The APWU is Launching an Important New Campaign and Every Member Can Help

Mark Dimondstein

September 19, 2023

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Every postal worker knows it. Mail is changing. There are ever fewer letters and flats, and increasingly more packages. First-class mail, the main historic driver of postal revenues, has been significantly reduced with the advent of the internet. Fewer customers actually come into post offices to purchase stamps and other services. Birthday cards with stamps are often replaced with text messages. Bills are paid with the click of a mouse or right off a smartphone.

Much of the future for a strong and vibrant public Postal Service, and our job security, depends on capturing and performing new and expanded services, especially through the massive postal retail network. Some examples could include new financial services, various licensings, voter registration, electric vehicle charging stations, and motor vehicle registrations.

A significantly negative aspect of the 2006 Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (PAEA) was to largely restrict the USPS from providing “non-postal” services.

One area where the USPS can and does perform “nonpostal” services is in relation to the federal government. Passport services negotiated with the U.S. State Department is a prime example.

Now the passage of the historic 2022 Postal Service Reform Act (PSRA) opens the door for new opportunities to expand non-postal services to local, state, and tribal governments.

The Act says in part, “… the Postal Service may establish a program to enter into agreements with an agency of any State Government, local government or tribal government to provide property or nonpostal services to the public on behalf of such agencies…”

I have asked and encouraged APWU local and state organizations to form committees to advocate for new local, state and tribal government services. These committees will reach out to various city councils, mayors, county commissions, state agencies, and governors’ offices to discuss potential services that could be performed through the Post Office, by postal workers. (One caveat is that we will not be seeking to perform any work currently performed by other unionized workers.)

Where these committees find real interest on the part of the various government entities and agencies, the committees can build popular grassroots support and share any ideas with the APWU national leadership. Since only national postal management can finalize any agreements with the government agencies, the APWU national will then press top management to move forward with concrete plans and action. We cannot rely on postal management to take advantage of the new opportunities for expanded work. It is incumbent on us to be proactive, take initiative, and build the movement to win new work and services.

One of our great strengths as a union is that we have members everywhere and across the wide political spectrum. Many members and leaders have strong relationships with elected officials of all political affiliations at the local and state levels. We also have strong ties with community organizations that would benefit from various new and expanded services, and can be rallied to join us in these efforts.

Every member can volunteer in this effort and can make a positive difference. Let your local leaders know you want to help. Share your ideas for new and expanded services. Reach out to elected officials you know, and discuss possible new local, state, and tribal government “non-postal” services.

Let’s get to work with the new opportunity created by the 2022 PSRA and take advantage of our broad reach and connections throughout the country. A better future for postal workers and postal customers depends on it! ■

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