Sisters & Brothers;
On behalf of the Northeast Region let me extend our best wishes to you and your family for an enjoyable and safe Labor Day.
As a proud member of the American Postal Workers Union since its birth in 1971, I have witnessed first-hand our development and growth into one of the largest and most aggressive unions in the labor movement. Over these past 46 years, our collective efforts have improved the standard of living of APWU members, all postal employees, and workers in general.
We negotiated contracts improving wages, hours and working conditions for our members. Most recently, we negotiated provisions that provide a career ladder for non-career postal workers. We fought hard to keep management from performing our work and returned contracted-out work to our crafts. As members, we need to take great pride in our collective efforts; however, we must always look to the future to improve our advancements as postal workers and work to build the labor movement for future generations. And yes we won the Staples’ fight to protect our jobs and our service!
Unfortunately, the vast majority of workers in the United States do not work under a labor contract. They are “at will” employees, subject to the whims of management. Most young workers have limited union knowledge or experience.
We see this first hand in our newly hired Postal Support Employees (PSEs). For many, it is their first time entering a unionized workplace. While APWU continues to be successful in organizing our new PSEs as members, we collectively need to do more to educate these new members on what it means to be union and the importance of being being involved and building for the future.
It is our collective responsibility to show them what a labor union is, where our strength comes from, who the Union belongs to, what collective bargaining is and what we mean by union solidarity.
Sisters and brothers as we mark the end of the summer with the transitional Labor Day cookout…let’s take a moment to reflect upon what it means to be a union member and be thankful that we work under a union contract.
But let’s also take one more step. One more important step and commit to be stronger union members. Let’s collectively work to educate our family members, our neighbors, and yes even our co-workers on the vital role of unions in the workplace and in our communities.
There is no doubt unions are under attack at a time when they are needed more than ever. As recently stated in the Economic Policy Institute report – How Today’s Unions Help Working People – ‘Unions Improve the lives of all workers. Unions raise workers’ wages and strengthen their rights at work, but they also give working people a voice in our democracy!’
Unions – when strong – have the capacity to tackle some of the biggest problems that plague our economy, from growing economic inequality, wage stagnation, and racial and gender inequities to eroding democracy and barriers to civic participation…we must work together to rebuild our collective bargaining system and the labor movement for now and the future!
Happy Labor Day 2017
John H. Dirzius
Coordinator, Northeast Region
American Postal Workers Union
First Name: John
Last Name: Dirzius
Office held if any: NE Regional Coordinator