I had the extreme pleasure and honor, once again, of being an invited guest of the 2014 New Jersey State Postal Workers Union Convention held June 16-18 at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.
Monday’s activities consisted largely of registration, a NJSPWU Executive Board Meeting, and an early evening Federal Retirement presentation.
Tuesday morning’s early business included continuing registration and Convention Committee Meetings. The 43rd Annual Convention was called to order at 9:00 am. An update By Trenton Metro and NJ State President Bill Lewis was given followed by many guest national officers in attendance. At 10:00 am convention business included the nomination of NJSPWU officers. The election was held at 1:00 pm.
Throughout Tuesday morning and afternoon, many APWU resident and field national officers gave reports from their respective assigned areas, reporting on their duties and responsibilities to the rank and file membership. The highlights of Tuesday evening’s convention business were the Recognition Award given to Central Jersey Area Local President Hansell “Hank” Anderson and the Leader of the Year award presentation to APWU President Mark Dimondstein and the swearing in of the newly elected/reelected NJSPWU officers by President Dimondstein.
On Wednesday, President Bill Lewis, who was reelected on Tuesday, called the Convention to order at 9:00 am. A presentation: “Strategy for Success in the Grievance Arbitration Procedure” was proffered by NBA’s Jeff Kehlert, Robert Romanowski, John Jackson and Kenneth Prinz.
New Jersey, as always, did a great job! Not only did I learn a lot, I had fun and made new friends and got to see old friends (especially my fellow “Rogues” from Red Bank NJ and Providence RI). I humbly thank my brothers and sisters in the NJSPWU and affiliated Locals for affording me the opportunity to share in their educational endeavors and labor activities. It was also indeed a pleasure conversing face-to-face with some of our National HQ officers (at least most of those on the E-Board who will still talk to me) and discuss strategy and the state/direction of our union. I’m sure this convention will strengthen our union and bring greater solidarity, as well as further impassion activism among our ranks in fighting our common enemies. (Click here for a list of invited guests attending the NJSPWU Convention)
My notes from some of the officers follow:
Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Powell:
- Expecting approximately 2000 attendees at Chicago Convention
- 145 LM Resolutions submitted
- 16,000 dues-paying members took January 2013 Early Out
- 133,000+ members
- 15,000+ PSE members
- 480 private sector members
- 40,000 retiree members
- 40,000 associate members
- APWU receives approximately $8.8 Million yearly service fee from OPM
- APWU vacant Health Plan building was recently sold for $8.3 Million
- 2013 Audit shows APWU at approximately $5 Million in the black
- “Dancing with the Stars” is COPA Night theme
- “Party with the President Roaring 20’s Style” is theme for Wednesday night event
- Parade of States Thursday night event will have a DJ
- Convention will provide food at all 3 night events
- To save money at next convention a resolution will be put forth to change the hours from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm to 9:30 am – 4:30 pm to shorten the convention by one day
Vice President Debby Szeredy
- Request that all members print out sample resolution to boycott Staples / support our fight to save the Post Office and distribute to community organizations (civic groups, churches, community organizations, etc)
- Reminder to report all delays of mail to the PRC via the link on VP page at apwu.org
- Emphasized ALL members continue their boycott of USPS Voice of Employee surveys. Urged members to take the VOE mail piece survey with them and destroy off site or give to their local officers. Do NOT return blank or with comments. Remove it from the PO – it’s your right and your duty.
President Mark Dimondstein
- “Donahoe has got to go and we will take that up at convention”
- “Staples are CPU’s on steroids”
- To clarify the official APWU National position on Staples: Up to April 24th our position was staff the Staples counters with APWU workers. After April 24th our position is boycott Staples.
- We are gaining support daily by the Teachers’ unions, the AFL-CIO and other organizations.
- It’s now time to “Turn up the heat” – today Pittsburgh, continued protests in Atlanta and reaching out to Labor unions
- We are getting great support by the other postal unions
- NALC President Rolando said they will be protesting a Staples store while holding their National Convention in Philadelphia the week we are holding our convention in Chicago.
- “Always was, always will be an advocate of one postal union”
- Postal Union Alliance may have common strategy in next CBA negotiations
- “The defense of 6-Day delivery is our fight too, as long as I’m President”
- The White House is hostile toward postal workers
- The Highway Trust Fund proposal is a looting of the post office just as the PAEA was
- We will judge politicians by what they do, not by labels, names, parties
- COPA will give directly to candidates, not PACs
- We will build a movement to get post office banking
- “There’s nothing nifty about a NTFTy job”
President Dimondstein closed with a quote by A. Phillip Randolph:
~Banquet Table of Life~
“We are going to get what we can take. We are going to keep what we can hold.”
In addition to Mark, Debby and Liz, all officers in attendance gave updates, speeches and reports on various topics – too numerous to get into here but if you comment below this post with a specific question I will try to answer it for you.