I wanted to write this before the votes are counted so that I am not accused of being a spoil sport. I also write this without regard for the current office holders of the positions I write about. And if you go back far enough into the convention proceedings you will see my position has been the same for years.
Do we really need an Organizing Director, Human Relations Director and Research & Education Director at the national level? First let’s look at the financial end of the argument. For each officer, benefits and support staff to include office space, we could be saving easily $200,000.00 for each person a year and more when you eliminate the retirement benefits. That is three positions for a total of $600,000.00 a year.
We have five coordinators who could each be allocated $120,000.00 a year to assist with organizing, education and human relations in the field. The financial end of the move is a no brainer, but what about the affect of eliminating these national positions?
Organizing is done on the local level, through orientation and membership campaigns. Seldom are the national letters to non-members coordinated with locals and state organizations. Informing locals and states that a letter is being sent is not the same as coordination. If the money is available at the regional level, a request would be made for funds to hold a member campaign locally. Surely a limit on lost time and membership tools would be sent to the local directly from our union printer. No one knows their non-members better than local leadership. A coordinated local campaign with financial assistance from the national would also help build local membership involvement.
Education is primarily done at the local and state level. Nearly 95% of all training is paid for and conducted by local/state organizations. Nearly every document used at national training such as craft conferences has been written by our NBAs. Our NBAs are the research and education department of our union. Meetings such as Tri-State Seminars and state conferences are the backbone of our union’s training. For example, 300 stewards/officers attend NC/SC/GA Tri-States, not nearly that amount can afford to attend a craft conference in Las Vegas. Wouldn’t it be better to allow the coordinators to help offset the costs of running these events? A check from the coordinator’s office may help a state organization pay for a power point projector instead of renting one from the hotel or help pay with the printing of a handbook that simply can’t be taught from a flash drive.
What does the Constitution say about our Human Relations Director responsibility? The Human Relations Director shall prepare and direct programs in the area of equal opportunity, civic, community service, and all other related programs. The President reserves the right to appoint representative(s) with the recommendation of the Human Relations Director to handle OWCP and EEO cases, on an “as needed” basis, to work under the direction of the Human Relations Director.
Every item in this job description should be accomplished locally. Civic, community service and all other related programs are surely achieved at the local level. What about OWCP? We are supposed to be appointing representatives locally and have done so in a very limited instance. Can’t the coordinator assist with the appointments if they are to be made. There are 12 District offices that handle OWCP claims for the DOL. When I was still in Lehigh Valley, we would drive the 60 miles to the Philadelphia office on a semi-regular basis and discuss our difficult cases with the Senior Claims Advisors. Why can’t the coordinators assign someone from the city of the District offices to regularly meet with OWCP and discuss cases that need special attention? Nothing prevents us from employing someone (who used to work with OWCP) as the national currently does to answer tough questions about OWCP. Did you know that District offices offer free classes that you can attend and become more informed about OWCP?
For all these reasons, I believe it’s time we start returning these duties to the state and local level. Not because of who is currently in a position or who may be in the job come November, but because it would make our locals/states stronger and better prepared to deal with these issues.
First Name: LeRoy
Last Name: Moyer
Union/Local : APWU – Charlotte, 375
Office held if any: Past President of Pennsylvania Postal Workers Union and Charlotte Area Local, Past Co-Chair NPC