APWU President: It is Not My Job To Be Fair And Balanced With Anti-Labor Politicians

Ask the President

Question from APWU member

I really think that the way Burrus Update #16-2010 is written is shameful. The column, which refutes a guest editorial by Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA), is one sided. The electorate needs to be informed about what is coming out of Congress from both sides of the aisle — not just Republican bashing.

An article in Postal and Parcel reports on a bill introduced by a Democratic senator that proposes cutting Saturday deliveries and allowing the Postal Service more scope to close post offices. The article quotes Sen. Carper (DE) as saying that there is “a need for a ‘shared sacrifice’ by postal employees and customers alike to protect the service.”

Please inform the membership about the full scope of issues that are coming out of the capital from both sides of the aisle.

Balance is needed to keep neutrality in politics and work for the general good of the union membership and the viability of the Postal Service.

Thank you.

Wesley, Alaska Postal Workers Union

President Burrus:

Thank you for communicating with me and sharing your thoughts. I respect your political views and your ideas about the role of the union in the political process, but I strongly disagree.

As president of the APWU, my responsibility is not to be fair and balanced, but to align the union with legislators who promote a pro-labor, pro-postal agenda. As Rep. Issa’s editorial reveals, his agenda is extremely hostile to labor — especially postal workers. If the Republican Party takes control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 2 election, Rep. Issa will become chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and will have extensive influence over legislation affecting postal employees and the Postal Service.

As the elected president of the APWU, my responsibility is to improve conditions for postal employees. In this capacity, I am obligated to expose those who would deny workers the full opportunity to make collective demands for improved wages and conditions of employment.

I cannot — and should not — be “balanced” when it comes to politicians or parties that seek to weaken labor unions and eliminate the benefits unions provide for workers.

The APWU disagrees with several provisions of Sen. Carper’s bill — and we have shared our concerns with him; but his observations about shared sacrifice simply do not compare to the views of Rep. Issa, who voiced vehement anti-worker sentiments.

Rep. Issa identified specific benefits that our members receive from the union contract, and his belief that they should be eliminated. He urged postal management – and Congress – to demand concessions from the union, including the elimination of protection against layoffs. He also said that our members’ rights and benefits should be determined by the Postal Service’s financial condition.

It is not my intent to “bash a political party,” as you allege. Instead, I report and actively oppose the principles that many members of Rep. Issa’s party espouse. These include the elimination of Social Security and Medicare, opposition to the minimum wage, privatization of the Postal Service, and unwavering hostility toward labor unions and the right of workers to make collective demands.

If you want “balance,” I suggest you watch a circus performance; but do not look for it in my efforts on behalf of postal employees.

Oct. 28, 2010

5 thoughts on “APWU President: It is Not My Job To Be Fair And Balanced With Anti-Labor Politicians

  1. MIKE, actions speak louder than words, and his actions show this. He spends union money for what he calls “civil rights” activities, but in reality they are part of his agenda. Case in point was the money he spent busing people to support the criminals known as the Jena Six (if you don’t know who they are, look it up). He has also repeatedly has had articles published regarding civil rights. My union dues are not for him to spend where he wants to, to further his causes outside of the APWU. The money is for the sole purpose of the rights of the member of the American Postal Workers Union. No where in that title do I see “civil rights” or “Burruss’ piggy bank”!

    I can go on, but obviously, but when an uninformed moron calls me an idiot, that I don’t know what I am talking about by looking at facts and making an informed opinion, then making too many points might make that person’s head exploded.

  2. Of course Burrass is not going to be fair and balanced. He doesn’t really care about the newer membership, the ones that are counting on the USPS to still be around in 15 – 25 years. He know the last of his old co workers are gone or going to be soon, so no longer does he need to be around. All he care about is his stupid civil rights agenda, using OUR (meaning mine and yours) union dues to support criminals, and furthering his preferred political party. The man can not be fair, he always has his agenda!

    Also, take into consideration the contract negotiations going on right now. With things the way they are, he knows for a fact that there is no contract the APWU and the USPS upper echelon management. He will retire, irregardless if that is a new contract or not. He knows, and just doesn’t care.

  3. Overpaid and underworked postal employees (cannot call those that never work a worker) continually whine for more. Close at least 1/2 of all POs and begin massive layoffs.

  4. My thoughts exactly.

    We do need to try and straighten Sen. Carper out, and frankly I’m pissed at him over his bill, but he’s only one Senator; the key is which party has the majority, because with it comes control of all the committees and subcommittes, and it is in these bodies that legislation originates. Committee and subcommitte chairs have enormous influence over the legislative process, and if the Republicans regain control it will be people like Issa running the show.

    Suppot for the Postal Service and its employees used to be a bipartisan issue; we had very good friends in both parties, even among those who were quite conservative on many issues. Ted Stevens was a case in point; a solid “pro-business” conservative on most issues, he was one of the Postal Service’s best friends in Congress ( likely, at least partially, because he knew that a privatized post office woiuld be a disaster for his state, in that service would be extremely expensive or nonexistent). But radical right-wingers have almost completely taken over the Republican party, to the point that even solidly conservative members of Congress are regarded as too moderate; some of these tea party people think that W was too liberal. Lisa Murkowski has likewise been a reliable ally on postal issues, but she was defeated in the Republican primary by a total crackpot named Joe Miller, who thinks, among other things, that child labor laws are unconstitutional. Apparently this guy thinks it’s acceptable for eight-year-olds to put in 16-hour days in mills and factories, for whatever wage the market will bear (he’s dead against all minimum-wage laws as well). He is virulently anti-labor, thoroughly hostile to the very concept of unions. The Republican party has been taken over by those who share or at least sympathize with viewpoints like his – this ain’t your dad’s Republican Party, not by a long shot.

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