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.
Wesley, Alaska Postal Workers Union
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