BOSTON METRO A.P.W.U.
Fourth Quarter 2011 Bostonian
A TIME TO MOVE ON
Nearly four and one-half decades ago, a scrawny kid began his career at the South Postal Annex (now called the GMF). Who would have thought that 45 years later I would be retiring as the Assistant Legislative and Political Director of the American Postal Workers Union, but such is the case.
In 1965 my Dad convinced me to take the Postal exam as I was about to be drafted into the Army and, as he put it, you will have a job when you come out. Well, the Army and the Air Force rejected my enlistment attempts for medical reasons, but the United States Postal Service welcomed me with open arms. A decision they would live to regret.
I actually began my career in 1966 and things were quite different then. No machines to speak of, all clerks had to memorize schemes, and there were over 4,000 employees in the South Postal Annex. Window clerks had guns! The turning point came in 1970 when frustration welled up among the younger elements in our work force over the pay and benefits of postal employees.
Our ability to improve things was hampered by the fact we had nine separate unions in the Post Office at that time. There were two unions representing clerks in Boston, the National Postal Union (NPU), and the National Federation of Postal Clerks (NFPC). I was a member of both. This lack of coordinated leadership caused workers to conduct a wildcat national strike, and life in the Post Office would never be the same. Less than 20% of the workers in Boston actually went out on strike, and I was one of them.
Following the 1970 strike, most of the Unions merged to form the American Postal Workers Union and a small cadre of strikers eventually emerged as leaders in the new Union movement. By 1977 I became president of the Boston Local and for nearly 16 years we transformed this local into one of the most respected locals in the country. Several local officers including myself moved on to national leadership positions, but my heart has always been with my local and for that reason I am taking this opportunity to sign off in my local paper.
My last official day as a Union officer will be December 23, 2011, but my last day as a Boston Local union member will be the day they lower me into the ground. Being a union official is not a job, if you really understand the meaning of representing workers you know; it is a life calling. I have always seen it that way and I know many others feel the same way.
Names like Nick Diliberto, Matt Bowen, Moe Lepore, Steve Lukosus, Richard Boutwell and George Rubin come to mind when I think of th e"old days". Today Paul Kilduff, Bob Dempsey and the current local officers certainly have left a great impression on me, but there are others who never got the recognition they deserved. Names like John Uccello, George Tarquinio, Pat Morrissette, Dennis Corbett, Bill Copithorne, Tom Murtagh, and Paul Byrne have special meaning to me, and each contributed in ways that the membership never really saw. Naming names is risky and I know I missed many.
I will close by saying this Union has give me and my family much more than I could ever give back to it. For that reason I have told national and local people that they can contact me at any time after I retire and I will help them in any way I can. God bless you all and together we can survive anything including the current crisis facing us.
Fourth Quarter 2011 Bostonian
Congress Broke ItÖOnly Congress Can Fix It Ė Pass HR 1351 Now
John H. Dirzius, Northeast Regional Coordinator
"Iím mad as hell and Iím not going to take this anymore" . . . that should be the rallying cry of every postal worker in America. At no time over my forty-year career has the support and involvement of our members been so vital to our collective survival.
You canít pick up a newspaper, listen to the nightly news, or watch a cable news show without hearing a story about the United States Postal Service and its current financial woes. As postal workers we have been told over the last few weeks in "service talks" that management will no longer honor your collective bargaining agreement and plans to ask Congress to eliminate your "no lay-off" protection. And then they will lay off over 120,000 workers. Management further intends to force over 100,000 postal workers to retire.
They also have asked Congress to remove you and your family from the Federal Health Plan Program, and take away your Federal Pension. You will then be able to enroll in a USPS health plan and pension program administered by the USPS. Now thatís a scary thought! But as you know too well, it does not stop there. Postal management has announced the closure of 4,000 Post Offices, over 250 Processing Plants, and they intend to reduce 6 day delivery to 5 day delivery or even less.
Open Attack On Postal Collective Bargaining
Unfortunately, postal management is not the only ones attacking postal workers and attempting to destroy an American institution that dates back to our founding fathers. Look no further than to Congress and in particular Congressman Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Congressman Issa has introduced his own fix for the USPS and postal workers. His fix would destroy the Postal Service as we know it and eliminate collective bargaining rights for postal workers. His draconian bill would destroy our current contact and all of its protections. His proposal would mandate billions in savings per year by more office closures and further reduction in service. And if thatís not enough, Issa amended his bill to include a number of regressive proposals that are even more controversial than his original bill.
These amendments would force lay-offs in violation of our contract, and get this . . . it states that employees who are eligible for retirement must be laid off first and that employees with the longest service must be separated. As I have previously stated, this Congressman is dangerous and he has unionized postal workers as his target. Destroy postal collective bargaining and the world will be a better place for all! That is if youíre a multi-millionaire Congressman named Issa.
All of these proposals and ways to fix the USPS financial problems are in response to the Postal Serviceís public assertion that it is broke and will default by the end of this year or early next year. News reports abound that the Internet, the bad economy, the wages and benefits paid to postal workers, and a massive decline in first class mail volume are all responsible for the financial collapse of the USPS
Well Sisters and Brothers that ainít the truth and all of us need to get the "correct" information out to the media, our customers, the public, and our friends and family members.
The Real Truth
Hereís the real reason for the current state of affairs of our employer. In 2006, in a lame duck session of Congress, President Bush signed into law the "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act." This piece of legislation targeted the USPS as a "cash cow" by requiring the USPS to pre-fund 75 years . . . thatís right 75 years . . . worth of future retiree health benefits and to pay it in only 10 years! The yearly price tag for this pre-funding is over $5.5 billion dollars a year. There is no other governmental agency or company that is required to pre-fund future retiree health benefits for employees not yet hired. Itís a financial burden no company could afford to pay!
Contrary to the outcry of Congressman Issa, the Postal Service is not funded by taxpayers and has not used a dime of taxpayer money in 30 years. Our stamps and services pay the bills. More importantly, even in the worst recession in over 80 years the USPS made a net profit of more than $600 million over the past four years. Thatís correct, despite competition from the Internet, despite the bad economy, despite the reduction in mail volume, and despite everything else you may have heard; postal operating revenues exceeded costs by $611 million in the four years since 2007.
The Only Fix
So you ask: What is the answer to this pressing issue confronting the USPS and postal workers?
The answer is for Congress to fix what they broke in 2006.
The answer is to pass into law House Bill 1351, which has bipartisan support and over 215 co-sponsors. The bill would address the major problem confronting the USPS Ė the pre-fund issue.
This bill, the "USPS Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011", would correct the overfunding of the Postal Serviceís pension accounts, and would allow the cash-strapped agency to use any surplus to meet its retiree health benefits pre-funding obligation".
H.R. 1351 instructs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to recalculate USPS payments to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) using updated technology. Independent actuarial studies have concluded that as a result of improper funding formulas, the USPS has overpaid CSRS by $50 billion to $75 billion. FERS overpayments are estimated at $6.9 billion.
