What is Next?

Debby Szeredy

March 1, 2021

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

We cannot afford to just clock in and clock out each day. We can step up and help fight together with our co-workers for that decent work environment we deserve. There is protective language in our union contract, but the fact is, management violates our contract in some way almost every day. You are the contract law enforcers along with your stewards and officers. The 2021 negotiations begin in June; to improve our union contract we need you strong and active. Every local has an army of retirees and family members. We need our local union organizations to have a powerhouse of activists on call.

During this pandemic we have suffered physically and emotionally at work and home. We have lost co-workers, and family members. We have worked understaffed over the last nine years due to the last round of consolidations, that changed the service standards and slowed the mail service, which also overloaded the gaining facilities and caused outrageous transportation costs. Management has failed to replace enough full-time positions as members retire. With tens of thousands of COVID-19 quarantines last year, understaffing gets worse. The USPS is in disarray and we need each other’s activism to remedy our working conditions. We need a supportive Postal Board of Governors, more full-time jobs, and we must pass legislation that reverses the service standards changes made in 2012 that destroyed prompt services.

More importantly, APWU members need to be there for each other.

Congressmembers do not move quickly enough, so it is important to have local forces around this country to help push them to do the right thing and support legislation that supports us. As essential workers, we need to build and expand our union and our services to the country.

It takes all of us. If you have not yet you can still participate in these efforts by calling your representatives about the USPS Fairness Act and signing up to join or start a Collective Action Team in your local. Decide today to volunteer to become an activist. How? Contact your local president or steward. Seek them out, give them your contact information, and your pledge.

April Suicide Alert: EAP and You to the Rescue

Each year, the rate of suicide attempts and deaths peaks in the spring. The USPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) published a list of suicidal signs you might notice from your co-workers.

The following are just a few signs you may observe:

  • Talking, discussing, fixating on death or suicide
  • Giving away valuable or meaningful possessions
  • Having reckless and dangerous behavior
  • Increasing the use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Sleep issues, too much or too little
  • Not taking basic care of self
  • Having a history of suicide attempts
  • Putting personal business in order
  • Neglecting doctor’s orders
  • Increased anger & intensified mood swings
  • Withdrawing, isolating and disconnecting from others

The EAP notes that suicidal signs may reveal themselves in conversation, through actions or even social media posts. APWU members are encouraged to recognize the above signs, reach out and speak up.

Remember that our EAP program is here to help. Utilize the tools at www.EAP4YOU.com or call 800-327-4968, TTY 877-492-7341. Turn on the light for someone else, and with love and persistence we can make a difference.

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