Postal Workers Weathered the Storm

Kennith L. Beasley

July 9, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

The past 15 months has been challenging and stressful for postal workers. The COVID-19 pandemic spared no one, touching almost everyone in some way, and it still is not totally eradicated. I would be remiss if I did not thank our local and state union representatives, and our dedicated National Business Agents, who were determined and relentless in their plight to get management to cooperate in unison with the union in getting the COVID-19 health and safety information out to all postal employees.

Our national, state and local union leaders’ efforts and dedication to heighten awareness so postal workers could properly protect themselves from the deadly virus prevented many more employees from getting sick. We are still in the storm, but there is hope now that we have proven vaccines to protect us all, along with masks, hand-washing and social distancing. We all hope the worst is behind us.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

It is amazing and unbelievable that the Postmaster General is planning to implement a version of the same “answer” to the Postal Service’s financial problems that we know does not work: closing and consolidating plants. It also is amazing that his 10-Year Plan is supposed to improve the efficiency of the Post Office, but some of management’s ideas are contradictive to what any progressive agency or company would do to improve service. It is hard to understand why the USPS, while being such a gigantic and viable agency and after all these years, has not figured out ways to become innovative and creative in coming up with an operational process to speed up delivery, preserve efficiency and the integrity of the public Postal Service altogether.

Too many “ideas” are on the backs of postal workers and the public, and do not secure thriving public postal services. You cannot say slowing down mail delivery in a world of advanced technology and expected instant gratification is being efficient. The plan will drive more customers away, not preserve the U.S. mail.

Confidence in Your Leaders and Each Other

Confidence in our leaders during contract negotiation time is paramount. The members on the work room floor elected the APWU leaders, at the local and national level because of their confidence in them. The best thing that you can do is to let them know that you support them, and not waver. You will be surprised how much strength it gives our negotiating team when we are clearly united on the workfloor.

Every union member can get involved in building the strength of our union in many ways. One way is building a relationship with your co-workers in a supportive manner. I always said that a true trade unionist wakes up every morning and goes to work fully energized and enthusiastic, making the workplace a union hall, and looking to build solidarity in order to strengthen our union. So let us all try to focus on coming together and showing good will toward each other, so we can altogether work to attain our goals together. An African proverb says, “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

All of our APWU leaders including myself and my fellow coordinators, Central Region Coordinator Sharyn Stone, Eastern Region Coordinator AJ Jones, Northeast Coordinator Tiffany Foster and Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez, are committed and determined to continue to fight for the success of the APWU, and for your job security at the Postal Service.

Yours in Solidarity!

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