If any overpayments are found during OPMís recalculation, any surplus would be transferred to the Postal Service. OPM would also be required to refund the USPS any money it overpaid to its FERS account. The Postal Service could then use this money to meet its pre-funding requirements. HR 1351 would help put the Postal Service back on track to fiscal solvency. Congress broke it and only Congress can fix it.
Every Postal Worker Should Be Mad As Hell
I encourage every member to support the APWU and to become involved and fully engaged in our collective struggle for our very survival. Those forces looking to destroy the USPS and attack the standard of living of postal workers are real and very dangerous. This is not a time to sit back and "let the other guy" do it. Our very survival is at play here and our collective futures depend on your active support of the efforts of the APWU. There may not be a tomorrow or another opportunity. As I stated in my opening comment . . . every postal worker should be mad as hell, but, with your involvement and your support we wonít have to take it any more!
Tell Congress to pass HR 1351 now!
December 2010 Bostonian
From the Desk of Bob Waterhouse, Director Organization, Legislation & Education
This membership is made up of a total of 2,178 clerks, MVS drivers and maintenance employees. I printed an article in the last Bostonian attempting to rally our members to form an auxiliary to our local to try and battle management in another arena than that of the bargaining table. To stage protests at postal events, to walk picket lines outside stations and branches (B.U. Post Office could have used one), to pass out pamphlets to pedestrians, informing them of the atrocities that take place inside the P.O., to call or write letters to legislators, inspectors OIG, newspapers etcÖto start attacking them from another direction!
That is what we could do. We can gather, nominate and elect interested individuals to several offices within the auxiliary. We can appoint other individuals to offices, and form a chain of command. We can raise money for our local and national union. This Auxiliary could be the weapon weíve needed for a long time. All we need to do first Ö is organize.
As I said, I published an article with the intention of rallying about 30 to 40 members of this 2,178 member strong union. The number of responses that I got in my Email was . . . Zero. Thatís the number of people who seem to be interested in putting up their dukes and joining the fight. After all weíve worked for decade after decade in this place, all the workers want to do is sit back and watch management dismantle the USPS?
This is our business just as much as it is theirs, and weíre just gonna let them ruin it? I was very discouraged to see the lack of interest from my fellow brothers and sisters. If thatís the response from the membership at this hour of the game, this union is in a lot of trouble! We are in a lot of trouble if everybody would rather just sit on their hands and wait to blame it on their steward, or their union hall or the national union. Instead of getting up and showing that this union is still a force to be reckoned with, weíd rather just stay home and watch reality TV shows, or check fantasy football stats, or do anything but this?
I will post the Email to contact for those of you who would rather knuckle up than cover up. WaterhouseAPWU@gmail.com or P.O. Box 392008 Ė Cambridge, MA 02139.
This is the moment, folks. I need ten people who are not Executive Board members or just loyal friends of mine. I got one real hit after Bob Keough sent out a bulletin to the stations. Thatís it. Thatís pathetic. I donít think people in this union are grasping how crucial a point we are at right now. We should not wait until itís too late. And that time may not be too far behind either. Our unsinkable ship is in bad shape, and here comes the iceberg. You can do one of two things. You can help me try and turn this ship, or you can start looking for a life preserver.
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THE FOLLOWING WAS READ AT THE VETERANS' DAY CEREMONY AT THE GMF BOSTON.
Description Of An American War Veteran
Author: Margeurite Hoff Beckley
America's war veterans come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and ages. Their collective experience spans two world wars and several foreign conflicts. They have followed war mules through the mud of Flanders Field, dropped from landing barges onto the beaches of Normandy, faced the icy cold of Porkchop Hill and trudged the rice paddies of Mekong Delta. All veterans share a common bond.
A veteran is the first man up as the flag passes by on the 4th of July, and the last one down, for he has been a witness to the blood and tears which makes this and all other parades possible. A veteran is a man of peace, soft spoken, slow to anger, quick to realize that those who talk most about the glory of war are those who know least about its horror. He never jokes about war, has been there, and still sees on memory's vivid screen the wounded and dying, the widows and orphans, he knows first hand that no war is good and that the only thing worse than war is slavery.
He is a friend to all races of man, begrudging none, he carries with him the knowledge that it is not the man who is the enemy but enslavement and false ideologies. Those whom he once faced across the hostile battle lines, he now esteems his brothers.
A veteran is at once proud and humble: proud of the fact that in 200 years no foreign enemy has set foot on American soil; and humble in the realization that many of his comrades who helped him make his lofty aim a reality, never returned.
More than anything else, a veteran loves freedom. He can spend a whole afternoon doing nothing - just because it suits him and just because he paid the price to do what he wants with his time.
He also takes a personal pride in the freedom of others - in men and women attending the church of their choice; in friends voting how they choose; and in children sleeping quietly, without fear to interrupt their slumber.
A veteran is every man grown up a little taller - a person who understands the awesome price of life's intangibles of freedom, justice and democracy. His motto is to live and let live. But, if he had to, if he had to choose between servitude and conflict, the veteran would once again answer the call to duty.
Because, above all, above all else - a veteran is an American.
| The Fourth Annual Scott Millerís Rescuers Award (2010)
Congratulations to Mical Waterhouse, brother of Bob Waterhouse, steward and officer of Boston Metro APWU. Mical has been awarded the Fourth Annual Scott Millerís Rescuers Award.
On April 14, 2010, Mical Waterhouse spotted smoke coming from the bottom of a neighborís house. He went to the door and knocked. There was no answer. When he became sure that there was a fire in the house, he called 911. He broke into the house to find smoke alarms blaring and smoke filling the hallways. He came across several children playing in a room. None of them spoke a word of English. He ushered each one of them out of the house, as well as an elderly woman.
If not for his actions of calling the authorities and evacuating the house himself, these people would likely have perished.
The Town of Wakefield declined to recognize him for his actions, but the occupants of the house were not exiting the house even with smoke emerging and alarms sounding. The story made the News that night on WHDH-TV. The report claims fifteen people were saved. The accurate number was seven children and one elderly woman.
A Certificate of Award and a monetary prize of one thousand dollars ($1,000), is presented annually by the Boston Metro Local, commemorating the life-saving activities of our departed brother, Scott Alan Miller, and honoring individuals whose acts of heroism and rescue best exemplify Scottís skill and sacrifice.
|Third Quarter Issue 2010 Bostonian
BOB WATERHOUSE, DIRECTOR of ORGANIZATION, LEGISLATION, & EDUCATION
THE REVOLUTION BEGINS AFTER WE ORGANIZE
Brothers and Sisters, I am looking to organize and form an auxiliary to our union. An auxiliary is an organization with officers, members and a constitution. The organization performs various different tasks like protests and pickets, letter writing and phone banking campaigns to legislators, as well as fundraising. I am aiming to get at least ten people to contact me and schedule a date to hold an initial meeting.
