APWU President Vows to End Non-Union Members “Free Ride”

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.

Read full article from President  Burrus

Related link: Divided and On the Fast Track to Being Conquered – We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

19 thoughts on “APWU President Vows to End Non-Union Members “Free Ride”

  1. I have called Rolandos office at Washington, D.C. and he could care less about the lack of support that our union shows its members. In fact the secretary told me to file a grievance with the union who doesn’t want to support us for not supporting us and then hung up on me. That is really good representation. They could care less if they lose members.

  2. I joined the postal service in 1991 as a PTF letter carrier and could not wait until I could join the union. I actually had to hound the steward to get me the forms after my probationary period was up to join. He soon resigned and I took the job as steward and kept it for 15 years, at which time I transferred to a differant town to work. All of this time I was a a PTF and still am. I won more grievances than I lost and never took a back seat to managment. I got our office to merge with the local in St. Louis, MO because I figured bigger is better and in those days they had a reputation for getting things done. When I transferred to the next town, a friend had also gotten that office to merge with the union in St.Louis. In the last 5 years they have basically sold out to management in my opinion. We have members who have dropped out due to the lack of support from them and I dropped out last month for the same reason.They want our dues, but they don’t want our problems. They like having our money to go to the conventions, but I have only seen them come to this office 1 time in the three years I have been here. We are about 100 miles from the office in St. Louis, but for the 15 years that I was shop steward, I hardly ever missed a shop stewards meating in St. Louis. Now they consider me a scab and do not want to represent me. They are about to lose at least two more members for lack of support, but that really doesn’t concern them at all, in fact I think they want us out of their union. They will not get one more dime from me and I will be encouraging members who are not satisfied to drop them as well.

  3. I always hear about how the union negotiated a particular benefit for their members.

    Why then can’t the non-members get a different benefit?

    The union negotiated a 3% wage increase for it’s members and a 0% increase for it’s non members?

  4. Why is it that everytime the union finds itself in trouble it is always the fault of the non-union worker. I for one do not complain about the union because I have found out that no one really cares, neither non-union employees , union employees or the APWU in whole. The APWU never knew I was a member until the day I withdrew from the union. There are many reasons why people leave unions but unions don’t want to hear them because in their eyes they are doing the best job they can. All it takes is a handfull of local union officials to make decisions on their own, without regard for what the union members want, to start a withdraw movement. Maybe the union needs to have a fact finding group of its own within each local union office and visit the employees to find out why they refuse to join the union. Then take your facts and sit down with the National union to determine what they can do to make changes and encourage the non-member employees to join instead of threating them with fines, fees and foolishness.

  5. Many of craft employees, who don’t pay union due are all “good” employees. They believed that:
    1. Union screws up the business.
    2. Union protect the bad employees.
    3. Union used the member money for private use.

    Why employees still not happy when they are making a good salary. Union keep screwing up the work environment.

  6. This is to linda Contact the National Labor Relations Board which is part of the U.S. Dept. of Labor to file a UUP(Unfair Union Practice) against the Union and the represenative.

  7. does anyone know how i go about filing charges for non representation… i am a union member…

  8. Of those of you complaining, how many of you have taken it upon yourself to run for an office?
    I find a lot of times that members complain and quit, instead of standing up and taking some initiative.
    Unfortunately, a majority of the membership is apathetic. When an issue doesn’t involve them directly, it isn’t important. When an issue revolves around them, it is the most important thing in the world.
    As a Local officer, every issue must be addressed with equal intensity. If your local isn’t doing this, then it’s time for you, as members, to step up, take the reigns, and show the non-members why they need a Union.


  9. Mr. Burrus maybe needs to find out why craft employees have left or refuse to join the Union. Maybe he needs to look at his representation and find out why they fail as Stewards.

  10. I agree with your President.
    What reasons do people have for going to work at the Post Office if they are so sure they could do better elsewhere or without the representation?
    I am so tired of the hypocrites who bash their union, never show up at meetings and bring everyone else into their selfish-hate-think
    Please go find a non Union job so that someone else who cares about the future of middle class jobs in America will have a good stable job.
    I hear wal-Mart is hiring and you will probably never have to worry about Union dues there!!
    Hurry up and go would ya???
    big whiney cheapskates that you are!
    If you are so full of principle…put your money where your mouth is.!

  11. Would you let someone walk in your door and take food out of your kid’s mouth?? That’s what SCABBAZZ do. Make our dues go up and fracture our SOLIDARITY>

  12. i’m not a member heres why,as i was told:-
    our local rep (clerk) went to a union meeting,they disscussed clerk topics first,then they went on to other crafts,as soon as the clerk disscusson was over,she was heard saying “THATS ALL THE INFORMATION I NEED” they got up and left.for that i thank her that i’am not a member of a self oriented back patting organisation.

  13. Burass must need some more new suits and new car so he can park closer to the PO than the handicap people.

  14. try providing better representation. you have alot of officers who just take the position but do not know any thing or want to do the job

  15. “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…”

    Why is there a high percentage of non-union members? All the rhetoric in the world will not explain away the problems with ‘our’ union, the APWU. At my local level there is a great deal of disillusionment and discontent with our local officers. At one time there was even a petition circulated to decertify the local APWU and ask another union to represent us here at the local level. And for good reason. Our local officers are, for the most part, a pack of shiftless bums. The local members are completely apathetic, averaging only 12 members per meeting, with nine of them E-Board members. That’s right, only three members per meeting, not counting the E-Board, and that’s the way they like it!! Until the national officers wake up and realize that what happens at the LOCAL level directly affects someone’s loyalty to the NATIONAL organization, then there will continue to be more and more non-members. I once personally spoke with past national Secretary-Treasurer Bob Tunstall and found him to be completely out of touch with the average member. He stated “We here at the national level allow our local officers to cut a wide swath in their everyday doings, etc.”

    Well, OK, Bob, then go ahead and ignore or cover up incompetence and immoral behavior, and watch the membership dwindle. I guess that’s easier than actually doing something about it. You national officers live in a dream world where you’re always right, What a laugh.

    Most of the non-members I have spoken to have left the union for what they felt were very good reasons, most often centered here at the local level. Solve the local problems, you solve the national problems. Until then, keep spitting into the wind.

  16. If Scabs have the right to be leaches then we Must have the right to choose to represent them.

  17. I agree with President William Burrus it`s time to stop the free loaders who enjoy the benifits from the APWU hard work.

  18. He may have bought some cheap dems, but their 1st loyalty is to the good old boys- aint gonna happen. He is worried now as the number of ‘FORMER MEMBERS’ grows by leaps and bounds. Cannot even buy them with crappy health care. LOL!!!!!!

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