OPINION: APWU – ‘Building Union Power’

American Postal Workers Union

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is ramping up its national organizing campaign, aiming to add 5,000 new members by July 1. This article first appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine.)

Postal worker union power, whether at the bargaining table, on the workroom floor, or on Capitol Hill, begins with each and every member. You are the foundation of our strong union!

As we celebrate the impressive victories of our new collective bargaining agreement and historic postal reform legislation, it is a great time to continue “Building Union Power!” with the APWU’s national organizing campaign.

Our local and state organizations do a good job organizing. Even though our union is forced to function under the pro-corporate “open shop” laws where some workers can unfairly reap union-won gains without belonging to the union, 80 percent of postal workers belong to the APWU. Some locals are outstanding, organizing well over 90 percent of their coworkers!

So, four out of five postal workers, just like you, understand that voluntarily belonging to the union and paying union dues translates into better wages and benefits, job security, more rights on the job, a safer workplace, and dignity and respect.

But we can do even better.

The “Building Union Power!” organizing campaign is now well underway. As we conclude the 50th anniversary year of the APWU, we have set a goal of signing up at least 5,000 new members from the current ranks of the non-members by July 1.

APWU – “Building Union Power” being 80 percent organized means 20 percent of our coworkers benefit from the collective gains of the union, without ever doing their part. This number even includes thousands of newer postal workers, former PSEs, who have been converted to career status in a positive, life-changing, union-won event!

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and non-members undermine our power and unity on every front – at the bargaining table, in the day-to-day battles on the workroom floor, and in the continuing fight to preserve and expand the public Postal Service.

You are the key to making the organizing campaign a big success. Get some membership forms from your local or state union officers or stewards (or use the online signup process) and talk to your coworkers about joining the union, getting involved, and paying their fair share.

Share how important the union is to you and the wellbeing of all postal workers – from COLA increases to COVID health & safety, from seniority and bidding rights to the right to file grievances, from no lay-off protections to career conversions.

Throughout the country, we are aiming for a “face-to-face” conversation with every non-member. You may find many non-members whom no one has talked to about joining the union and will willingly do so. With others, you will likely encounter the classic excuses: “the union didn’t win my grievance;” “I don’t like my local president or shop steward;” “why pay dues when the union has to represent me anyway;” “the union doesn’t do anything for me.”

Folks, the excuses are all bull! In their selfish act of individualism, non-members are riding our backs, too cheap to cough up a couple of bucks a day for our common cause of constantly improving the lives of postal workers and our families. Workers do better when we work together in strong solidarity, beginning with union membership.

Thanks to all of you, and the many thousands of local, state, and national union leaders and activists, our union is strong. But let’s make the APWU even stronger with a successful “Building Union Power!” campaign.

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