(September 6, 2014) The four postal unions held a joint webinar on Aug. 28 for union members at the 82 sites where plants are scheduled for consolidation or closure beginning in January 2015. The occasion marked the first time the four unions have engaged in joint training at the national level. Participants included each of the unions’ local president and/or the local person responsible for organizing the fight-back, regional coordinators, as well as presidents of the state organizations where consolidations are scheduled.
The webinar was an outgrowth of the Postal Union Alliance, which was formed in March (link added by PR) by the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA). Following the creation of the alliance, the unions established a national-level work group that meets regularly to develop strategy and projects to stop the consolidations and closures.
All of the postal unions realize that if management implements the consolidations, the effect will be devastating for all of us. We are committed to work together to stop the consolidations, as well as to stop attacks on six-day delivery and door delivery, and to fight privatization of postal services.
Debby Szeredy, Executive Vice President of the APWU, Brian Renfroe, the Director of City Delivery, for the NALC, Teresa Harmon, Contract Administration Representative for the NPMHU, and David Heather, Director of Steward Operations for the NRLCA, serve on the work group and led the webinar. Jeremy Goldberg, National Field Director for the NALC, also participated.
The webinar provided a “kick-start plan” for the 82 locals facing consolidation. “We discussed many ideas about how to get members of Congress to sign-on to letters that are being circulated in the Senate and the House that would put a halt on the consolidations for at least another year,” Szeredy said.
“We also discussed the fact that the Postal Service is relying on studies that were performed several years ago to support their case for consolidation,” she said. “A lot has changed since the studies were done, so we are going to demand new studies.
“In addition, public meetings were held years ago, when the plant closures were first proposed,” Szeredy added. “We are demanding new public meetings. If management refuses to conduct meetings for the residents of the affected communities, we will organize Town Hall meetings ourselves.”
Many people don’t realize that the consolidations would eliminate overnight delivery of first-class mail, she pointed out. “We must stop the death of overnight mail delivery. We don’t have much time,” Szeredy said.
The webinar also focused on the need to form local coalitions to fight consolidation. Participating locals announced many activities they have already started.
“This webinar is just one of many plans to bring strength to our coalition movement,” Szeredy said. “Democracy means people have the right to make decisions. Building coalitions and bringing people together is the only way we will get the power to save our right to prompt, efficient and affordable mail service.
“We’ve got to take responsibility for our beliefs. We’ve got to give people hope so they will struggle and do the work it takes to save our national treasure, the U.S. Postal Service. We’re in this together!”