I have been drafting a constitution and by-laws over the course of the past year or so, and am in the process of verifying its potential with the national president of the APWU Auxiliary. If you are as fed up as I am with the crap that management is pulling these days, I ask that you at least attempt to join this group. Do not worry about any dues being paid. Nobody will be paying a dime out of their pocket.
Think of this organization as a union within a union, who mobilizes, and specializes in activism. There is potential to create an effective organization here, my friends. If we donít start being more proactive, then we might as well just sit back and let these sons of bitches tank this business before our very eyes, and watch everything weíve worked for all these years go with it!
There are more details about creating this organization that I can elaborate on when we meet. To find out more, you will need to contact me. I am calling on you to grab torches and pitchforks . . . oops . . . excuse me . . . pens and picket signs to help me shake off this complacent funk we are all in, and start exploring some options!
This organization will not be restricted to APWU members, but it will start with them. My email address is: WaterhouseAPWU@gmail.com. If you donít have an email account, you can contact me by mailing a letter or card to: Bob Waterhouse, P. O. Box 392008, Cambridge, MA 02139.
If this body is as effective as I imagine it could be, you will want to be a part of it. I will be checking my mailboxes daily so get on board and contact me today. We must first organize our voices, before they can be heard!
Bob Waterhouse, Director of Organization, Legislation & Education
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|The following resolution was submitted by the Boston Metro APWU and National Director of Human Relations, Sue Carney, and passed by the delegates at the National Convention.
Support is an Action, Not a Sentiment
Whereas we owe a lifetime of gratitude to our U.S. Service members and our veterans for their selfless sacrifices; yet one in four veterans are unemployed after serving our country, and one-third of Americaís homeless population is comprised of veterans which equates to over a million veterans a year.
Whereas according to the Department of Defense August 17, 2010 Casualty Report, 5,619 U.S. Service members have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom ( 939 since last convention) of which, to our knowledge, three APWU members, ten sons, a fiancť, a niece and two nephews have laid down their lives; and
Whereas according to this same report 39,440 U.S. Service men and women have been wounded in action (6601 since last convention); over half of which were listed by the DOD as unable to return to duty - injured so severely that their lives have been changed forever; and
Whereas the casualties of war do not end on the battlefield. The Army recently reported that 145 soldiers committed suicide in the first half of this year of which 32 committed suicide in the month of June. It was also reported that on average 18 veterans a day are committing suicide; marking the daily, monthly and yearly suicide rates as the highest in military history. The message is clear that our young men and women in uniform have had enough. We are not doing enough to bring them home and we are not doing enough to meet the needs of our veterans; and
Whereas our countryís sons and daughters have been in Afghanistan for 105 months Ė making Operation Enduring Freedom the longest war in American history, surpassing the Vietnam War which lasted 103 months;
Therefore be it resolved that the APWU take additional, more meaningful action beyond that of the anti-war resolutions previously adopted by the APWU National Executive Board, our local and state organizations, the AFL-CIO Executive Council and other unions to oppose the war and support our troops; and
Be it further resolved that we express our profound concerns for the welfare of our US Service members by demanding to our nationís President and our legislative leaders bring all of our troops home promptly from Iraq and Afghanistan; and
Be it further resolved that we demand our nation keep its promise to our veterans by ensuring they are afforded quality jobs with living wages, that service-connected medical conditions be recognized as service-connected without the U.S. Service member and veteran having to take extraordinary measures to prove the connection, that they receive appropriate and timely healthcare for all of their service-connected medical needs, that they receive just disability ratings and other earned benefits expeditiously, and that a Select Committee on POW/ MIA Affairs be activated in order for our nation to do everything within its power to bring our living and our dead home, and to give a full accounting to surviving family members ; and
Be it further resolved that we compel our APWU local and state organizations, the AFL-CIO Executive Council and other unions to do the same.
Boston Metro APWU and Sue Carney, National Director of Human Relations
Bob Dempsey - Paul Kilduff - Bob Keough - William Weaver - Wayne Greenside
FIRST QUARTER 2010 BOSTONIAN ISSUE
A LABOR OF LOVE
FAREWELL FROM MOE
Dear brothers and sisters, when I sat down to write my last article as general president, I really believed that when this time came I would be prepared. Boy, was I mistaken! My mind is working overtime as I try to put down to paper and pen how to say "Goodbye". What is most important to me is how do I recognize my brothers and sisters specifically without mistakenly not mentioning someone.
My Lord has rewarded me with many friends who I have come to love and respect. I owe a great deal to so many. It would take several lifetimes to try and repay their kindness. I humbly say how fortunate I am to make such a statement about you.
I am requesting of my many friends who have guided and protected me throughout the years to please forgive me for not mentioning your name individually. If I may, this personal article is my way of thanking you with my deepest feelings and thoughts. Those of us who wear our hearts on our sleeves tend to be quite emotional and sensitive to lifeís issues almost daily.
All in all, as I take stock in my adult life I can look in the rearview mirror and for the first time no one or nothing is gaining on me. I left everything in my being at Boston Metroís doorstep Ė never once selling my friends for my future.
Being elected by your peers to a position in American Postal Workers Union is an accomplishment and honor whereby your brothers and sisters have faith that you will protect and represent them to the highest ideals in American Postal Workers Union. I have been given the opportunities to serve the membership in many capacities as an elected union officer, culminating in being elected three successive terms as general president for the largest post office local in New England.
My brothers and sisters, I canít describe the feelings that erupt within you upon being so privileged to be elected to such an honored union position in American Postal Workers Union. I was first elected to a full time officer position in 1993 as Director of Industrial Relations. You showed faith in me by electing me to this position three consecutive times, prior to my ascendency to general president. Having been allowed six consecutive terms as a full time officer in the Boston Metro Area Local is an honor that I will carry with me for the rest of my life on this "veil of tears". This privilege that you have entrusted me with was always one that I took extremely seriously.
Being elected unopposed in my second term as a retired postal worker, no doubt, is an honor that you have bestowed upon me as your general president. I was truly appreciative and awed by this demonstration of your confidence in me that I could do this job well whether Iím a postal worker or a retired postal worker. What matters is the content of oneís heart.
During my career in American Postal Workers Union I gave you everything I had. To be worthy of your trust has been a highlight in my life. No doubt I have made a heck of a lot of mistakes, however I was always willing to accept responsibility for them and tried to correct them. I left nothing on the table when I battled management. I always gave 100% in all issues. Of course, that quite often got me into trouble, but therein was the reward Ė railing against the machine, if you will.
As you may know, I am not going to continue as your general president while I campaign for national office. I believe my bulletin explained this to my brothers and sisters. Itís a matter of ethics. Iím sure any brother or sister would do the exact same thing were they in my position. I will pursue this position as a full dues retired member of our local. Let me pause for a second as I still canít fathom how fortunate I am to be in a position to take on this challenge. No matter who wins this national position, A.P.W.U. will be served well as I believe every one of us has the same agenda Ė just different ways to obtain such.
