'Why Should I Stand Up and Get Involved in Union Activities and Campaigns?'

Debby Szeredy

July 24, 2019

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(This article first appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

Right now, you have a President of the United States who wants to take away your right to collective bargaining, something fought for and that we have had for almost 50 years: the right to negotiate wages, benefits and working conditions. He wants to sell off and privatize the Postal Service to the highest bidder, destroying living wage jobs for communities across this country. We all know this by now, but have you stepped up to stop him in his tracks?

Right now, our contract is heading for interest arbitration and you need to be involved – not just our stewards, and officers. We all want a better contract. Right now, there is a bill H.R. 2382 in Congress that, if passed, will rid the Postal Service of the forced 2006 prefunding mandate that has caused a financial burden on the USPS.

This is huge! At the time this issue goes to press, there are 148 cosponsors. We need at least 218, and the more cosponsors over 218 the better. It is in our hands to put pressure and educate our Congressional members to cosponsor and help make this reform happen. That includes passing it in the House of Representatives and then the Senate (once a companion bill is introduced).

You can help make this happen by making the Congressional calls and visits. Have a community town hall on this issue all across this country now. This H.R. 2382 legislation can help prevent postal privatization, stop consolidations of plants and discontinuance of small post offices, and can help provide even greater arguments for a better union contract.

Tools are available to you: Guide to Planning A Town Hall Meeting, Building Activism in Your Local and Your Community can be found here.

You can set up a local committee to help mobilize members and the community to get this legislation passed. Great media coverage is a must.

Go to Congress.gov, and type in ‘HR 2382.’ It tells you about the bill, click on “cosponsors” tab, it tells you who has signed on. Change the ‘sort’ to alphabetical by state so you can easily find out who in your state has signed on and whose name is missing from the cosponsor list. Target those representatives using member and community power.

We have over 220,000 active and retired union members. We can help get this passed together! It is a major piece of legislation that can help save our United States treasure, before service is taken further apart piece by piece.

The battle for a better work environment will depend on how much we build our local and community power across this country. Once you have that local power you can utilize that power to resolve lots of issues on the workroom floor and with the services we provide. Local media want to be on the side of the people and want to report on issues that are important to the community. You have the support of each other and the community we just need to educate and mobilize. Our communities love the postal workers and want better services.

All members, take that step forward and get involved, your local needs your help, your activism. Volunteer to make a difference for your future and the future of our children and grandchildren. Keep our Postal Service into the future, and become active building power now. If you need help or further resources contact dszeredy@apwu.org or call 202-842-4250.

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