Our Negotiated Right to Organize is a Union's Foundation

Anna Smith

January 8, 2024

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As we prepare to take on the USPS in another round of contract negotiations, we need to show solidarity on the workroom floor. For the most part we all have similar goals that ultimately provide for a better life for postal workers. They may not realize it, but when non-members choose not to join the union, they are taking a stand against that goal. Non-members not only weaken the union, but they also harm themselves more.

Our negotiated right to organize is a union’s foundation. It’s a path to success and without it, there is no future. We need to ensure our union uplifts all. Therefore, I challenge each one of you, as a member, to reach out to a non-member, and ask them to stand with you.

Actively organizing our non-members by asking them to stand with you by joining the APWU is just one of the traits of being in a union. Help your coworkers understand that by choosing to remain a non-member they are not only working against their own best interests, but yours as well! Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are an APWU member like you!

Don’t let your vision be blurred by a faulty expectation that someone else is going to do all the work in our contract fi ght. Throughout our upcoming negotiations you will be called upon to get actively involved in our effort to win a good contract. I encourage each of you to consider, for a moment, what you can do in the interest of your future, and that of your family, friends, and co-workers.

Below are just some examples of what APWU members have achieved by working together. Help your non-member coworkers see the union difference, that only by joining will they have input on the negotiated benefits. ■

All APWU Members Have:

  • Union Democracy
  • A voice and a vote
  • Membership ratification of contracts
  • Direct elections of all union officers
  • Opportunities to participate at all levels of the organization
  • A team to represent you in contract negotiations
  • An effective grievance-arbitration procedure
  • Protections against unjust discipline, including termination
  • Prohibitions against unilateral actions by our employer
  • An active legislative program that fights for the interest of postal workers on Capitol Hill
  • Representation and provision for safe working conditions

Career Employees Have:

  • Wage protections
  • Regular pay increases
  • Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA)
  • Night differential pay
  • Sunday premium pay
  • Enforcement of overtime provisions
  • Time-and-a-half for overtime
  • Penalty-pay for excessive overtime
  • Out-of-schedule premium
  • Comprehensive Health insurance options
  • APWU Consumer Driven Health Plan – with 95 percent of the premiums paid for by the USPS
  • Basic Life insurance with additional insurance options available
  • 11 paid holidays
  • Annual Leave accrual
  • Sick Leave accrual
  • Flexible Spending Accounts for health care and dependent care
  • Holiday scheduling and overtime rights
  • Allowances for uniform and work clothing
  • Contractual provisions against layoffs
  • Excessing limitations

Postal Support Employees Have:

  • Wage protections
  • Regular pay increases
  • Annual leave accrual
  • Night differential pay
  • Enforcement of overtime provisions
  • Time-and-a-half for overtime
  • Penalty-pay for excessive overtime
  • Higher-level pay when performing higher level work
  • Work hour guarantees when scheduled, and you report, for work
  • Health benefits eligibility upon entering on duty
  • Opportunity to enroll in Federal Employee Health Benefit program after first 360-day term and upon reappointment – with up to 75 percent of the total premium paid for by the USPS for any PSE who selects the APWU Consumer Driven Health Plan
  • 6 paid holidays
  • Annual uniform allowance
  • Strong contractual language that provides opportunities for career appointments
  • Representation in the grievance procedure
  • Reappointments by seniority, not favoritism

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