Boston Metro has been a very large part of my adult life and I could not have been given an opportunity to pursue a more noble vocation than one of union steward and officer in this great union. Due to my personal circumstances I had the luxury, if you will, to be on call more than those brothers and sisters with families as I willingly gave everyone my home and cell phone numbers. I was glad to do so as I always liked the idea that the dues paying member could have access to their president after work hours. I just didnít realize that some folks would call all hours of the night Ė for innocuous reasons quite often Ė but, hey, you paid my salary and gave me a wonderful life. If I didnít want this to happen, I did not have to make my personal numbers available.
Our local functions at a fever pace, logging more than 600 calls a week. Brothers and sisters, let me say that Boston Metro has been most fortunate to have two awesome secretaries who administer our daily operations. Bettie Timilty has been a Godsend for our local for almost three decades. Without her I shudder to think how we would get all things that must be done daily completed. She is invaluable. Along with Mary Murphy, they make a great team, keeping the local on top of all issues. Mary has been wonderful in her capacity and no doubt she and Bettie will continue to administer the daily operations at the union hall with class and distinction. We are truly blessed for both union sisters.
Thank you, Bettie, for being there for me my entire career for there isnít any doubt your help and friendship surely sustained me even in the darkest hours of my personal life.
Ever since I can remember, there has been this fire in my blood as I dealt with lifeís issues. Perhaps due to having to pretty much grow up on my own with my brother George and my beautiful late sister, Anne, after losing our parents as children. I guess Iíve been fighting all of my life for a place at the table in our society and always wondering what life was to bring me. It wasnít until I was older did I realize that what matters is what I bring to life.
My passion never waned for one second, especially in my capacity as your general president. Knowing that when I spoke it was on behalf of thousands of brothers and sisters is an awesome responsibility, one I took very seriously. My career was one of dedicated militancy - always with compassion for the human condition, which was sadly missing by most in positions of authority in this noble industry.
During my formative years as a young unionist in the GMF Tour-3 LSM area, I was taken off the workroom floor by postal police so often I think they made me an honorary security guard. That was in our salad days, to be sure! I guess my passion got carried away so much that managementís only way to deal with me was to call the postal police time and time again. I always reported back to work the next night to work as a steward forty hours a week non-stop and was always paid for being hit off the clock. After years of management trying to fire me, they must have realized I wasnít going anywhere any time soon. Quite often I had company as brother stewards stood shoulder to shoulder with me.
LSM stewards Gino Bonacci, Bob Keough, Paul Kilduff and Scott Hoffman always stood strong with me when the LSM stewardship was attacked by management. All thirty stewards in the GMF on tour-3 in the early í90s were always there for A.P.W.U. Ė no matter what!
If ever there was a union stronghold, if you will, it was the GMF LSM area on tour-3 and tour-1. The overwhelming majority of clerks were on tour-3 and, believe me, ask any brother or sister on tour-3 in the í70s, í80s, í90s and beyond. We rocked with the most incredible support any local in this industry has ever enjoyed. More than 425 members in one area was a tremendous boost to the Boston Metro agenda. As I travel throughout the local when time allows, one thing is for sure. LSM operators are everywhere.
As I look back to those salad days, I learned that my fifteen years on tour-3 in the LSM area, the solidarity and support for A.P.W.U. was off the hook, which allowed the stewards to really battle management toe to toe each night.
Brothers and sisters, I must tell you, management called the Postal Police on me due to my attitude of not calming down, dealing with a particular supervisor who was trying to severely hurt a brother or sisterís career and, believe me brothers and sisters, management handed out removals in those days like it was a denied 3971.
Seeing a union sister being humiliated and reduced to tears by some jerk supervisor often set me off to where the Postal Police made their presence known, due to my actions of trying to restore dignity to this sister in no uncertain terms, if you get my drift!
My thoughts during these altercations was to instill pride in our brothers and sisters as A.P.W.U. members and show that we can fight back against the daily attacks we endured at the worksite and make a difference. I have repeated a phrase time and time again, which I think sums up my career.
It must have been fate for me to wind up in Boston in 1967, having just left Da Nang Vietnam and being given orders to report to Boston from the Department of Navy. Little did I know that I would build a life here and meet the most awesome people in the World Ė BOSTONIANS! I had planned to finish my active duty in Boston and start a new life back in Brooklyn.
I thank you for allowing me the chance to become one of you Ė a poor kid from Brooklyn living amongst people who live life differently than many. So here I am - warts and all - trying to say Goodbye - but not doing such a good job as there is so much to say, but not enough time to say it.
Brothers and sisters, I will continue on this road that is my life with the knowledge that I accomplished a great deal with the help of many friends who stood by me when it wasnít always the most popular thing to do. You know who you are and no doubt you will continue to give of yourself to those you believe are worthy. Without you there is no A.P.W.U. career for me. Without my friends I donít think I could have made it in life, let alone have a wonderful union career.
If I can pass along some brotherly advice at this time in my life, it most assuredly would be Ė please get involved and protect your brothers and sisters at work. We are at the crossroads in this great country. We all know this reality. The only way we will all survive and prosper is to join together as American laborers. This is our challenge as only by clasping one anotherís hands can we truly experience a long held promise of the American Dream, but it takes every one of us.
As I look back in time, thinking of the thousands of brothers and sisters that I have had the privilege of representing, I lament to the many careers I was not able to save. And you know, as I look at those sad stories and the tumult their removals heaped upon their families, the turmoil and all the heartache should not have ever been the reality for the overwhelming majority who were given corporate capital punishment for attendance. How sad! How shameful! Weíve all heard the stories Ė child care - family health - personal health - it just doesnít matter. It didnít then and, to our chagrin as a union, it infests this industry today. I guess this reality among them all is one that I never could digest no matter what form it was fed to me. I have to say now it was truly heartbreaking on many occasions seeing a brother or sister walk out the door and I couldnít prevent it.
There is still a great task before us. Protect all on board now and be architects for future growth in American Postal Workers Union. Weíre just beginning to fight. I promise, brothers and sisters, there are legions of us who feel the same way in the U.S.A. today.
I am leaving our local in very capable hands with our full time officers. With your continued support, Boston Metro will be successful in many arenas as we fight to maintain what we have gained these past 38 years. It will be quite hard not to sorely miss the hot bed of action which was my union life in the United States Postal Service. I hope to continue to contribute to the agenda for the House of Labor whether itís in a national position or as a full dues paying retiree.
Time to close this chapter of my life. No one can ever accuse me of not being one who didnít share his most personal feelings with those I care for. In my heart of hearts I never thought that there would be events in my life that would change me forever and send me on a journey that may lead to leaving home for a while. Where "2010" will have me and where my lifeís path will travel is up to my Good Lord. I only know for certain I was truly blessed to be the recipient of warmth, compassion and love from so many wonderful brothers and sisters.
On behalf of my loving son, Daniel, and those people in my personal life who have honored me with their fellowship and love, may I say with a heavy heart "Thank You" for illustrating to me that my desire to represent the working class heroes in this industry has helped our local in a small way as we stand up for our rights on the workroom floor.
