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American Postal Workers Union of Massachusetts
Bay State Postal Worker
 
2011 Holiday Issue
(Winter edition)


Another year is coming to an end and a lot has happened during that year. We have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Many didn't agree with our National Officers who negotiated this agreement for many reasons. But whether we liked the agreement or not we have to enforce it. Not a month after the agreement was signed; new Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe was trying to break it.

The Postal Service is in a financial crisis, but not for the reason that most people think. Yes people are mailing less and e-mailing more and the country is in a recession however The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 has placed a heavy financial burden on the Postal Service. This law forces the Postal Service to prepay future retiree’s health benefits for 75 years into the future within a 10 year period. This means that The USPS is paying for retirement benefits for future employees who may not even have been born yet. No other federal agency or private company has to do this. Contrary to popular belief, the United States Postal Service receives no tax dollars to operate. It is run solely on revenue generated by postage, products and services. It’s tough to make ends meet when you start every fiscal year over 5 billion dollars in the red due to pre-funding requirements. If not for the 5.5 billion dollar payment due at the beginning of every fiscal year the postal service would not be operating at a loss. The Service is not looking for a government bailout, just relieve from the prefunding requirement. House Resolution 1351 has been introduced by Representative Stephen Lynch which would allow the Postal Service to use the billions of dollars in pension overpayments to meet its financial obligations, including the prefunding of the health benefits for future retirees. To date 206 members of Congress have signed on to Congressman Lynch’s bill including all of the Massachusetts delegation. However Congressman Issa's bill H.R. 2309 (with only 2 co-sponsors), which would destroy the postal service has been marked up and approved by committee. This bill could come before the full house for a vote at any time. We need to keep pressure on our congressmen and women, asking them to oppose this bill.

The word needs to get out not only to our members and their families, but to the public. It is going to take more that union activists to keep the Postal Service as a viable organization. We need to let the American People know what is really happening to their Postal Service because not everything that they are hearing in the news is accurate. The Postal Service is conducting studies on the feasibility of closing 43 post offices and 7 mail processing facilities in Massachusetts and many more across the country. I was very happy to see all of the postal unions join together on September 27th to show solidarity and we need to let the American People know what is really happening to their Postal Service because not everything that they are hearing in the news is accurate. The Postal Service is conducting studies on the feasibility of closing 43 post offices and 7 mail processing facilities in Massachusetts and many more across the country. I was very happy to see all of the postal unions join together on September 27th and participate in rallies that were held all over America for this purpose.

We need to let the American People know what is really happening to their Postal Service because not everything that they are hearing in the news is accurate. The Postal Service is conducting studies on the feasibility of closing 43 post offices and 7 mail processing facilities in Massachusetts and many more across the country. I was very happy to see all of the postal unions join together on September 27th and participate in rallies that were held all over America for this purpose.

We need to let the American People know what is really happening to their Postal Service because not everything that they are hearing in the news is accurate. The Postal Service is conducting studies on the feasibility of closing 43 post offices and 7 mail processing facilities in Massachusetts and many more across the country. I was very happy to see all of the postal unions join together on September 27th and participate in rallies that were held all over America for this purpose.

We need to let the American People know what is really happening to their Postal Service because not everything that they are hearing in the news is accurate. The Postal Service is conducting studies on the feasibility of closing 43 post offices and 7 mail processing facilities in Massachusetts and many more across the country. I was very happy to see all of the postal unions join together on September 27th and participate in rallies that were held all over America for this purpose.

Millions of Americans depend on the Postal Service to receive information, pay bills, and get medication and checks. Not every American has a computer or Internet access. Rural America depends on the Post office to deliver goods and supplies.

The Postal Service is the highest rated and most trusted federal agency. Postal employees work every day to ensure the timely delivery of the mail. If the Postal Service were to be dismantled and privatized, postage prices would soar and any Tom, Dick or Harry would be delivering your bills, packages, check and medication with no accountability. Would you trust your mail delivery to just anyone? You shouldn’t have to.

The holidays are fast approaching and I would like to wish all of you and your families a safe and happy holiday season.

