EDITORIAL FROM THE MARCH 2009 NEWSLETTER

by Lindamarie Peabody

As I sit here during the March 2, 2009 snowstorm playing Batman Uno (card game) with my five year old, many things have been running through my mind. One is what to have for dinner and the other is what I am going to write about in my editorial for this newsletter. Lately, my mind seems to wonder where the Post Office is heading in these uncertain economic times. With a 2.8 billion dollar loss and minimal hope for recovery any time soon, it can only bring up horrible images in my mind of being unemployed or unable to provide for my family. Then another image in my head pops back to Article 6 in the contract, which provides protection from layoffs and reductions in force. It is then that I realize how one contractual provision can mean so much to so many people. My head tells me that this may be the most important provision we have in this contract, but my heart still worries about it more than I care to admit. With almost every major corporation experiencing layoffs, it is almost unfathomable that we still all have our jobs. With the contract deadline (November 20, 2010 midnight) fast approaching, one can also wonder what we can do to stop what almost seems inevitable. We know that with the current economic situation that this provision will ultimately be challenged by Postal Management. What will this mean for those of us who are protected and those who are not? Will we have to provide the same work with less people, or will our salaries or work hours be reduced to the point where it wouldn't really pay to work for the Post Office? Nobody knows the answers, but due to the past direction of postal management we can almost certainly know it won't be handled properly and we will all suffer. The already in-progress cost-cutting strategies have left workers bitter and have caused customers to take their business elsewhere. The main vision of the Postal Service actually providing a VALUABLE service to the public is almost a memory. We try to make suggestions at the national APWU level, but no one is listening. It is the time for the workers, and the general public, to demand that the service be saved and kept intact. We need to unite, even more than we ever have, and realize that although our reasons may be different, we still have a common goal and that is to keep the Post Office above water even if it's just to save our own skins. There are a few simple changes that I am going to beg you to consider because they can make a difference! The very simplest of ideas is that all of us should use the mail whenever possible. When was the last time you wrote a letter or card to someone? If you can't remember, then it's been too long! Do you pay your bills online? If you do then you need to STOP it immediately! Losing your job for convenience is a big price to pay. When you order online, do you request that the company ship the item to you by the USPS? It never hurts to ask, and if all of us requested it, maybe they would add it to their shipping options, potentially gaining millions of revenue for the Post Office. Do you take your children to the Post Office or visit the school on career day to explain the value of the PO? Do they even know where you get your money from or how to mail a letter? Most of the younger generation has never used a stamp. I wonder why? If every postal worker ordered one magazine or mailed five cards a month, we could make millions in revenue appear for the PO. Just changing a few simple habits could mean a lot to our future! These are just a few things you can do to help keep your job. It is time to give a damn and act now. We are on borrowed time, people, and if you think you can find jobs with these benefits and salaries, you'd better leave now and start looking because if the PO goes under we all go under!

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor