(This article appears in the July/August 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Judy Beard, Retirees Director
Seniors showed support for the APWU’s critical issues by signing Stop Staples postcards addressed to the company’s CEO, Ron Sargent, at the convention of the 4.2 million-member Alliance for Retired Americans April 28-May 1.
The delegates understood what action the USPS should take to better serve the citizens of this country: They unanimously adopted a resolution to support bringing back banking services, which the Post Office used to offer to the public.
“It would be extremely helpful for seniors to be able to conduct banking at their neighborhood Post Office, as was done in the early 1900s,” said convention delegate Ken Pease, who is an APWU retiree. “Being able to cash checks and make withdrawals and deposits in a safe environment by trained employees with an established reputation, who already handle money as part of their job, is long overdue,” he said.
The APWU Retirees Department is an affiliate of the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA). I am proud of our members who participate in the ARA and I am particularly proud to serve on the organization’s National Executive Board. The Alliance for Retired Americans is clearly the voice of American seniors. Part of the Alliance’s statement of purpose is “to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that we may enjoy our lives with dignity.”
Prior to the adjournment of the convention, ARA Director Rich Fiesta made a presentation about the big difference seniors can make in recapturing the American dream by actively participating in the upcoming midterm elections. APWU retirees are ahead of the game, as we began our preparations for this election back in January. In every retiree article in The American Postal Worker, we wrote about making a list of supporters to talk to about the election and our issues, especially protecting our right to vote.
The 99 Percent
Why are 1% of the American people getting richer while 99% of us are depleting our savings or struggling to keep our heads above water?
Organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are writing laws that negatively impact American workers. With the support of global corporations and state politicians, they are eroding many of the achievements that we as seniors have made. ALEC-backed bills would:
- Limit union rights, specifically the rights of firefighters, police, teachers, and other public workers, through so-called Right-to-Work legislation;
- Prohibit dues deductions from paychecks;
- Allow employees to “opt out” of paying union dues while still benefitting from union negotiations;
- Dramatically change pension rights.
They also want to:
- Limit wages by repealing minimum wage laws;
- Subsidize for-profit corporations with tax dollars to do work traditionally performed by government employees.
The bills pushed by ALEC would drain labor unions of the resources we use to protect employees, undermine consumer protections, and favor the Wall Street financial agenda. We must be aware of ALEC’s anti-labor activities and educate our friends and family on these issues.
Our voices and our actions are stronger and louder than ALEC’s, and we will fight back at the ballot box where it counts.