To those near and dear friends who taught me the valued lesson that the people I love so much who were taken from me, as selfish as this statement is, never left me at all, but rather permeate my very being Ė each waking moment. A sincere "thank you" from my heart. Sadly, I learned as a child that life gives and takes and when that side of lifeís coin turns against us, we suffer losing our loved ones Ė family and friends together.
As general president I have been honored to have paid my respects on our membershipís behalf to hundreds of union membersí families and friends who have passed on. This has taken its toll, as you can imagine, after lo these many years.
Quite often I, along with the other officers who also pay their respects, have the opportunity to tell the family of our lost brother or sister just how their loved one was loved and appreciated by their co-workers. This is important that they know this without exception. Many have said that knowing this brought solace even if in a small measure and that is giving some comfort to the family. So in some measure A.P.W.U. tries to help our brothers and sisters as they, like all of us, come to terms with their loss. A union brother and sister is just that Ė a brother and sister Ė not just at work, but always.
I hope with all of my heart that during my tenure as your general president, I showed respect and compassion for your concerns, no mater what they were. I am but one of a multitude of brother and sister activists in A.P.W.U.
Well, I guess this is where I say "Goodbye" to people whom I love and respect and will no doubt miss more than all these words I have rambled in this article could ever demonstrate.
Thank you for giving me the chance to be able to be in a position to fight for you and your families. It has been my distinct honor to work with you and for you these past thirty plus years. May God Bless each and every one of us and all family and friends as we navigate into the next few years in America and at the workplace. You have given memories to sustain me for a hundred lifetimes.
I sincerely wish that if ever you think about me, that the memories are of a kid from Brooklyn who fought with everything he had Ė body and soul Ė for his brothers and sisters in A.P.W.U. and the House of Labor, and never never never gave up.
May God Bless You and "Goodbye" from your president and, more importantly, from your Brother Moe.
Yours in Union Solidarity . . .
GOD BLESS YOU AND THE U.S.A.!
FIGHT THE TYRANNY!
STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!
SUPPORT YOUR UNION!
THIS IS AMERICA!
Brothers and Sisters, Iím here along with the full time officers and craft presidents to tell you the "Spirit of America" is alive and well!
If there is any doubt that this is true, we suggest you visit the Esten Elementary School in Rockland, MA. For it is there you will meet some of the most awesome boys and girls growing up in America today. Sit back for a few minutes as I tell the tale.
M.V.S. Craft President, Bill Weaver, was contacted by brother M.V.S. driver, Bill Lonergan, whose wife Sue is a teacher at this school. Sue explained that the children at the school had prepared more than fifty care packages for our men and women serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There originally was a plan whereby the boxes were to be put onto a military transport. Unfortunately, that didnít happen. Mrs. Carol McGrath, the Esten School Principal, along with parents of some of the children tried to find the best way to mail these boxes. Sue Lonergan told her husband Bill of their plight. Bill immediately contacted M.V.S. President, Bill Weaver. Bill sprung into action contacting the union hall full time officers to explain the problem.
We decided that Boston Metro APWU would be honored to pick up the boxes and provide the postage, which we did on January 25th. We are very happy to say that the care packages were mailed to our soldiers. The full time officers and both M.V.S. craft president, Bill Weaver and maintenance craft president, Wayne Greenside, along with M.V.S. driver, Bill Lonergan, were met with great enthusiasm and excitement by boys and girls representing their school.
Yes, brothers and sisters, sadly America is at War and our young men and women are once again in harmís way. The Young Americans at the Esten School are to be truly commended. These awesome kids must know the happiness and love they have demonstrated for our soldiers will forever be in these brave soulsí hearts forever.
Sadly, the terrible things War brings to our doorstep is never forgotten, most especially when a brave American dies for their country such as the tragic death of Spec. Matthew Pollini on January 22, 2009. His younger brother, Anthony, is in the second grade, along with Matthewís nephew, Andrew. I know that right now it is difficult, however, you will surely grow up knowing that your brother, Matthew, died an American Hero, and we are so very grateful that there are soldiers willing to pay the ultimate price for America to remain free. Matthew, we promise your sacrifice will never be forgotten, but rather it will be honored always.
Each APWU officer left the Esten School very proud of these wonderful children and their wonderful teachers. Many soldiers will no doubt have their spirits lifted due to the childrensí selfless act of kindness, love and respect for our soldiers.
Isnít life strange and quite often our circle of life brings us back home. Such is the case for Bill Weaver and Bill Lonergan as both brothers are alumni from the Rockland School System.
In closing, Boston Metro Area Local 100, American Postal Workers Union, is honored to be associated with the Esten School and staff and, most importantly, for meeting some awesome young boys and girls who are Young Americans to the highest order!
God Bless Us Everyone.
Yours in Union Solidarity,
Moe Lepore, General President
Open Letter to the Brothers and Sisters of Boston Metro
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Please allow me to preface my following remarks by saying that I apologize to my brothers and sisters for recent rumors regarding my seeking national office. I did not decide until recently. That being said, I have decided to seek the position of Director of Organization at the national level for our union. The current Director, Frank Romero, is not going to seek re-election. The nominations for national office are in June of 2010.
Please know that I will not run for this position as General President for our local. I will retire prior to nominations for several reasons. The position of General President necessitates that the President devote their full time to this office. The position requires maximum energy and time to all facets of leading this organization. That would not be possible if I campaign for this national position.
No doubt seeking national office will take tremendous time and energy. I will not be able to do so as your General President. The membership is paying for a full time President, especially now more than ever. It wouldnít be fair or ethical for me to draw a full time paycheck, yet only be at the job 50% of the time. I will seek this position as a full dues paying retiree from Boston Metro. I will announce my candidacy at this yearís All Crafts Conference.
For the past 30+ years, you have elected me to many positions, including Director of Industrial Relations three terms and General President three terms. I am most fortunate to be able to have had your support all these years. I truly believe that I gave my brothers and sisters everything I had these past 30 years, always trying to protect us all.
As many brothers and sisters know, I was looking at this position two years ago; however there was much uncertainty, and I believed that the last election for national office was not the time to seek this job. My obligation as General President is to leave our local as strong as when I became General President before entertaining any ideas of running for national office. I believe that I have accomplished this goal with the help of many brother and sister officers and stewards and activists. I am proud that during my presidency I did my best to be as accessible as humanly possible by giving anyone who needed my home and cell phone numbers, so I could be available to the membership 24/7. I truly love our union brothers and sisters and this great union.
I know I am leaving our local in very capable hands. Bob Dempsey, Paul Kilduff and Bob Keough are doing tremendous work 24/7 for our local. I am honored to have worked with my three brothers since June 1, 2008. No matter what the issue, they are always willing to take the fight to managementís door step.
Talk about baptism under fire. These fine brothers came into office during the most tumultuous time in our unionís history, and they have responded as great unionists. No doubt they will lead our local with integrity and grit in the coming years.