Lorraine Sawyer, President

 

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Vice-President’s Report

By

Mike McDonald

 

Season’s Greetings

With the New Year fast upon us, I would like to wish our members and their families a Happy Holiday Season and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

A Look Back on 2011

This past year presented many challenges to those of us in the APWU.   Most of this pain stems from a manufactured financial crisis.  A phony crisis created by the outgoing republican Congress back in 2006.  By design and directly related to the pre-funding requirements found in the Postal Enhancement Accountability Act (PAEA) of 2006, we’ve had to endure numerous threats to our careers; threats that include wholesale excessing, station closings, plant consolidations and anti-labor legislation focusing on our no lay-off clause and our right to exist as an organization.

If not for the PAEA it’s estimated that in FY 2011, the Postal Service would’ve operated in the Black to the tune of 300-400 million, even in the midst of the current economic downturn.  But, if there was no crisis, there’d be no justification for the proposed cuts to service and the insistence on “give-backs” from postal workers.  

Elections have consequences!  Right now postal workers are paying the price for the actions of the republican controlled House of Representatives back in 2004.

New Contract

During 2011, we also ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  This agreement introduced many changes to our existing work rules.  Some of these changes were un-thinkable just a few years ago, but necessary for our survival today.  Once again we can thank the PAEA. 

Perhaps this season presents an opportunity for reflection.  While we’ve certainly undergone a rough year we should remember that many of our neighbors have had it much tougher.  Through no fault of their own many cannot find employment and some are running out of unemployment insurance.  For my continued employment, I thank the APWU. 

 

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Crazy Days

Bob Dempsey - Editor



We’ve surely entered into a period of uncertainty for the future of the Postal Service. Every day we read about new legislation being introduced to "save" the Postal Service. Unfortunately, most of these plans are designed to dismantle and destroy the Postal Service as we now know it.

The recent introduction of the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) sponsored by Senators Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Scott Brown (R-MA) is a quick fix that in short, provides some "Short-Term Relief" but "Long-Term Damage".

Although this legislation is less destructive than the house bill (H.R. 2309) that is being pushed by Representative Darrell Issa, it’s still just another plan designed to dismantle and destroy us.

In the meantime, Postal management has entered into "survival mode" and they think they can just go on their merry way into destroying our Postal Service by liquidating assets by closing Post Offices and plants. They now want to change the delivery standards by delaying the mail to accomplish their goals.

It has been nonstop trying to deal with this insanity being dealt our way by the Postal Service in these crazy days of Postal "survival mode". I’m really starting to get nervous about our futures and whether or not we’ll have a Postal Service ten years from now. Seems like many of our legislators want to create "private sector" jobs at our expense and continue attacking working families.

These crazy days had us attending community input meetings for Post Offices management is looking to close in the Boston area. The really scary part of these closing proposals is that all of these Post Offices are generating a PROFIT. None of these Post Offices are losing money but management believes they can transfer the business by inconveniencing the customers and forcing them to use other locations. It has been pointed out by many customers at these meetings that if the Postal Service closes their location they will probably switch their business to either UPS or FedEx rather than be forced into going to another location.


I hope the Postal Service is listening to the customers who are making it quite clear – they love their Post Office and the clerks who service them!! Unfortunately, I believe these community input meetings are only a "dog and pony show" for some of these offices, and their comments are falling on deaf ears. No one in attendance at these meetings can understand that if these Post Offices are making money why is the Postal Service hell bent on inconveniencing the customers by trying to force them into using other locations.


The saddest part is when someone in the community raises their concern about handicap parking or accessibility at other locations and management starts slinging their BS. I was reading a story about another Post Office closure in Minnesota that contained the following: "One more thing: Think the Postal Service is worried about people with disabilities? The mayor of Clements is wheelchair bound.

The city clerk said that "the entire process was not handled very well," and she hopes the Postal Service has learned something so other communities don’t have to experience what Clements did. Don’t count on it. We’re going to be reading this story over and over and over again."


I thought this story was timely since we’re seeing this lack of concern and compassion firsthand on behalf of management for handicap parking or accessibility at these community input meetings here. If the customers only knew how management treated their employees who get injured on the job, they would soon come to the realization that postal management simply doesn’t care.


