May 1, 2014 – (This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Debby Szeredy, Executive Vice President
For many years most of our membership has left too much of the fighting for jobs, better wages and our rights and benefits to stewards and officers. It’s not enough. We all have to do more.
Times have changed. We have fought off privatization for years. We have come up against a government that has caved in to large corporations, bankers, and large discount mailers. The Postal Board of Governors, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Republican-controlled House with Privatizer-in-Chief Rep. Issa (R-CA) and even the Democratic-controlled Senate, with Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R- OK) paving the way for the same privatizers, have to be held accountable. We even have the president of the United States compromising government employees, including postal workers.
We are at a critical time in our history, where the survival of the Postal Service and our very jobs and futures are at stake. That is why we are calling out to you, the members, to get involved now. Writing letters to your legislators is important, but it is not enough. You need to attend your union meetings. You need to sign up non-union members who work side-by-side with you. There are 42,000 of them, and they need to do their share in this fight, too.
How to Do It
We must save the Postal Service and to do so we must reach out to our community groups, families, friends and neighbors. We need to help our local, state and national union at pickets, protests, and actions that will help save America’s Postal Service. We must help people see that an attack on their public mail service is an attack aimed at the poor, veterans, seniors, the disabled, low-wage workers, union workers, small business owners, and people who live in rural and urban areas. All of the United States will suffer if there is no Postal Service. We must build a powerful movement with the people of this country to save the Postal Service.
We need to rebuild service by reopening facilities that were consolidated or closed. We need to stop the Staples privatization ploy, and assign postal workers to do postal work. We must fight to add postal banking, notary, licenses, and broadband access to the services the USPS offers. The Postal Service must restore and expand business hours. Our customers need affordable, efficient and prompt service as outlined in the Postal Reorganization Act. They need post offices, which were established by the Constitution of the United States.
Want to get active? Here are a dozen things you can choose from:
1. Get involved in your local union. Attend union meetings to stay informed.
2. Check out www.apwu.org for the latest updates and actions.
3. Visit the Stop Staples website at www.StopStaples.com.
4. File a complaint about delayed mail with the Postal Regulatory Commission. (See the Vice President’s page at www.apwu.org for more information.)
5. Write letters to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Go to the “Contact Your Legislators” shortcut at www.apwu.org.
6. Join organizing committees and coalitions to save the Postal Service.
7. Sign up new members to join the union.
8. Ask your local union if you can help spread the word by becoming involved in your central labor council.
9. Ask your local union if you can help spread the word by writing letters to the editor.
10. Ask your faith group and/or community organization to become involved with the movement to Save America’s Postal Service.
11. Participate in petition drives, rallies, protests, press conference, visits to elected officials, town hall meetings, and on social media to advance the cause of saving the Postal Service.
12. Educate your children, friends and families on the importance to them of having a vibrant public Postal Service.
This is a fight for our very survival. It doesn’t matter if you are near retirement age or a PSE hoping to be converted to career; everything is on the line. If we let them privatize the Postal Service, none of us are safe. It is up to each of us to do our share to build a successful movement to save the Postal Service, to turn it around, and provide the American people with the postal services they deserve.
It is time for all of us to “Ask not what your union can do for you; ask what you can do for your union and the American people.”
We need you now!