To be General President of this great local is an honor and privilege that you have bestowed upon me. I hope that when called upon by my brothers and sisters during my 30+ years of activism, I gave you my all in trying to resolve your concerns.
The local has rewarded me with the opportunity to be an officer in this great local and has provided me with a wonderful life. Your support for me has been overwhelming, and I hope I can count on you as I seek this national position.
I donít think that I should remain as General President during this campaign because if I lose, I should not continue as General President. If I want to win this job, then the right thing to do for my local is to resign and allow our local to function with the full time officers allotted by our constitution.
I gave Boston Metro all of my energy, passion and dedication without reservation. No doubt I am honored to have been elected six consecutive times as a full time officer in Boston Metro, and that I will always be immensely proud of. I have made too many friends to mention over the years and I hope you know I never gave up for one minute trying to protect us all.
I will certainly keep the membership abreast of my plans as soon as possible as to when I will retire as General President. Please know that our local constitution will be adhered to regarding the process of filling my position. I respect this union and my brothers and sisters far too much to remain General President and draw a full salary and yet not perform 100% as this position demands.
I am truly blessed and honored to have served my brothers and sisters in Boston for these past 30 years. Your unionism is a shining example for A.P.W.U. throughout our great country. One thing my brothers and sisters can be sure of . . . management always knew my integrity or my love for the union movement was never for sale as I battled a most draconian management regime. That will never change!
Yours in Union Solidarity,
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009 BOSTONIAN
HONORING OUR WARRIORS
On a beautiful morning in late Summer, at our most hallowed ground Ė Arlington National Cemetery Ė our brother and sister Veterans and their families took their place of honor as we recognized the sacrifices they willingly made for us to remain free. If ever there was a seminal moment whereby we were all one, it was hearing the haunting melodic rendition of taps performed by the United States Army with dignity and grace. For it was then, my brothers and sisters, that Iím sure everyone in attendance reflected in private what it means to be an American, Veteran and non-veteran together, Americans one and all.
As many tears streamed down the faces unashamedly by most in attendance, a feeling of sadness mixed carefully with solace are the only adjectives I can muster that describe my personal feelings at this moment in time. Watching our brothers, Kevin Jones, Jeff Baird, Bill Weaver and John Fraughton represent Boston Metro and American Postal Workers Union was inspiring and moving as these soldiers paid their respects to their brother and sister Veterans at this place of great honor.
We could not have had finer representatives of the United States Military and American Postal Workers Union. I was thinking during this ceremony how fortunate I am to represent brothers such as these gentlemen.
Our union brother, Kevin Jones, along with Jeff Baird placed the wreath on our behalf. We asked Kevin and his wife, Elaine, to honor us with their presence and we asked Kevin to be our dignitary as leader of the wreath committee. I truly believe that their son, First Lieutenant Ryan Patrick Jones, was looking down from Heaven ever so proud.
My brothers and sisters, this ceremony was a tribute from all brothers and sisters in this great union, honoring our brother and sister warriors. You donít have to be a Veteran to respect and appreciate those who did serve and are serving, no not at all. You just have to be a free thinking American; and when it comes down to it, thatís who you and I are, linked by faith and nationalism which, I might add, could use some infusion on both accounts.
Brothers and sisters, we as blue collar Americans of the lower and middle class, are the men and women whose blood permeates the landscape in the Middle East. Itís always been that way. No, the wealthy just donít go to War. We do, as did our parents and grandparents, and our children. That being said, no lamenting here, just stating that this being our reality, we as American laborers demand a place at the table. Why should we as Americans allow those wealthy in power dictate what we can and canít have. We paid the freight and continue to do so each day for OUR FREEDOM.
There are tens of thousands of brother and sister A.P.W.U. members who served and are serving America. Today we are humbled to be able to state so proudly that we truly honor their service. I would ask my brothers and sisters to stop the next soldier you see on the street and tell them how proud you are that they are protecting our precious freedom with their lives.
Let us not allow the politics of War to ravage our great country for there are those in America who willingly strive to divide us on the issues that confront us today for their own personal agenda. I ask how many of the naysayers who appear on TV and in print have their children in harmís way?
Let me end on a most positive note. I will never be more proud of this great union and our brothers and sisters than on September 12, 2009, for it was all of us as one, putting aside any differences and just being proud citizens of a country who has paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy. Inequity sadly is always a blight that must be stamped out. Hopefully days such as the one we were privileged to be part of will surely bring America together as we recognize what is good in all of mankind.
OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
"Honored and Proud"
We as a union humbly share in the honor and pride that our good union sister, Donna Elder, is surely experiencing today. Her daughter, Captain Lindsey M. Dane, who is stationed in Iraq, was recently the recipient of one of our nationís highest acknowledgments of heroism, The Bronze Star Medal.
May God Bless Captain Dane and return her and all brothers and sisters in harmís way safely and soon.
The Third Annual Scott Millerís Rescuers Award
The Third Annual Scott Millerís Rescuers Award was awarded to the daughter of one of our own union sisters, Mary Nelson, a clerk at the Milk Street Station. Her 16 year old daughter, Mary Kate Nelson, is a life guard at a public swimming pool in Quincy, MA. On May 13, 2009, she saved the life of a senior citizen who was drowning. Mary Kate, dressed in her street clothes, noticed someone on the bottom of the pool. She dived in, and pulled the women out. CPR was performed and EMTs were called in.
A Certificate of Award and a monetary prize of one thousand dollars ($1,000), is presented annually by the Boston Metro Local, commemorating the life-saving activities of our departed brother, Scott Alan Miller, and honoring individuals whose acts of heroism and rescue best exemplify Scottís skill and sacrifice.
There was another submission for this prestigious award, submitted on behalf of Boston Metro sister, Christina Fontana. As a member of the MERT (Medical Emergency Response Team), her actions helped a union brother in severe stress while at work. Christina was given Honorable Mention for her life saving efforts.
The Boston Metro Executive Board was the committee who decided not an easy task based on the heroics of both fine sisters. Congratulations to both.
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BOB BRENNAN -- A TRUE UNION SOLDIER
Brothers and Sisters,
American Postal Workers Union has provided me with the opportunity to be actively involved with thousands of issues directly related to you these past thirty years. These past few years has surely been filled with a host of emotions, both personally and professionally. I must say our great local has had our share of loss as too many brothers and sisters and their families have suffered devastating tragedy in their family. So it is once again as we deal with the sudden death of our great union brother, Bob Brennan, who served as Maintenance Craft President with distinction.
As many brothers and sisters knew, Bob was suffering with health concerns these past couple of years. Despite this fact, Bob kept working up until the day he just couldnít perform his job the way he wanted. Bob had recently submitted for disability retirement due to his health issues.
During the past few months, he was making some positive strides health wise. That is why his sudden and tragic death took everyone in his life by surprise. Bobís wonderful wife, Cindy, must carry on as a widow with three children. Cindy is one of us also as she works in the GMF on tour 2. Cindy always made sure that while at work, Bob was OK as she often had lunch in the stewardsí office with him.