We recently returned from our All Craft Conference at which I submitted the following two resolutions of behalf of Boston Metro:

 

1. **    NTFT MOU Q&A    **

WHEREAS, the following question and answer appeared on the National website (
www.APWU.org) on April 28, 2011:


"Question: Could new Non-Traditional Full-Time jobs be scheduled six days a week?


Answer: Clerk Craft NTFT assignments could be created as six-day assignments where necessary to create a desirable duty assignment for employees to bid (for example, at a small Post Office that is open six days per week). This type of schedule would not be permitted in a mail processing operation or in any installation that has 200 man-years or more of employment.


The local union would have the opportunity to work with local management to assure that full-time assignments are maximized while at the same time protecting the desirability of the assignments which are posted.


No current Full-Time Regular employee can ever be involuntarily assigned to a posted duty assignment of six work days."

WHEREAS, this Q&A was released during the ratification process to alleviate concerns over NTFT duty assignments and was used by many to help decide which way they were going to cast their vote.


WHEREAS, this Q&A has yet to be incorporated in any of the mutually agreed to release of Q&A’s that have been received by the field.


WHEREAS, management has already "tipped their hand" with their intent to create six day schedules in installations that has 200 man-years or more of employment.


RESOLVED, This Clerk Craft Conference go on record that this question & answer (above) needs to be included in a future (updated) release of mutually agreed to set of Q&A’s/JCIM to be used by the field ASAP.


Be It Further RESOLVED, If the Q&A/JCIM (resolve) above cannot be accomplished the APWU file a Step 4 dispute on this issue.

2.**   Stamp Stock    **

WHEREAS, The Postal Service has consolidated Accountable Paper sites making it more difficult for stamp replenishments by eliminating the ease of access to "emergency orders".

WHEREAS, The Postal Service has instituted a computer program that controls/"forecasts" what a station can carry as inventory and also controls the amount of stock allowed on the floor (screenline).

WHEREAS, most stamps these days are "Forever" stamps and the only cost to the Postal Service for carrying more stock is the cost of printing the stamps.

WHEREAS, these newly implemented consolidations and computer program have resulted in many Sales and Service Associates/Window Clerks to be embarrassed, ridiculed and verbally abused for having to explain they don’t have stamps to sell to frustrated customers is inexcusable.


WHEREAS, the Postal Service is currently using declining revenue for their closing proposals, whether it is by design or not, this flawed computer program is subjecting our clerks to unnecessary customer abuse and should not be tolerated.

RESOLVED, This Clerk Craft Conference go on record that the Clerk Craft Officers meet with Postal Management to adjust this computer program to ensure that Sales and Service Associates/Window Clerks have sufficient stock on hand so clerks never have to be subjected to embarrassment, ridicule and verbal abuse for not having stamps to sell ASAP.


I’m happy to report that both resolutions were passed unanimously by the Clerk Craft Conference. The first resolution has resulted in an "Initiate National Dispute" (Step 4) on October 18, 2011, concerning the six day work weeks.


The struggle is crazy these days so stay informed and get involved because our futures depend upon it.


In conclusion, since this is actually our Holiday issue, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year !!

 

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Congress Broke It…Only Congress Can Fix It – Pass HR 1351 Now

John H. Dirzius, Northeast Regional Coordinator

 

   “I’m mad as hell and I’m 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 can’t 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 that’s 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 that’s 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 you’re a multi-millionaire Congressman named Issa.

   All of these proposals and ways to fix the USPS financial problems are in response to the Postal Service’s 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 ain’t 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

   Here’s 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…that’s 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. It’s 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. That’s 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 – the pre-fund issue.

   This bill, the “USPS Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011,” would correct the overfunding of the Postal Service’s 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 OPM’s 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 won’t have to take it any more!

Tell Congress to pass HR 1351 now!




