Promoting Unity Within, and Among, our APWU Family

Daleo Freeman

September 18, 2023

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The Human Relations Department strives to demonstrate that a progressive union goes beyond the necessary and important responsibilities of negotiating and enforcing our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). I am pleased to be able to direct the programs of the department, which are aimed at fulfilling members’ needs, for solutions that are outside of the scope of the CBA.

The department is committed to promoting unity within, and among, our APWU family. We understand that diversity includes differences in opinion. Diverse views are expected and welcomed, and should be handled with respect for others. Our goal is for everyone to work to handle issues with a collective approach that is intended to benefit all of us. Unity is one of the guiding principles of our work in the department, and the work that I will report on in this article.

Most of you know that one program under the jurisdiction of the department is intended to assist APWU members with Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) matters. I have been keeping the newly established Regional Resource Assistants (RRAs) busy with this task. I extend my thanks to the RRAs and their dedication to the membership of this great union. I thank them for helping with achieving the progress that we have accomplished. I thank all state and local members for supporting the new program, which involves training and presenting information that is vital for success in OWCP matters.

We have received an overwhelming amount of feedback from members who attended the training sessions, and the vast majority of the responses have been positive. We have done so much work since the implementation of this program, and there is much more work to be done. We are working on the next steps. Don’t hesitate to contact the Human Relations Department with any requests or questions concerning OWCP.

We missed everyone who was not able to attend the Human Relations Assembly that took place in Baltimore, MD. It is our hope that someone from our APWU family who attended the Assembly made the effort to update you. We also intend to reach you directly in the future.

To recap on the sessions held at the Assembly, for the first time on my watch, we held an Assembly that proved to be a significant educational and empowering family gathering. We were overjoyed by the engagement of members from across the country who were able to attend the training. We encouraged members to take the information given on OWCP, Civil Rights, Civic Participation, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the Postal Employees Relief Fund (PERF), Veterans Resources, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), and more back to their respective areas and educate members on these issues. It was an honor and extreme pleasure to train and assist in training our fellow family members.

At the beginning of the Assembly, I warned attendees that some of the subject matters might make some members uncomfortable, and I acknowledge that a few members voiced that they did indeed feel some agitation. Rest assured that the agitation was not arbitrary. The purpose of presenting challenging content is to foster understanding and unity going forward. We cannot solve problems that are not known, are ignored, or misunderstood. We look forward to better assisting locals as we continue to move forward.

The initiatives and efforts coming from the department aim to equip all members in an equitable manner. If you would like to schedule a training on areas that are under the jurisdiction of this Department, please contact my office. We will coordinate dates and times. The Struggle Continues. ■

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