2 thoughts on “National Convention Pawns

  1. John, you always were great with self rationalization for your actions, even if you had to use hyperbole. Doubling the size of the Retirees Department? You must mean going from one to two National Officers for 41,000 members. And three of the so-called Empire Building resolutions you speak of, weren’t even discussed at the Retirees Conference. Possibly they were like your Constitutional amendments to raise dues, amendments which drew a lot of debate and time on the Convention floor, but eventually failed to pass (your subterfuge plan it appears). Maybe those other three Retiree Constitutional resolutions were like your “brilliant move to insure the proposal would fail”. That is while though the subject three resolutions were in our Convention Book, they were never brought up on the Convention floor and already conceded defeat to draw attention to the important Retiree representation issues.

    Speaking of cutting member representation as you were, I notice that you didn’t address the half million additional dollars spent in consultant fees from 2012 to 2013 or the “doubling” of the Human Relations Department staffing. Let’s look at all our Union expenses and not just the Representation ones. Doesn’t representing our members come first?

    As for your flip-flop from your position in 2012, where no Retirees dues money would go to the National APWU, to your 2014 position that all Retiree dues goes to the National APWU, its admirable the way you justify your change of heart in one sentence. Retirees can only guess what your shrewd strategic self-serving whims or caprices will be in 2016. Will you be part of the Team as a candidate for Retirees Department Director? Or will you advocate reducing the Retirees Department? We will get the betting pool going later.

    But I agree with you on one thing John. The Convention is over, although I have no “wounds to lick”, just Representation goals to work for. And right now we have much bigger fish to fry, namely the 2014 Congressional elections. In Michigan, Retiree Chapter President and Central Region Retiree Convention Delegate Al LaBrecque and myself are both working within our respective county Democratic parties for the defeat of the our present Tea Party Congressman who won the district by less than 1% of the vote in the last election. We are also working for the election of the Democratic candidate to fill the seat of the retiring Democratic Michigan Senator. I am proud to say that I have a family member on the staff of one candidate. I have also spoken more than once with both candidates on postal issues and they are well informed by our APWU Legislative Department and have received contributions from our COPA funds. Again John, the issue is representation for APWU members.

    Also looming are the upcoming negotiations for the May expiration of the APWU-USPS Collective Bargaining Agreement. I hope that President Dimondstein and our negotiating team can arrive at a fair and equitable contract agreement-if not at the negotiating table, then through the Arbitration process. And I am certain that a Democratic majority in Congress can only help us.

    So okay John, see you in 2016 for more debate.

  2. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    Pittsburgh Metro Area Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
    Office held, if any
    Local President 1974-1994, APWU DIR 1980-1983, President Retiree Chapter
    In re: APWU Convention Constitutional Committee ~ The above contributor correctly recognizes that this committee is a ‘plum’ committee. As far as the Pugar appointment to previous committees is concerned, I stand by my previous statements. But I doubt that is what is really bothering the poster. Concerning my appointment to that committee, I neither solicited nor was contacted in any way by any Union officer about the appointment. I learned that the appointment had been made via letter. I made no promises or commitments about my participation on that committee to anyone for any issues that may come before the committee.

    The importance of that committee is due to the fact that it sits at a Constitutional Convention, prescribed by law. It is the only committee whose power is to recommend amendments to the APWU Constitution. Appointment to that committee is therefore indeed a ‘plum’ assignment by any measure.

    But responsibility goes with the appointment. The previous poster seems to believe that as a retiree I should have promoted a retiree agenda on the committee and on the convention floor. I disagree. I believe one sheds the partisan mantle when sitting on that committee. It is the Union as a whole that is and must be the primary consideration of the committee, since if the recommendations are enacted, it is the entire Union that is affected. If the previous writer’s theory holds sway, since the committee was heavily populated with clerks, should clerk issues have been given priority over the membership at large? That certainly is not how that committee functioned, to our credit. After all, this is an Industrial Union, not one of those ‘federations’ or ‘associations’ that existed before merger. We are CIO Industrial rather than AFL independent craft groups.

    Having reached consensus on the proposals at the committee, it is my strong belief that committee members are obligated to support those actions on the Convention floor. That is what I did, and I stand by that decision and those actions taken in support of the committee’s positions.

    Was there an attempt for Empire Building for the Retiree Department? Absolutely! The attempt to double the size of the department officer staff, give a whopping salary increase to the Director, and put the Director on the Executive Board is Empire Building. That is my firm conclusion, and I stand by it.

    What was not included in the previous post was the financial profile explanation I gave at the Retiree Department meeting prior to the Convention, which by the way was distributed to each Convention delegate before the financial issues were discussed. I stated that while eliminating offices and denying additional staffing elsewhere, it was unwise and counterproductive to seek enlargement of the Retiree Department and the other increases. In making that statement, I acknowledged that I had made similar proposals in the past, but in light of the larger picture, including decreased and decreasing complement and revenue, now was not the time to try to advance the Retiree ‘package’. The response? The meeting prioritized the proposals for later action. I did not participate in that activity. As was stated in our report, the die was cast.

    Reference was made in the above post about the proposal I made at the previous Convention to redefine the Retiree Department along the lines of the PPA. I am surprised that there was no comment that I amended the dues increase proposal to include retirees at this Convention. The above poster obviously lacks the capacity for strategic thought! The first proposal was made to highlight what I believe is a flawed concept that retiree dues somehow belong to the Retiree Department, not the Union as a whole. The proposal failed, as was the intent, but the purpose had been achieved. The second proposal was to draw attention to a misguided attempt to raise dues. For what it is worth, after my amendment was made, a Regional Coordinator approached me, stating it was a brilliant move to insure that the proposal would fail, which it did.

    On a personal note, anyone that knows my history in the Union must find it laughable to suggest that I am beholden to any officer. My history is one of independence. that is the way I interacted with Stu Filbey, Emmett Andrews, Moe Biller, Bill Burrus, and Cliff Guffey. A puppet? Nothing new here!

    The Convention is over. Time to lick the wounds and prepare for 2016 However, if it is a desire to continue this dialogue, let the good times roll.

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