Due to Bobís physical condition, Cindy would drive Bob to the GMF daily and to union meetings. A better partner Bob could never have had. Her commitment to Bob was something to be seen as she dealt with his physical ailments 24/7, and never complained - - not ever!
Let me tell the membership the measure of Bob Brennanís character. He was a man of faith to the highest order. He was also a man who loved his union and always supported the officers because, as he always said, Iím a soldier, Iíll do whatever my president wants. Bob always crossed craft lines as he knew of the importance of solidarity within our three great crafts. He spearheaded our fight with the FMLA, and always assisted his brothers and sisters in all crafts to ensure they were protected with this great law.
Safety and health were issues that Bob held near and dear to him as he was relentless in fighting management in every meeting he attended, to make damn sure the safety of his brothers and sisters was always in the forefront. His expertise in this arena was a mainstay in Boston Metroís agenda of ensuring the United States Postal Service provided a safe environment for us all, especially in the age of bio-terrorism.
Bob was a man of strong conviction in everything he did. His council was always sought by me as Director Industrial Relations and General President. Now please understand Bob was also a man who would lock horns with you if he believed he was right. Many times I found myself in heated battle with Bob on a myriad of issues. However, he never took a position that would in any way hurt his union.
We promise that Bobís many family and friends will always ensure Cindy and the family will be looked after. Cindy has always been a strong supporter of our local, and we will always be there for her just as she has been for us her entire career.
The past few years has seen the loss of family and friends at an alarming rate for me and for the membership. No matter what the circumstances may be, it is nevertheless loss that we are left to deal with.
It appears that most of the losses are brothers and sisters who left us too early, and I guess that is truly what hurts sometimes the most as we try and deal with sudden loss of a close friend or loved one. No one can tell me these types of sorrow makes us stronger; it just doesnít. The old adage, "What doesnít kill you makes you stronger", just wasnít meant for sudden deaths or any death of someone close. If anything, I believe, when one goes through this sorrow, you lose a piece of yourself - just how much depends on the individual psyche.
Bob Brennan was one of those rare individuals who was literally and figuratively larger than life! His sense of humor was up there with the best, never missing a chance to rag our Director of Industrial Relations, Paul Kilduff - - the "Yankee" fan in our midst. Bob loved to stir things up in the stewardsí office, but that is how he initiated dialogue on many union issues.
It is important that the brothers and sisters in our local know of the key contributions Brother Brennan gave to us all, and not just with union matters. He made me feel stronger with my faith as I saw how his faith was always unwavering up until he was taken from us. As Paul Kilduff says, Bob always told him God has a plan for him. We just didnít realize he was needed elsewhere so soon.
Bob Brennan was laid to rest on a warm June day just as our late great former General President, Matt Bowen, was two years earlier. Couldnít help but think of Scott Miller the day we buried Bob. I know Bobís family that is in heaven is smiling down on his family and friends, along with Matt, Scott and a host of wonderful brothers and sisters who I was lucky enough to call friends, who have gone on to their reward while we are left to try and carry on.
God Bless a wonderful husband, father, son and great union brother whose likes donít come along too often. Your brothers and sisters in the American Postal Workers Union promise to always protect Cindy and your beautiful children as we carry on with the fondest memories of a brother who truly marched to the beat of his own drum.
May God Bless a "Keeper of the Flame" for this great local -
An American Union Soldier if there ever was one!
Brother Bob Brennan, Rest in Peace.
Remembering a Good Union Brother
Brothers and Sisters,
I canít recall a year in my life that has taken so many special people from us like this year has. The recent tragic death of Brother Paul Byrne has only solidified this awful statement.
Turn back the calendar and letís take a look at Boston Metro in the í80s and í90s for it was during these crucial years whereby the union really pushed the agenda. Paul was a vital part of our growth in our "salad days". Paul was domiciled at the GMF on tour-1 where he served as steward and chief steward. However, that was not where he really showed his talent; it was as an arbitration advocate.
Many brothers and sisters know of Paulís accomplishments to fight for a better workplace for every brother and sister - all crafts in all unions. Paul was a leading arbitration advocate and the local never hesitated to call on him to arbitrate the most complex issues in our industry.
Paul was a student of the contract and had a demeanor that often disarmed management at every level. He always had a smile at work and truly enjoyed his work for American Postal Workers Union and the United States Postal Service.
Brothers and sisters, Paul Byrne was so much more than a postal worker and union officer. He was a kind and gentle son - husband - father - uncle, and all things in between. His faith was unmoving and he carried his faith in God until he drew his last breath.
Those of us in attendance at Paulís Funeral Mass could not help but be moved because of the multitude of family and friends that came to say good bye to a man who left his family and friends much too early.
Paulís wonderful wife, Betty Lou, works in the Norwood Post Office and like millions of American families, they both worked full time to provide the best possible life for their children and they succeeded to the highest order.
Ask anyone who knew Paul and they will tell you he was a man who really and truly lived his life as a Christian, always seeing the good in people, always in a positive manner. The contributions that Paul Byrne has left us are far too many to ever try to speak of. The mark of a good person, I believe, is how they are remembered in life. Paul will always be thought of in the finest terms because he did represent the good in all of us.
May God Bless Paulís soul, his dedicated and devoted wife and children and his family and friends. Paul was only in his early 50s when he was called home, and the question that is as old as humanity and will never be answered, at least not to anyoneís satisfaction, is why are people such as this fine brother taken before they are allowed to experience the entire life cycle as intended by the Lord. I know itís only selfishness that drives this concern due to the human bond that ties one and all on this crazy planet to each other.
May the Lord be with the family of Paul and Betty Lou Byrne to comfort them as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of a good and wonderful man.
Rest in Peace, Brother Byrne.
BILL HOGAN - LABOR GIANT - PASSES AWAY
Once again our local has lost one of our own. Former Area í020 Vice President, Bill Hogan, passed away a few weeks ago. Many brothers and sisters did not know that Bill was the president of the Stoughton Local in the í80s, and was the first president to merge with Boston Metro from the í020 area.
Bill was legendary in the Labor Movement throughout the State of Massachusetts. He was very involved with the State AFL-CIO. Through his leadership, many brothers and sisters have prospered whether it was in the American Postal Workers Union or many other labor unions in our City and State.
We were lucky to have such a friend and brother among us for these past decades. He was a true union brother who could always be counted on to represent everyone to the highest order. I attended many rallies and conventions with Bill and his knowledge of labor issues was virtually inexhaustible as was his friendship.
I personally gained much experience under his guidance as I learned about AFL-CIO issues and their importance to the American working family. Bill opened the door for me and many brothers and sisters in our local to the AFL-CIO. I am lucky to be on the Executive Board of the Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC). Bill also has helped me greatly with this great organization and the brothers and sisters who are affiliated with the GBLC will all miss Brother Hogan, of that I am sure!
