Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a wonderful and safe holiday. Well here we are in 2008 and another year has passed. This is a very important year because it is an election year. We are all watching the television and are being bombarded by all of the different candidates and their positions on our future. Unfortunately, the media has a way of presenting things that still leave us wondering what each candidate really endorses. Whatever the outcome of the two major parties decision on who will run for office, we need to carefully evaluate who are the strongest pro-labor candidates. The next four years will probably be the most important time in the APWU's future. At this point, Bill Burrus (APWU President) has said that they have not yet endorsed a candidate, but will seriously debate the issues and endorse the best candidate possible for improving conditions for working Americans. He also said that while some members will ultimately be upset about the choice, the national union has an obligation to support a candidate they think will have the greatest positive impact on the APWU's future. The most important point here is that you do take the time to vote and use our strength in numbers to make our pro-labor voices heard! If any member needs voter registration cards or information please contact the union office and we can help you. Hopefully in future issues we will present some clear information on the candidates that can help you make your choice when voting.

Some exciting news of the New Year is that all APWU represented members will be upgraded one level and will be reflected on our March 7th paycheck. Check out the details in this issue. Also on the legislative front we have some good news about a bill named HR 4236. If this bill gets passed, the Post Office will have to negotiate all subcontracting affecting fifty or more employees, with the national union. This is different from our current contractual rights in that they can't just notify us, but rather they have to bargain with our input in the final result. This is huge for APWU because they are trying to privatize the Post Office by contracting our work out to private companies that pay their employees far less than we are making. Just the fact that this bill has made its way around the hill has proven that we are making a difference in Washington. People are starting to listen to our legislative department about how the Postal Service is failing its customers and contracting the security and faithfulness of the US mail!

Attention all window clerks!!!!!!!! You must use your non-revenue keys! The postal service is trying to cut over nine thousand window jobs and you are responsible for your own destiny. Scan in every item individually and every time you do something it must be recorded in your POS unit. I know it is a pain in the butt! Management has made it intentionally difficult so that you won't do it. Don't let them win because your machine has serious down time in the WOS reports. This is the ONLY tool they use in evaluating how many hours are needed at your office. If anyone sees their co-workers not doing it tell them to do it! Stop helping managers take your jobs away from you!

On a positive note, we have managed to get rid of two of the most horrible supervisors at the Media Post Office. Unfortunately, Norristown got one of them and Conshohocken got the other. I feel sorry for the receiving offices but I now think that the joint intervention team did essentially help us. They finally did post the results of the survey we took and it was shocking to see how many people felt that the environment was dangerous and hostile. In this day and age I can't believe that these types of behaviors exhibited by supervisors can be permitted in the workplace and the only discipline they receive is to be transferred to continue the same behaviors in a new place. If any of us did one quarter of the things they have done we would have been terminated. It is unfair and something we must all fight on a daily basis. Thanks to the heavens above that we have the union looking out for us all. I can only imagine what management would do to us without this protection. Tell all the scabs in your offices what the union stands for and fights for daily. Explain to them that they are getting a free ride and that it really is no good to stand divided.

Finally, I want to discuss an issue that was brought up at the first union meeting of the year. The issue is stewards missing meetings. I think that every steward should make at least half of the meetings held each year. How on earth can you provide information to your members if you don't attend? The meetings are held once a month with the summers and December off and they are two hours long. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but I don't think it is an unreasonable burden to expect you to make it. You receive protection of super-seniority, hi-option benefit plans and steward rebates. These are not free and the members are paying for it! Let your conscience guide you into doing the right thing and get to the union meetings. That way the info you give is credible and accurate. OUR NEXT MEETING is FEBRUARY 27, 2008 at 7:00 PM IN THE UNION OFFICE. Make sure you plan to attend and don't make frivolous excuses as to why you can't make it! We must make sacrifices for the good of the Union and for the future of our membership. Take Care and hopefully the winter will go fast! BRING ON PRIME TIME VACATIONS!!!!!!!

In Union Solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor