by Lindamarie Peabody

After spending a week at the 20th Biennial APWU National Convention held in Detroit, I was feeling energized and excited to continue on in my fight to maintain our postal employment. It was very informative and motivated my spirit to see so many people committed to helping the members of this great union. However, my enthusiasm quickly waned as I was met by many problems when I returned home. I had three employees who were given letters of warnings and two employees who were given "paper" suspensions. With these welcome home gifts, came reports of seven offices being considered for consolidations and two of my offices undergoing function 4's with excessing in the near future. Also, one employee is on the verge of losing her job due to the reassessment project. All this quickly brought me back to reality and a weight fell back on my shoulders. Management's irrational demands can take a toll on even the strongest of people. I contemplated many avenues in my mind, such as quitting the union, or shredding the paperwork into tiny little pieces and dropping them over my OIC's desk, and finally just pretending like the paperwork never really existed. Yes all of these things really did cross my mind but being the person I am, I started to get angry. I asked myself if I could just sit back and watch people being harassed and do nothing about it. Of course not! Anger is all we seem to have as a union anymore, but I realized we can't let it eat away at who we are as a person. We must all fight back even when all the rumors and facts continue to be negative. Every postal worker, in every state of America, is going through the same things that we are locally. We are not ALONE! We have to learn to use our anger in a collective and productive way if we ever hope to be at peace with our employment and each other. Be patient! After calming down from my return home, I just took it one step at a time and things started to improve. Although most of my articles do have a sense of "Gloom and Doom" (we are in a recession people), I do have HOPE for the future. President Burrus told us at the convention that the union is financially solvent (no dues increase this year!) and ready to do battle in our upcoming contract negotiations. He also said that this union will be moving FORWARD, not BACKWARDS. Our contract expires November 20th and it will be difficult, but we truly have the most experienced officers of any union running the show. I have faith that they will get us the best contract they can possibly get in this economy. Also, all of the resolutions adopted at the National Convention will be given careful consideration by Union Officials when meeting with the USPS. (A copy of the over 200 resolutions are available at the Union Office if anyone is interested.)

November 2nd is fast approaching and you know what that means! VOTE! You must make sure that all of your family and friends are registered by early October to be eligible. Libraries and all courts have the forms to register. Start asking now and making sure people have rides to the polls that day! We need to get labor-friendly candidates elected, as this is very helpful when we fight to get our pro-post office bills passed into legislation. HR-5746 is the most important of these on the docket right now. We will need this to be passed to maintain financial stability for the USPS. It is CRUCIAL to our survival. Make sure you contact your elected officials to save six-day delivery and sign on to HR-5746.

Finally, I do have some good news!!! Some of the grievances filed back in 2007-2008 are finally being heard! We won a grievance in Media Main Office for $7400. I nearly fainted! We have seen very few monetary settlements, but they are possible (sort of like seeing Big Foot!). Members and Stewards keep your chins up and think positive. The fight is definitely worth it!

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor