continued progress!

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