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N.E. Convention Book Articles
APWU of Massachusetts
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
Representing Postal Workers throughout the State of Massachusetts
The Cape Cod Area Local 6005 would like to welcome all the Brothers and Sisters of the American Postal Workers Union to the second New England Multi State Convention.
Well Brothers and Sisters spring has finally come and the warmer temperatures are slowly moving in. It’s the season to open up those windows and let that fresh New England air in. I can honestly say spring is truly the best time of year. Especially after a cold and long winter season, it’s nice to see that everything is coming back to life. The green grass, budding trees, and all the colors, smells and sounds from Mother Nature. It truly makes you feel alive and gives us all a purpose. Okay enough of my rambling for now. I just wanted to welcome everyone to the convention and please enjoy your stay.
These conventions are an opportunity to discuss issues and to see what is happening in and around other states. Also it’s the perfect time to pick the brains of our National Officers, Business Agents, State and Local Presidents. Get the answers to those unanswered question you have been seeking. At this point the Cape Cod Area Local 6005 would like to extend our thanks to President Guffy and his team in the securing of a tentative agreement.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about the new contract. Some positive and some negative, but overall the good outweighs the bad. Take a look across America; we face excessing, Discontinuations, Consolidations, DUO’s, AMP Studies, Function 4 audits and of course management. These issues are in everyone’s back yard so we have to continue our fight. This contract or a contract from interest arbitration would have not stopped management from playing their games. This contract gives us a new direction and a new tool kit to slow them down. Take a look around your office; has anything changed in the past few years? I bet your answer is yes. If you can honestly say no, we all need to know how through these tough economic times no one has been impacted one way or another. The bottom line, let’s stop fighting with each other and focus on how we can stop management. Let’s read the new contract and start creatively thinking how we can put it to good use.
“We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before, and it has changed for the better; so I trust it will again. If difficulties arise, we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times”.
- George WashingtonAlways In Union Solidarity,
Steven Curreri
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
President
Cape Cod Area Local 6005

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APWU of Massachusetts
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
Representing Postal Workers throughout the State of Massachusetts
Brothers and Sisters,
Welcome to Loon Mountain, our 2nd Annual Multi-State Convention and the 40th Annual APWU of Massachusetts State Convention. Last year our goal of a New England State Convention was almost realized, when the Rhode Island State APWU stepped up to the plate and offered to host the event in Newport, RI along with Boston Metro Area Local.Five of the six New England States participated.I realize that State Constitutions need to be changed in regards to having a “State” Convention in a different state as well as other constitutional language on how each state holds conventions, training seminars and elections but it is my hope that one day in the near future that all six New England States fully participate in this venture.This year’s convention is being hosted by the New Hampshire State APWU and the Cape Cod Area Local from Massachusetts. I would like to thank New Hampshire State President, Dana Coletti for his dedication and hard work in bringing this year’s convention to fruition. I hope everyone takes a little time to enjoy some of the beautiful sites in New Hampshire before or after we conduct the business of the union.I would also like to say thank you to the Cape Cod Area Local, the host local from Massachusetts for all they are doing to make this convention a success.The New England State Convention or Multi-State Convention as it has since been coined (until all six states are on board) was well attended by delegates and National Officers. Now retired President Bill Burrus addressed the delegates during the general session and was available to converse with members during the remainder of the day.As of this date, Rob Strunk, National Clerk Craft Director, Steve Raymer, National Maintenance Craft Director and Bob Pritchard, National Motor Vehicles Craft Director and John Dirzuis, Northeast Area Regional Coordinator have accepted our invitation to address the delegation. All of our New England National Business Agents will be in attendance. They will be providing the training on Friday. Steve Albanese will be there to discuss Legislative issues. I am still hoping that President Guffey will make an appearance to talk to us about the Tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement that has been negotiated on our behalf. I attended the briefing that was held in New York last week.Rep Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced a full hearing on the USPS pay and benefits on April 5th. The Committee expects to hear from the Postal Service on their tentative agreement with the union. Rep. Dennis Ross, chairman of the Postal Service Subcommittee, expressed serious concerns about postal service pay. President Guffey defended the union’s tentative agreement for a new contract. In light of the happening in Wisconsin and other states, it appears that the republican congress is attacking our right to collective bargaining, the rights that those who came before us fought so hard to achieve, the rights that most of us have always taken for granted and even considered entitlement. Our next battle will not only take place on the workroom floor but also in the halls of congress. We need to get our elected officials to listen to us and vote with organized labor or vote them out of office. We need to get President Obama to appoint democrats to the PRC. Call, fax, and email your Congressional Representatives! Urge them to have their White House liaison representative urge President Obama to name a Democrat to the PRC immediately!There is strength in numbers. The struggle continues. We must never give up the fight.Lorraine Sawyer, presidentAPWU of Ma

