Who Do You Believe?

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(This article appears in the July/August 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Sharyn Stone, Central Region Coordinator

There is an expression, “Who do you believe – your lying eyes or me?” Well, APWU union representatives are accustomed to managers being less than honest about their actions during Labor-Management meetings and at various steps of the grievance procedure. But the recent roll-out of the Postmaster General’s propaganda via Lite Blue is brazen.

Out of one side of his mouth the PMG praises you, while out of the other side he blames you for 80 percent of the Postal Service’s problems. He contends management is not privatizing the Postal Service, while his venom continues to kill decent middle-class postal jobs and undermine services.

His characterization of your labor, your services and the Postal Service’s plight falls into the deliberate misdirection and distortion of postal realities as reported by most mainstream media. For example:

  • Staples - The record shows that the intent of the PMG is to shift postal work and services to lower-paid workers. This is classic privatization, no matter what the PMG says. You see the PMG continues to claim labor costs are 80 percent. He blames your cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), federal benefits and wages for the mess the USPS is in. Systematic establishment of postal units in private stores will likely lead to the closure and sale of Post Offices. That is why we say, “The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale!”
  • Delivery Standards - The PMG claims that in order to remain viable, the USPS needs to consolidate, but to do so service standards need to be altered. Management in most, if not all, Area Mail Processing (AMP) studies proclaimed service would not be degraded. These AMP consolidations affected thousands of postal workers, their families and the services they provided. Many of the 2014 AMPs (but not all) are currently “on hold.” How the PMG can claim delaying the mail helps promote the U.S. Mail is beyond me. But he will say it to your face on a video and seem so sincere.
  • Post Office Closures - The PMG continues his efforts to shut down and sell post offices nationwide. He claims it is necessary because of the dire financial condition of the Postal Service. But he does not fully explain why the USPS Office of Inspector General was alarmed at how he is selling those post offices. He does not explain how closing post offices without real regard to the communities helps our image as a public service. He does not explain how cutting hours renders better service to the American patron while he opens more CPUs (Contract Postal Units) and Village Post Offices within miles of established post offices. What he clearly does not explain is the adverse impact to your jobs, families and the protected service to the American people in each community. Our PMG wants you to trust him and managers as they systematically dismantle and destroy neighborhood post offices, brick by brick.

Poisoning America

Space does not permit me to elaborate and expose more management-speak and misrepresentations. But if they’re talking, (you know the rest). Just remember, as you watch the PMG’s Update Videos and Lite Blue propaganda that what he tries to feed you so you will drink the Kool-Aid, he feeds to the same corporate media moguls who help make up the PMG’s Mailers Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC).

In turn, the media feeds the American public anti-worker, anti-postal distortions that compound bad experiences and selected shortfalls on service so that the average American’s mind is poisoned.

My fellow Regional Coordinators, Omar Gonzalez, John Dirzius, Michael Gallagher, Kennith Beasley, and I want you to be aware of the PMG’s video and intranet propaganda, which also tries to poison you against your very own union as contract talks near. (Our Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in about 10 months.)

Our Destiny on Course

Elected delegates to this year’s 22nd Biennial Convention will meet in my region and have taken up the battle cry: Stand Up – Fight Back! The highest ruling body of our union will no doubt take up many resolutions that are intended to establish your union’s policies and direction.

Hundreds of your fellow workers will attend workshops to secure training that will further their skills on how to better represent you. Regional Coordinators will present a comprehensive workshop for all crafts on Seniority & Principles of Reassignment, otherwise known as Article 12 Excessing. And of course hundreds of delegates will debate our destiny as a union and postal workers.

Let me make it clear that Stand Up – Fight Back is not just a convention slogan. It is battle cry for every postal worker on every workroom floor. You must stand up and be counted in our November general elections, our protests and our efforts to counter the destruction of the Postal Service. You must legally fight back against the injustices of wayward managers, damaging Congressional action or inaction, and against those you would take decent living standards back to 1969 poverty levels. If you fail to stand up, you will surely fall and take us all with you.


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