2007 was a year of many changes for your union, both nationally and locally. A new four year contract was in place, although there were and still are pending questions to be settled over the use of casuals in non 200 man year offices, the continuous non-hiring of replacement PTF's for retiring employees, cross crafting of non-clerk craft employees to do clerk duties, the Inspector General Office honing in on Postal Employees, overriding the Postal Inspection Service's area of jurisdiction, and the list goes on.

But important strides were made in the area of wages and benefits for all APWU represented employees. The impact is being felt at the local level in our numbers dwindling every time we have a retirement or a body leaves the service. We have gone from representing a high of roughly 425 members and non-members to our present level of 300 members and non-members. When you lose the strength in numbers of member to non-member, it becomes very dangerous in how you can operate your local. In the year 1987, we had only 17 stewards versus our current 35. But, we have more offices with no stewards and only a representative to mind the store with an appointed Area Steward to handle grievance activity and labor management affairs. The reluctance of neighboring independent locals to merge gives one to question - Why? Isn't there strength in numbers, not only for participation, but for training of officers and stewards to enforce your contractual rights? In the year 2007, we trained four new stewards at West Virginia University; we also had officers trained on new contract language, in the areas of Legislation, OWCP, and grievance procedures.

We now have all local officer positions filled. Director of Industrial Relations, Clerk Craft Director, and Secretarial. We also brought in two new outside secretaries for computer and actual help with typing needed correspondence and putting our newsletter together for publication.

We have encouraged and received more participation in the area of steward and officer involvement; however, there is always room for more new help with new ideas to bring to the membership. Could this be you? We hope so, give it a try, there is always room for more in a crowd; more ideas, more strength, more voices to be heard. This is your union - be part of it!

In Unionism,

Mark Hennessy