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APWU of Massachusetts
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
Representing Postal Workers throughout the State of Massachusetts
Welcome Delegates!On behalf of the members of the Massachusetts APWU, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to delegates and guests attending the second annual New England Multi-State Convention at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH.We have many issues to discuss during this assembly, most notably, the tentative agreement reached on March 16, 2011. Fortunately, many of our negotiating team will be in attendance this weekend, providing our delegates the chance to discuss the tentative agreement and the transformative prospects it presents our membership and our organization.However, while focusing on the issues we have at hand, we must be ever so mindful of the viscous attacks currently being waged against the Labor Movement in numerous states throughout our nation. Such actions make it clear that we can no longer afford to behave with an ill conceived logic (Bubble Mentality) that tells us we will be insulated from the same assaults “other” public employees are facing at the state level right now.Most are familiar with the antics of Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker and his Republican controlled legislature, but Anti-Labor attacks are also occurring in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, right here in New Hampshire and Maine too.In New Hampshire, the Republican controlled legislature is employing the same game plans as Walker and the other conservatives by attaching anti-collective bargaining amendments to their state’s financial budget. Representative Neal Kurk (R-Weare) offered the amendments and the NH House Finance Committee adopted language that would suspend collective bargaining rights for public sector employees when their contracts expire. In Maine, Republican Governor LePage has stooped so low as to order the removal of an acclaimed mural depicting worker struggles from the state’s Department of Labor building. Why? Apparently one Maine businessman found the mural distasteful and “un-friendly” to business. Mind you, the mural wasn’t in the lobby of Maine’s Department of Commerce, it was in the lobby of the Department of Labor.These attacks are not random! Rather, they reveal a sinister strategy by conservatives to strip away public sector employees’ right to collective bargaining at the state level. And they won’t stop there! In late March, US Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) told ThinkProgress that he, “doesn’t believe collective bargaining has any place ingovernment… including at the federal level.” First the state workers, then it’s us! If ever there was a time for this organization to ramp up its legislative agenda-- it’s now!With everything facing the Labor Movement right now this weekend should be a busy gathering. It’s my hope that all of our delegates and their guests have a productive and enjoyable weekend.In Unity,Mike McDonaldVice-PresidentAPWU of Massachusetts
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APWU of Massachusetts
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
Representing Postal Workers throughout the State of Massachusetts
On behalf of the Clerk Craft, and the APWU of Massachusetts I would like to welcome all delegates and guests to Lincoln New Hampshire for the 40th Annual APWU of MA State Convention and the 2nd Annual New England States Convention. First and foremost I would like to thank Dana Coletti and the APWU of New Hampshire for hosting what I’m sure will be a productive convention as well as an enjoyable weekend. As I am writing this we are in the midst of sorting through the details of the tentative agreement and there is heated debate both pro and con. As we assemble we are about two weeks away from finding out whether or not we have a new contract and regardless of the outcome we must remain united because the enemy is knocking at the door. It is important that we remember that the Postal Service is not our enemy, our enemy is those who would destroy the Postal Service and those who wish to quash the rights of public sector employees to bargain collectively, and they are one in the same and we call them Republicans. We have Republican Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio stripping collective bargaining rights from state & municipal employees, we have Congressmen Dennis Ross saying things like “there is no constitutional basis for collective bargaining rights or unionization” and “public sector unions must go”. We have Senator Jim DeMint saying “ I don’t believe collective bargaining has any place in government” we have Senator Rand Paul pushing a “National Right to Work Act”, and we have a big freakin’ problem if these Tea Party hacks gain more power in the 2012 election, or god forbid they take over the Senate and the White House. Our number one priority has to be keeping the democrats in control of the Senate. Keeping Obama in the White House and putting the house back in the hands of the democrats and we all have to be involved in this fight. Writing a check to COPA is nice and it’s something everyone should do but we need to get off our asses and help put our candidates back in office and help more pro-labor candidates get elected and that means holding signs, making phone calls, writing letters, helping with literature drops and whatever else you can do, but you have to do something your job does depend on it. In closing I would again like to welcome you all to Loon Mountain for a great weekend. In Solidarity. John FlatteryClerk Craft DirectorAPWU of MA


