By Flo Summergrad
On May Day, 2012, our officers and members attended a labor rally in New York City, joining with other workers under the slogan, “Our Grievances are All Connected.” Nora Mendez, a Mail Handler from the Mid-Hudson facility, was there—easily recognizable as one of us in her “SAVE America’s Postal Service” t-shirt.
In 2001, Nora had started in the Postal Service as a TE at the rec site in Puerto Rico, at a time when she badly needed a job. In 2005, she was hired into a PTF position at Mid-Hudson P&DC, and was able to relocate close to her family.
Her activism was inspired by necessity. Mid-Hudson was one of the many plants being downsized or closed, and Nora became involved in the struggle to save America’s Postal Service and our jobs. Debby Szeredy, now the first woman to be Vice-President of the APWU, was the President of Nora’s local. She refused to go down without a fight and organized the workers to fight together.
Nora Mendez caught fire from Debby’s energy. Attending rallies and pickets in defense of her own job made her hungry to learn more about the labor movement and to keep on fighting for social justice. From her own economic struggles as a young mother with three children, Nora understood the importance of job security and a living wage. She was awakened to political action by the Occupy Wall Street movement and worked with the Mid-Hudson Valley 99% coalition, rallying the community to pressure their elected officials on issues like raising the minimum wage and protecting needed social services.
Last September, Nora was excessed into the NJI&NDC, where she has been a Mail Handler on Tour 1 and Tour 2. She is 100% UNION—a full member of both the APWU and the Mail Handlers Union—and will be using her knowledge and skills to improve conditions for all workers.
By using the social media, Nora keeps her finger on the pulse of what is going on in the labor and political spheres. When our editor, Chuck Zlatkin, moved on to Washington, DC, he suggested Ms. Mendez as a perfect fit to write and edit our newspaper. President Smith and the Executive Board agreed. So this issue welcomes Nora Mendez as Managing Editor of The Union Mail!