Bill was as tough as they come as a union soldier. It didnít take much for him to lose his temper with management, and also with me, for that matter. He was a generous man in everything he did as an officer and brother. There is no doubt that many officers and stewards in our local and locals throughout our State benefitted from his knowledge of the National Agreement and labor issues in many areas. Like many brothers and sisters that have unfortunately gone before him, Brother Bill Hogan passed away many years before his time and that is what truly hurts his family and friends.
Our sorrow has no words to try and illustrate the make-up of Bill Hogan. This type of man only passes us once in a lifetime, and for the time we had with him, we are eternally grateful.
We hope that the coming weeks and months give solace and some comfort to Billís wife, Lori, and their wonderful children. Our mortality is ever present as we continue to bury one of our own much more often than should be.
Rest in Peace, Bill, and God Bless you and your family. We will never ever forget your contributions to American Postal Workers Union and the American Labor Movement.
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"OUR BROTHER IN ARMS"
This life that we live is a mystery, to be sure. Our lives are filled with raw emotions - some good, some very bad, and each and every brother and sister has had to suffer tragedies in their life. When they do occur, we do our best to carry on. With the help of our families and friends, we are able to somehow carry on, but not without paying a heavy price as our heart and soul are weighed down with profound sadness and irretrievable loss. So it is with the sudden and horrific death of our "brother in arms", Scott Miller.
Friday evening, August 25, 2006, I was at home having just had dinner, when I received the worst possible news. Our Chief Steward on tour-3 in the GMF, Bob Keough, called me and upon hearing his voice, I knew something was wrong - - very wrong. Bobís voice cracked as he told me the devastating news that our union brother and very close friend, Scott Miller, had passed away suddenly.
Upon hearing this horrible news, I became upset as I tried to come to grips with what Bobby had just said. I remember thinking that this just could not be true - not Scotty Miller - no way! My God, he was but 46 years old.
I know everyone in our local is offering their sincerest condolences and sympathies to Scottís family, especially to his great father, Jack, and his young son, Mathew.
The brothers and sisters who work in the Flat Section, where Scott was the steward, are heartbroken as they truly loved Scott as a brother. The outpouring of love for Scott was overwhelming in this section and throughout the entire local.
Our local has suffered a tragic loss of one of our own once again. Anyone who knew our brother, and there area great many in our union, knew Scott was as dedicated and passionate a man as anyone in the American Postal Workers Union ever was or ever will be!
Iím finding it quite difficult and hard to believe Iím writing about this heartbreak. After all, Scott was a wonderful union brother and very close friend. This is a stunning shock for all of us who knew and loved Scott Miller.
The day before Scott passed away, he attended our Executive Board meeting at the hall and worked his tour-3 shift that evening. There werenít any signs of health concerns for Scott. He was as strong as a rock.
Scottís young son, Mathew, was his life. Mathew meant everything to him. Scotty often took him to various union functions. Our annual Childrens Christmas Party was attended by Scott and Mathew since his son was an infant.
To my chagrin, I personally know what Mathew is going through, and what he will be confronted with in the future since his awesome Dad was taken from him while in the prime of his life. Mathewís wonderful Mom, Denise, will ensure that he is comforted and protected as he grows up, of that there is no doubt.
As our brother, Jeff Baird, said to Mathew at Scottís home the day we buried Scott, he should always remember that he has hundreds of "aunts and uncles" in the American Postal Workers Union who will always be there for him. Jeff reminded Mathew that his Dad was a hero to many of us. This brought a modest smile from our young brother. Scott Miller was a kind and loving father whose #1 concern in his life was Mathew.
Several weeks ago, Scott and I were talking about how proud Mathew was of him when he, along with brother John Ward and the assistance of the MERT, saved our mailhandler union brother John Hobanís life in the GMF. Scott was so happy that he was in a position to help save our union brother.
Life, as we all know too well, can be cruel as "tomorrow isnít promised to anyone". I guess what weighs on us all quite heavily is that there wasnít anyone with Scott at his moment of life and death to save him. The Lord knows, his Dad and family and friends would have moved Heaven and Earth to save Scott if we could.
Scottís chances for survival would no doubt have been significantly higher had he been stricken at work, solely due to the MERT which we all know he was one of its leaders. This isnít right, no matter what is said. Many of us must rely on our faith as we try to understand why our brother is no longer with his family and friends.
We first met Scott in the mid-1980s. Any one of his friends would tell you that he was as sharp as anyone. His expertise in contract matters was impressive, especially with FMLA. Scott protected countless members in all areas of our contract, whether it was in arbitration or on the workroom floor, and did so with class and integrity always. His knowledge of FMLA was unmatched as was his love for his family and friends and A.P.W.U.
Scott was also a brotherís brother, who you could count on at work and in private life. At this yearís National Convention, Scott was very active and excited with the prospect of getting the RI-399 fight to the forefront of the Convention. Scott spoke in front of thousands of clerks on this issue. He was the co-author of this resolution, along with steward and officer, David Chandler. The national unionís stance on this issue has changed dramatically due in large part to Scottís contribution to A.P.W.U.
Whenever I needed an important issue to be addressed in the grievance procedure that affected hundreds, if not thousands of members, I often went to Scott, knowing he would put forth a tremendous effort; but that was our Scott Miller.
Scott was quite often the calming influence in our local. He always seemed to mediate disputes with his art of seeing both sides of every issue. He was a gentlemanís gentleman. All of us who loved Scott are forced to carry on without him in our lives, which will be a monumental task.
Many brothers and sisters reading this story have Scott to thank for his dedication to protect them and their families. I write this story as one of many who is nursing a broken heart as we deal with the sudden departure of Brother Miller from this "Veil of Tears". I know Iím rambling a bit trying to put to writing cogent thoughts. The truth be told, our local will never be the same. Scottís family and friends were dealt the cruelest blow of all.
No longer will I have the luxury of calling my brother with a concern that I know will be handled with the utmost integrity for his union. That infectious smile he wore every day will linger on in my mindís eye forever. His union brothers who worked with Scott on tour-3 are completely at a loss. Seeing these brothers breaking down this week is a sign of how much this great brother was loved by his boys.
In closing, Scott Miller left his mark here on Earth as a guy you couldnít help but gravitate to due to his kindness and fun loving spirit. I know his long time brothers in the American Postal Workers Union donít corner the market on this heartache, however we were as close as brothers could be. His legacy will be that of a kind and loving man whose intelligence and class that guided many will live on within our hearts for time immemorial.
Scottís crowning achievment in this life was not as a unionist in America - not by a long shot. Anyone privileged to know him will say in unison. He was first a great son and a loving father to Mathew and an anchor for his wonderful family. This gentle soul will no doubt receive top priority as he enters the Gates of Heaven, and Iím sure he will be wearing an A.P.W.U. shirt and a smile bigger than the Boston GMF, where he left his mark after twenty years of protecting his brothers and sisters.
Rest in Peace, Scott. We love you!