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2010 Holiday Issue
(Winter edition)

(Click here to read the issue)

______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________


-- LAST REPORT --


I am writing to you as an officer for the last time, due to my retirement on October 1st. It has been a great trip, and I’m sorry to see this chapter of my life come to a close. I’m not able to continue working for the service, and I feel I would be doing you a disservice to continue to represent workers and not be on the workroom floor. I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to serve this organization for nearly 20 years. My involvement with the union has been the most satisfying part of my postal career. It has provided opportunities far beyond my expectations.

Thanks to you, the rank and file members, I have worked with the AFL/CIO on the local, state, and national levels. I have met the leadership of many international labor organizations. I have also met many political leaders. I’ve had the opportunity to shake hands with Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry. I’ve known governors and mayors. I’ve met with our entire congressional delegation, many of them in their offices in the nation’s capitol. I owe all of this, plus good wages, good working conditions, and a no lay/off clause that is the envy of every labor union in this country to the APWU.


While I leave with mixed emotions, I feel I have accomplished most of my goals as a local and state officer. I couldn’t have achieved most of our goals without the assistance and leadership of so many of you. Those responsible for any successes are too numerous to mention by name, but you all have my heartfelt thanks. I do have to thank my good friend and mentor Frank Rigiero, who has been a great advisor and sounding board, and my local president John Flattery, who has given me the support and latitude to function in the political arena. I also have to thank our retired state secretary/treasurer Ken Fitzpatrick for his service and advice through the years, and our current secretary/treasurer for filling the void. Brian Witman has done an outstanding job since accepting the position, and I certainly owe him
a debt of gratitude.


I could write volumes about our executive vice-president, Lorraine Sawyer. She is the glue that holds the APWU of MA together. She has played an enormous role in bringing about the successful New England States Convention in Newport R.I., and an even bigger role in next year’s combined convention in New Hampshire. I truly believe that asking Lorraine to serve as my partner in this great organization was the best decision I’ve made as state president, and I’m confident that
I leave the organization in good hands.


Again, thank you all so much for the friendship, camaraderie, and the opportunity to serve.


In Solidarity,
Art MacNeil


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2010 New England State Convention
[click here for the Convention Book]

President Burrus accepts invitation to the 2010 New England State Convention

[click here for the letter]


 
Holiday Issue (winter edition)


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Previous articles


President's Report (August 2009)

Dear APWU Sisters and Brothers,

 
I hope you are all having a great summer, but I guess that’s a little
silly on my part. Given the lousy weather and the lousy management
we’ve had to contend with, I seriously doubt anyone is really having a great summer.
 
 They are hell bent on destroying the best postal service
in the world, and they seem so proud to be tearing down the service we
all helped to build. Actually, before it became their goal to
privatize the postal service, some of those people on the dark side
(management) wanted us to be successful.

 The real goal of the postal service used to be to deliver to every
home, every day. To provide a service to the American people that has
been unequaled by any other entity. No other government agency has
earned the degree of trust, reliability, honesty, confidentiality and
 integrity that the postal service has garnered in over 200 years of
service to our country. Not for profit, my good brothers and sisters.
Not for glory. Just a real belief that we service every home in
 America, every single day.

 The Postal Service is doing a disservice to our entire country. Making
customers stand in long lines while refusing to staff our windows
properly, removing thousands of collection boxes from service, and
encouraging our customers to go elsewhere is no way to strengthen our
position in the real world of delivery service. Cutting hours and
closing stations and branches do not increase revenue. Cutting a day
of delivery service won’t get us much customer support .When was the
last time you heard of a store deciding to open later, close earlier,
and reduce sales people in order to build their business? We need to
continue to make the public see what is happening to their postal
service. It is only with their participation that we can prevail.

