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Postal Management Associations, Unions United in Legislative Goals
By Marilyn Walton
Western Region Vice President
On Sunday, Feb. 10, in Sacramento, CA, the 21st California Postal Legislative Coalition meeting was emceed by Omar Gonzales, Western Region coordinator for the APWU. Over 100 attendees representing all the unions, the two management associations and NARFE attended. Each year, a management or craft union representative leads the event.
We welcomed two representatives from the National Post Office Collaborate, originally named “Save the Berkley Post Office.” The collaborate’s focus is on preserving and restoring the historic value and use of older postal facilities and the priceless murals that decorate the lobbies of these facilities.
The collaborate won two important lawsuits challenging the general sale of the Berkeley and Richmond, CA, postal facilities, which are considered historical buildings. The buildings now are protected under the National Register of Historic Places. The collaborate advocates all over the country to save Postal Service-owned facilities to ensure they remain postal facilities and community use spaces and their beautiful facades and priceless wall murals are maintained.
NAPS President Brian Wagner was the keynote speaker. He provided general legislative information that related to the other organizations’ shared legislative focus. NAPS Director of Legislative & Political Affairs Bob Levi gave a very informative legislative update.
APWU National Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard provided an in-depth presentation from her Washington, DC, office via Zoom teleconferencing. National Postal Mail Handlers Union Legislative & Political Director Bob Losi called in and provided updated legislative information for attendees. National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association Director of Director of Governmental Affairs Paul Swartz provided a Skype presentation from his Washington, DC, office.
All attendees realized that the consensus of unions and management is that we want to ensure the Postal Service is not privatized and six-day, door-to-door delivery is maintained. We all want fair postal reform. There was a lot of interest in resuming postal banking. It was discussed that, before 1967, the Post Office Department allowed customers to maintain individual savings accounts with the Post Office.
I was pleased to learn that Bob Levi is looked on as the dean of postal organizations’ legislative directors by his peers in DC. Marsha Danzy, NAPS California State Legislative consultant; Yolanda Grayson, Los Angeles Branch 39 legislative representative, and I were selected by Bob to join his weekly podcast that was recorded live during the event.
During the coalition meeting, we had a panel discussion with each organization’s panel members who provided important information. The APWU panel member shared that establishment of the Postal Service is in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Our Founding Fathers understood the importance of a postal service; it still is relevant today.
Our rural panel member reminded us that rural carriers go where other carriers will not go: into small, rural communities, delivering the last mile. The postmaster representing UPMA shared that everyone is focused on social media and emails, but we should not forget that, when contacting our legislative representatives, one handwritten letter is more important than sending many emails.
Send letters to your lawmaker’s district office and request they fax the letters to their Washington, DC, office. NAPS provided a list of proposed legislation and reiterated its positions opposing privatization, maintaining six-day delivery and getting meaningful postal reform legislation passed—the same goals to which our brothers and sisters in the unions aspire.
The NARFE panel member said they support postal legislation, but continue to express concerns over proposed Medicare mandates that might negatively impact government retirees. Many union and management members also are members of NARFE because of their commitment to working on and supporting benefits for postal and federal retirees.
This event was a great opportunity for like-minded postal and federal organizations to come together and discuss common interests and learn tips and techniques that will help us conduct grass-roots lobbying on the homefront in California with our family.