In an article that appeared in the March/April 2007 issue of The American Postal Worker Magazine, National President William Burrus stated that despite successes, nothing that the APWU has done has significantly reduced the unacceptable high percentage of workers who continue to receive the benefits of union efforts but refuse to join the organization. He also stated that one solution would be to make non-members pay their fare share . Burrus stated further:
But because 21 states have laws banning agency shops, postal unions and the U.S. Postal Service — which employs workers in every state — are prohibited from negotiating such an agreement.
These prohibitions against charging fees to non–members or denying them our services require that we try to find other ways to get them to pay their fair share. It is morally wrong for postal employees or workers in any industry to receive all of the benefits of union activity without contributing to the cost of representation.
I have not surrendered to the view that “free-riders” have an inalienable right to receive union services, and I intend to continue our efforts at outreach, to continue to try to convince non-members to voluntarily make a fair contribution.
President Burrus made a solemn pledge that if there is a way to require that non-members share in the financial burden of improving condition for postal employees, he would find it.
In December 2003, Fredric Jacobs, President of the Oakland (California) Local APWU # 78, believed he had found a way for non-members to pay their “fare share.” During an invitation-only gathering in Oakland, President Jacobs received a commitment from Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) to sponsor a bill that would require Postal Service bargaining unit employees to pay fare-share fees negotiated by the unions .
In March 2004, President Jacobs submitted a proposed bill for Congresswoman Lee to sponsor.
According to a letter written to Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Ca), the Oakland CA. APWU Local #78 is requesting that she sponsor a bill, “to provide negotiated fees to labor organizations that represent Postal Service employees.” Oakland Local President Fred Jacobs said, “No other bargaining unit employees in the country receive the kind of free ride non-union members in the Postal Service have been enjoying.” Jacobs added that “this is the kind of measure Republicans should love : it’s about paying your way and not getting something for nothing. (via PostalReporter.com March 19,2004)
However, according to the April 2004 edition of the Oakland Postal Worker newspaper, Ms. Lee’s office could not sponsor the bill without approval from National APWU.
Perhaps now is a good time for Mr. Jacobs to make a second request to Ms. Lee to sponsor this bill.
Related link: Divided and On the Fast Track to Being Conquered – We Are Our Own Worst Enemies