Standing Strong Together in the Past and in the Future

Anna Smith

March 18, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Sisters and Brothers, if there was ever a time to stand together as APWU members, that time is now. Government proposals are clearly and consciously aimed at our pay, benefits and working conditions, while attempting to pulverize the service we provide to the American public.

As in the past, this situation is just as serious as before when the powers-that-be crank up the USPS wrecking ball to meet their ultimate objective – to profit from privatizing our nationally treasured institution. How do we fight back these types of assaults that continue to come our way? The age old saying of strength in numbers applies. It is up to the members of the APWU to defend our rights and livelihoods. We are in a presidential election year. What better time to strengthen our numbers to defend ourselves, as these are the times in which anti-public Postal Service politicians use the USPS as a political leverage tool.

There will be significant loss of membership from retirements, downsizing and consolidations of facilities. Each and every local and state organization must start organizing campaigns immediately. Signing up our long-term non-member coworkers who have been enjoying negotiated benefits and job protections is just as important as signing up that new employee in orientation.

It is understandable that not everyone is comfortable with approaching these folks. But think about when you were approached. How did the person who spoke to you the very first time about joining the APWU carry themselves? They were most likely polite and informed as to why joining the union is so very important to the rest of the membership, and why it should be important to you too.

Some people are intimidated by management for all sorts of obvious reasons, and some are not even quite sure if they are permitted to approach a new coworker or known non-member. Article 31.1 of our collective bargaining agreement gives us the right to solicit others to join the union “in non-work areas of the Employer’s premises, provided such activity is carried out in a manner which does not interfere with the orderly conduct of the Employer’s operation.”

Speaking to your coworkers about joining and standing with you as a member is an opportunity to be actively involved in the APWU. The importance of gaining strength in numbers is more imperative than ever before. This is something you must convey to your non-member coworker.

What’s in a number?

50! Usually a golden occasion to celebrate an anniversary, a number that expresses a threshold of sorts. Perhaps the beginning of another, 50. So it is, that we begin the celebration of APWU’s Golden Anniversary. Fifty years of progress through struggle. Why struggle? Just imagine five separate institutions coming into one.

As we await the full ramification of our new contract, imagine seven unions negotiating one contract. We celebrate 50 years of progressive struggle because we deal with one of the oldest and most powerful government institutions. We have prevailed numerous times, despite seemingly insurmountable odds, because of our members.

As we enter into our 50th year, the Organization Department will be rolling out a new campaign: Organizing For 50 More. Be on the lookout for updated organizing materials and activities to assist every member in their organizing efforts to build on our great union.

You are remarkable and yes, you are resilient – but most of all you are APWU.

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