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68% National Membership Is an Embarrassment
By Dee Perez
NAPS New York Area Vice President
It’s time for an honest conversation. Our national membership has been hovering around 70% for decades; it’s now at an unacceptable 68%. The unions are closer to 100% membership as we struggle with 68%.
This tells me there’s something fundamentally wrong with how we recruit nonmembers and why EAS employees don’t want to join NAPS. I can’t accept that 32% of nonmembers don’t belong to any postal association. The question is what percentage are members of the other postal management association?
Everyone needs to remind their nonmembers the other association sided with the Postal Service against NAPS in our lawsuit for fair wages. NAPS now needs to decide—if we are successful in pursuing this lawsuit—can we reward only 68% of our membership?
Branch presidents must reduce their nonmember rolls. Perhaps part of the problem is branches not having enough membership meetings when members can attend, such as a Sunday brunch. According to our NAPS Constitution & Bylaws, branches are obligated to have only two meetings a year.
I’ve heard all the excuses why nonmembers do not want to be in NAPS, including EAS employees delivering mail or their area is too large. The other association doesn’t seem to have a problem traveling to see nonmembers, then signing them.
So why should you?
If you are delivering mail, it’s because you choose to do so and are afraid—stand up for yourself! Tell your MPOO a week in advance you can’t cover an assignment, even if you maximize your carriers to 12 hours. It’s 100% their responsibility to provide you with help, but it’s 100% your responsibility to notify them a week in advance when you complete the schedule that you lack coverage.
I have provided my branches with the telephone numbers of every office and ZIP code. All they have to do is use the DCO nonmember list, look up the ZIP code where the nonmember works and call them.
The push on nonmembers is timely. NAPS President Ivan D. Butts has explained via a video why a special dues assessment is required. Our three-tier financial system is not producing as it once did. NAPS Headquarters has not increased branch dues in nearly 19 years; it’s overdue. Stop fighting this!
The first tier, our investments, are producing a respectful return, but at a much lower rate. The bull market was in the past. It ran strong for over a decade with extremely high returns, which was an unusually long time.
The second tier is our Headquarters building, which is in a very desirable business location. Unfortunately, most commercial buildings currently are suffering from vacancies; NAPS Headquarters is no different. Also, the building is costing us $480,000 a year. In my opinion, we should keep the building and tighten up our other related costs. This building is our flagship!
The last tier is membership. As Secretary/Treasurer Jimmy Warden explained at our latest spring board meeting, even if we were at 90% membership, our financial concerns still would not be totally resolved. The only solution is to reduce spending, while increasing our dues and membership.
Your Executive Board has passed several motions to offset a number of expenditures since last fall’s board meeting. Is it enough? In my opinion, there’s still more to cut.
These will be very difficult choices to make because they involve benefits such as breakfast at LTS and national conventions, as well as discounted registration fees. These items add up to over $200,000.
All of us have a lot of work to do and difficult choices to make if we want NAPS to continue to be the number-one USPS EAS association. It starts with building a 90% membership foundation and having a responsible working budget that is adhered to 100%.
Now, it is up to all of you to pick up the phone and start calling every nonmember in your branch. Making one call a day is all that is required as a start. Each branch’s goal should be to sign between 15 and 30 nonmembers monthly. And we can do it!