VOTE On The Contract

December 28, 2006

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Ballots for the referendum on a tentative National Agreement must be received in the New York offices of the American Arbitration Association by 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The vote-count will begin immediately and results will be posted on the APWU Web site,

(Note: The original deadline for ballots to be received was Jan. 9 — see Contract Ratification Balloting Extended to Jan. 12.)

The single-question ballot offers a choice of ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ In a mailing that included the statement of the Rank-and-File Bargaining Advisory Committee and a letter from President William Burrus, voters also received:

  • A summary of the changes
  • A copy of the tentative agreement
  • A ballot 
  • A return envelope 

The Rank-and-File Committee voted unanimously on Dec. 7 to approve the tentative agreement. In accordance with Article 13.9.C of the APWU Constitution, the committee must approve a tentative agreement before members are given the opportunity to vote.

Mailing to Non-Members 

As part of an unprecedented organizing campaign, the APWU has sent a “ratification packet” to workers represented by the union who are not members. The mailing includes a summary of new contractual provisions, a ballot, and an invitation to vote in the contract referendum.

There’s a catch, of course. The non-members’ votes will be counted only if they complete union sign-up cards, which were also enclosed.

“The stakes are too high for you to defer to others the decision on your future,” President Burrus said in a letter accompanying the mailing. “The only way you can have a voice in whether or not the changes to the National Agreement are enacted is by becoming a union member.”

Locals Encouraged to Get Out the Vote 

Noting that participation in the contract ratification process has hovered in the range of only 33 percent, APWU President William Burrus is urging local presidents to get out the vote.

“Our constitution requires APWU members to ratify any negotiated National Agreement, yet only one in three take advantage of this significant opportunity to make their voices heard,” Burrus said. “The low level of membership involvement fails to reflect the importance of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on the daily lives of our members, and it belies our union’s proud democratic tradition.”

Burrus said he hopes to change this dynamic. “I am asking local and state presidents to take all appropriate steps to encourage their members to vote on contract ratification.”

In a letter to APWU presidents, Burrus said that the national union will reward the locals that are most successful in mobilizing members to vote. “Many locals routinely encourage participation through their own incentive programs,” he wrote. “I urge you to continue and expand such plans.”

To encourage voter participation, the APWU will reward locals with the greatest percent of membership involvement, with the top three locals in each of several categories receiving compensation — double what was previously announced — to be used on behalf of the members. To be eligible, locals must reach a voter participation level of at least 50 percent.

If more than three locals in any category generate 100 percent participation, all “100%” locals will receive awards. “We hope that this program will encourage you and your members to vote,” Burrus wrote.

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