A New Day, A New Way in Organizing

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(This article appears in the January-February 2014 edition of The American Postal Worker.)

Anna Smith, Organization Director

A bright new day is here. As your newly elected director of Organization, I want to congratulate all the new and re-elected officers. To those who have left office, thank you for your years of dedication to the APWU. Without your hard work we would not enjoy many of the benefits and privileges we have today.

It is a long ways from my home state of Oregon, but I am settling into my office in Washington DC. I am encouraged and heartened by everyone’s serious commitment to the membership and I look forward to the challenges ahead.

The Organization Department is developing new and updated material to help local and state organizations sign-up our co-workers who refuse to pay their fair share. It won’t happen overnight but one day at a time – one member at a time.

I have been busy evaluating the organizing program that is currently in place and modifying it to better meet the needs of local organizers on the workroom floor.

Training, Incentives

We will soon be offering training for organizers and incentives for APWU members who sign-up non-members. We also are working to improve the material we provide locals and state organizations for use at orientation for new employees, including the sign-up form itself, Form 1187.

Recognizing that what works in one area does not always work across the country, we will tailor organizing programs to specific regional, state and local needs. Many local leaders have already submitted ideas to improve our efforts. I appreciate the input and encourage you to contact my department by letter, phone or email if you have ideas to enhance our efforts to organize.

Set Goals

What can you do today?

Begin by thinking about your organizing goals for 2014. Without goals we have nothing to strive for and no way to measure whether our efforts were successful.

To set organizing goals, we must think about how many new members we hope to sign up, and over what period of time. Setting a short-term realistic goal is often the most effective. We will reward locals that reach their goals. So start talking with your officers, activists and members about what you can do and what would help your organizing efforts.

Plans are already underway for our next organizing drive. I know I can count on our local leaders, so my goal is to help them motivate rank-and-file members to become involved in our drives as well.

Lead Organizers

One of my immediate goals is to begin identifying lead organizers in every region. These lead organizers will work within their area gathering information on the successes and failures of local drives. They will assist with training in their region so that we can have a training curriculum at as many venues as possible.

Working with locals and keeping them up-to-date on community events will also be a priority so that we can strengthen our alliances within our communities.

Organizing will be more than signing up the non- dues paying member. It will mean getting more active in our communities and participating in Central Labor Councils and organizations like Jobs with Justice. It will be about building our labor movement and stopping the divide-and-conquer tactics of those who stand against us.

Organizing is the lifeblood of our union and together we will make a difference.

I thank everyone who has expressed their support and will be working hard in the next three years to meet every challenge that comes our way.

“Organizing in Solidarity” is our creed and we will never falter in our efforts.

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