With four distinct groups of candidates running for APWU national office this year there has never been a better time to explore the actual state of the American Postal Workers Union. It is clear the union’s leadership is fragmented and many have lost confidence in APWU National President Mark Dimondstein. The field of candidates in the union’s national office is very large with four candidates running in opposition to President Dimondstein. APWU contract negotiations appear to be moving at a snail’s pace without the hope of a “fair and positive” agreement anytime soon.
Before going any further it is important to let our readers know the APWU National Constitution and Bylaws states the APWU should enter talks every year with the National Association of Letter Carriers and every second year with the National Postal Mail Handlers to pursue a merger. While these talks have never resulted in a solid commitment to merge the union’s they do take place. We will now move forward.
For many a merger would be disastrous, and we are not a proponent of merging the unions from the perspective of the younger APWU represented employee or the postal worker who enters the post office later in life. We do not believe in leaving any union member behind and therefore we cannot support merging the unions. For members who have reached a given seniority by a given age which we will not define it would be a plus. We will not define what that seniority point is because it will be different dependent on the facility where the employee works.
The APWU appears to have lost their ability to protect the individual member on the work room floor in many facilities. Working conditions are abysmal and it takes very strong leadership at local level to just maintain the status quo. What the average APWU member does not realize is it is not the fault of local President’s and officers. Mark Dimondstein has basically gutted the offices at the national level that provide the support mechanism for protecting the postal worker. For this reason and many more we will share as time passes, we see the definitive need for a grassroots worker’s movement to take back the APWU for the sake of the individual APWU member. We support and encourage all APWU members to vote for Tony D. McKinnon Sr. and the APWU Workers For Change.
We told you about varmints like rats and bats inhabiting a post office. We also told you about an office in Wisconsin where the MRSA was rampant and members from the local had to seek assistance from Senator Tammy Baldwin and the CDC. Tony McKinnon has pledged once elected would hire an industrial hygienist. Prior to Mark Dimondstein being elected APWU National President the APWU employed a gentleman named Corey Thompson. Mr. Thompson’s title was “Safety and Health Specialist” and an industrial engineer by trade. Mr. Thompson moved on and the position was held by Gary Kloepfer an Assistant Maintenance Craft Director who had education and training to deal with such issues. During APWU President Cliff Guffey’s term of office Gary Kloepfer was moved to Legislative/Political Director when Myke Reid retired. Since gaining office in 2013 Mark Dimondstein has not filled this position.
“This firing of the law firm is only one of the conditions that have caused actual working conditions to decline for APWU members in America’s postal system. Mark Dimondstein’s focus on external causes rather than look for ways to upgrade the infrastructure of the APWU is costing clerks, maintenance workers, and MVS members jobs. Stewards, State and Local Officers need the tools to fight management and keep their locals organized.”
The Industrial Relations Department and Craft Departments used a couple key attorneys. The first attorney we will mention is Mary Wheeler. Mary was a key employee of the Industrial Relations Department. She also assisted in preparation of the APWU website’s feature the “Director’s Pick”. She retired shortly after Mark Dimondstein took office. The second is an FMLA attorney Patricia Howard. Her position was also not filled. We encourage ALL ACTIVE APWU MEMBER’S to consider how difficult it is to secure FMLA protection from the post office.
Clerical support in the Industrial Relations Department and the Craft Director’s offices have been slashed to the bone under Dimondstein. The focus of the core functions for a union of providing the best possible wages, working conditions and benefits have declined. The only major factor that has changed since Dimondstein’s first term is in the Industrial Relations Department where Tony McKinnon was vocal to stand up against Mark Dimondstein and stand in support of those same core union values. Somehow Tony was able to do his job despite major obstacles imposed on him by Dimondstein and major campaigning by Dimondstein to discredit his reputation. Even though staffing was cut, lawyers were fired and resigned, and the Industrial Relations Department lacked a Safety Specialist Tony was able to do his job successfully.
Now this article started out with talking out about the potential of an APWU merger with the other postal unions. That’s where we want to end the article. If the APWU merges with another union, it should not be because the APWU is on the ropes and has no place to go. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that is not Mark Dimondstein’s plan. It should be an option out of strength, not weakness. Right now, under Mark Dimondstein we concede working conditions, we are facing a major contract concession and if we are not successful the potential of a merger is a real thing. Not because everyone wants one but because we are being destroyed by our own union from the inside out. It is time for change while change can be found. We must grab ourselves up by our bootstraps and do this ourselves. We support a worker’s movement so we can put postal workers first. So postal workers can be united. Support APWU Workers For Change and vote for Tony & Crew.
The status quo is not good enough