 I was very disappointed with a recent statement by President Obama
concerning the post office, and talking about private businesses being
better able to compete in the marketplace. Sure, anyone can make a
buck by doing inter-city and intra state carriage of first class mail.
But let’s see them deliver to Death Valley, California, from Peaks
Island in Portland Maine for the same low price of forty four cents,
and forward it to Hartford Connecticut at no additional charge. I
don’t think the president meant to be harsh, but I do think he went
for a cheap laugh at our expense. And he wasn’t really wrong. However,
he should point the finger at postal management, who are the real
culprits here. You just can’t continue to give the private sector
mailers the deep discounts that exceed the savings they are supposed
to create. If it saves a penny, and costs a dime, we lose nine cents.
And that creates a glut of minimum wage jobs that do absolutely
nothing to strengthen the economy. The postal service management
continues to cut decent living wage jobs to the detriment of every
community they used to service so well. When people lose these jobs,
they no longer contribute to their local merchants, restaurants, or Mom & Pop stores. The Postal Service is doing a disservice to our entire country.

 How soon the politicians who were singing our praises for continuing to work through the anthrax crisis, have forgotten. Somehow, on a very
small scale, I can relate better to our veterans in homeless shelters.
To our vets who seek medical and psychiatric help from those whom they
have served so well. Let’s help those politicians who have such
convenient memory loss as to who helped elect them to do the right
thing remember who we are, and what we’ve done. We now need them to
help save our service. And let us not forget Moe Biller, the late dean
 of the American Labor Movement, who said it so well. “THE STRUGGLE
 CONTINUES”

In Solidarity,
 Art MacNeil



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Legislative Directors Report…By Don Sheehan

CALLING THEIR BLUFF

   Status quo is probably the most powerful force in Washington. Status quo always seems to benefit large industries like the insurance industry and it is quite obvious that dollars chase influence in the recent health care debate. Influence peddling is now going on in every Congressional office.  Key lawmakers have seen a surge in campaign donations over the last three or four months. Drug makers, doctors, insurers and hospitals have opened their wallets, spending more than $1 million a day to buy a voice in the political battle over what could be the broadest revamp of healthcare laws in decades.  

Insurance companies and related groups topped all spending on federal lobbying in the second quarter of the year, forking over a total of $133 million in April, May and June to push their agenda with Congress. The reason for spending millions of dollars and sending armies of lobbyists to influence the debate with lawmakers is that proposed health care legislation would dramatically change the way they do business. Money provides access and access is the name of the game in Washington. Money gets you a seat at the table to make suggestions and try to eliminate things you don't like in a piece of legislation.

At the beginning of the health care debate it was hoped that lawmakers could come up with legislation that would rein in costs, improve care and expand coverage to most of the 46 million uninsured Americans. The lobbyists for the insurance companies have worked very hard to keep the status quo going. Because of buying influence, the health care lobbies have many Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress crying out against a publicly funded health care option. Yep, believe it or not, some legislators have been bought. These legislators are not even for a modified piece of public health care legislation; they have been bought off to vote against any type of publicly funded health care legislation! 

Hmmm, lets see, they are against any type of publicly funded health care initiative. Really? You're against government-funded health care? Want to go on the record with that position? Care to vote to kill Medicare? That’s right…kill Medicare!

In case you missed it, I wanted to share a GREAT “put up or shut up” legislative move used by a Congressman from New York. Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York decided to force everyone in Congress to think about what life would be like without a very popular, already existing, publicly funded health insurance plan. 

Congressman Weiner introduced an amendment in late July that would eliminate Medicare. Yes, eliminate Medicare. Of course, Congressman Weiner didn't actually want Medicare to be eliminated but he did want to force every conservative Republican and Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to have to go on the record with their position on the government-run health plan upon which 43 million American voters rely. The fact of the matter is that government administered health care works pretty damn well (Medicare, Veterans Administration, Military Health Care etc.). It's got lower overhead and people like it.

When Republican and conservative Democrat members of Congress pounded the drum and the podium about how they hate government-run health care, Congressman Weiner called their bluff and introduced the amendment on the 44th anniversary of the creation of Medicare (its called irony). The amendment got zero votes. I tip my hat to the Congressman from New York for calling their bluff. Although symbolic and meant to prove a point, it was one of the sharpest legislative moves I’ve ever seen and exposed them ALL for what they are…(you can fill in the blank)!