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Speaker Ryan Has Three Goals: Destroy Social Security, Medicare And The USPS

Paul Ryan (FLIKR CC Starley Shelton)

Paul Ryan (FLIKR CC Starley Shelton)

Koch Brothers darling Multi Millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan is leaping back on to the national stage as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr Ryan was initially hesitant citing family concerns (despite the fact he is an opponent of paid leave for ordinary Americans)  but eventually was swayed by other GOP leaders to take the job. Ryan, who seems fixated on reducing retirement benefits for both the American public and especially federal workers, will have a larger platform to try to make these cuts a reality. Clearly these ideas are unpopular to many but as Paul Krugman brilliantly stated, Ryan is “the best con man they got.”  Republicans are using him to sell their treasure trove of unpopular policies to the apathetic American Public

Ryan was an architect of George Bush’s  failed plan to partially privatize  Social Security in 2005. More recently Ryan has teamed up with Congressman Darrell Issa to push the idea of reducing Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) benefits for Federal Workers. In a letter to the Congressional Budget Office they emphasized that the CBO should consider “different options for reforming FERS, based on changes made in recent years to other large pension plans, both public and private. The report should include, but not limit itself to, adjusting the retirement contributions of federal employees, altering the formula for computing pension benefit payments, and expanding the defined contribution component while reducing the defined benefit component.” This sounds quite ominous for Federal Workers. The intent is crystal clear.

As outlined in The New Yorker Ryan believes the only reason privatization failed in 2005 was because of the way it was marketed.

“The Administration did a bad job of selling it,” he told me. Bush had campaigned on national-security issues, only to pitch Social Security reform after reelection. “And . . . thud,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to prepare the country for these things. You can’t just spring it on them after you win.” The lesson: “Don’t let the engineers run the marketing department.”


Here is where the job of being an elite con man comes into play.

10404189_10153548324976418_913827613849190064_nAfter repeatedly emphasizing he did not want the Speaker’s job he abruptly changed his mind and accepted it. Publicly he worried that “its a job for a empty nester” not a person with young children.  “I cannot and will not give up my family time,” he told reporters before abruptly changing his mind.  Curiously Ryan has been a staunch opponent of paid family leave despite the fact the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not offer paid family leave.  Astonishingly this country ranks last in government supported time off for new parents.

“Paul Ryan is rightly concerned about his job’s impact on his spouse and children,” said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project. “Yet [he] isn’t willing to guarantee that all workers… have the necessary tools to balance their work and family obligations.”FT_13.12.11_parentalLeave

“For workers without paid family leave, taking time off to care for a new baby or a seriously ill loved one can have devastating long-term financial consequences, ranging from racking up credit card debt to raiding savings to bankruptcy,” Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, told ABC News. “Paid family leave would provide a critical safety net for these working families in their times of need.”

Make no mistake Speaker Ryan will be pushing an agenda that is quite friendly to Multi Millionaires children at the expense of working families.  “My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up, of some day having my own kids ask me, ‘When the stakes were so high, why didn’t you do all you could? Why didn’t you stand and fight for my future when you had the chance?'” Ryan said to reporters. His children do not have to worry he will make life easier for children of the wealthy at every turn.

Speaker Ryan will try to dismantle the three of most popular parts of the federal government to continue the GOP fixation of shrinking government.

Speaker Ryan accepts millions of dollars from individuals and groups that will profit by turning medicare/medicaid into a voucher scheme and by the privatization of Social Security.  He targets for “reform” include vital government services like the US Postal Service, Social Security Administration, and Medicare/Medicaid all services that benefit ordinary Americans.  The wealthy have no need for a safety net. They want to profit by its demise.

Speaker Ryan will now play the role of con man daily on a national scale. He surely will be selling day for night.  We all must call him out on his continued  hypocrisy before our countries safety net vanishes.  Ryan and his fellow multi millionaire politicians are in politics for the wrong reason. They want to accelerate the wealth of the few at the expense of the many.



The USPS Is Profitable Yet Again! But Why Are You Only Hearing Something Different?

USPS Letter Carrier Truck In Winter (Joel Kramer FLIKR CC)The revival of the US Postal Service continues to pick up steam according to Quarter 3 financial results released today. For the sixth consecutive quarter the Postal Service turned an operational profit when accounting for costs it can control. Fueled by an avalanche of packages the Postal Service continues to out perform expectations.

NALC President Fred Rolando commented: “Today’s results show the impressive Postal Service financial turnaround continuing in full force. The quarter’s $313 million operating profit puts black ink for the first half of the year above $1.4 billion – surpassing all of last year’s operating profit. Equally encouraging is what produced the operating profit – continuing revenue growth as an improving economy and rising online shopping drive better performances in letter mail and package deliveries. Package revenue is up a striking 11.2 percent this year; first-class letters and standard mail GCA on USPS pension and retiree benefitsalso are up.”

“This three-year trend in operating profitability makes clear the need to strengthen – not degrade – the now-profitable networks. We hope to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the administration and the new postmaster general to build on the progress achieved in the last Congress, within the mailing industry and among major stakeholders on consensus postal reform that promotes a strong and vibrant Postal Service.”

“We’re pleased with the increase in our controllable net income compared to the same period last year, which demonstrates that our cost containment and revenue strategies are delivering results,” said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Megan Brennan.

The only blemish in this financial report was the continuing unprecedented burden of being the only enterprise in the America that is required by law to pre-fund future retiree health care benefits. The graphics below outlines the absurdity of this requirement.

The Postal Service has updated its business model and through the dedication of its highly unionized work force it has turned an operational profit six consecutive quarters . It’s now time for Congress to update its thinking about postal reform and instead of decimating the worlds best postal service they should be acting to further enhance it. Ideas of plant closings and service cuts now seem quite antiquated in lieu of this economic turnaround.


Letter Carriers Continue A 23-Year Tradition Of Working To “STAMP OUT HUNGER”

1-in-7 Americans need food assistance including, 7 million seniors, over 1 million veterans, and  12 million children.

The National Association of Letter Carriers continue help feed those in our local communities who need assistance holding the nations largest annual one day food drive, on May 9th.


NALC 1 Minute PSA video link Saturday May 9th Letter Carriers  will be conducting their  annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The drive is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Last year, more than 70 million pounds of food were collected, making this the eleventh consecutive year that collections reached over the 70-million-pound mark. Since the drive began in 1993, nearly 1.4 billion pounds have been collected. Residents are asked to just place non perishable food by their mailbox for their letter carrier to pick up and deliver to a local food pantry.

Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), with help from Rural Letter Carriers (NRLCA), other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered food to local food banks at a critical time as food pantries often run low on donations in the Spring.   This years drive is enthusiastically cosponsored by the AFL CIO , The National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the United Way.

NALC 30 Second PSA video link 

2015_Food-Drive-Flyer-EnglishWhat makes this drive truly successful, year after year, is the amount of effort our food drive volunteers put in to help bring in as much food as possible,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “Rather than taking a well-deserved rest after a full day of delivering the mail, countless men and women in branches large and small spend untold hours working out the local logistics necessary to conduct a successful food drive so generous customers can help those in need.”
Letter carriers visit every address in America at least six days a week, so we are acutely aware of how hunger affects the communities we serve. Driven by a desire to do something about this problem, and inspired by the success that a number of branches had experienced with local food drives, in the early 1990s the NALC worked with the Postal Service to come up with a national food-collection campaign.

The nation’s labor unions are in full support of the food drive, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “With the support of unions all across America, the NALC can set a record in collections, helping those who have lost their jobs and the millions more facing economic uncertainty.

The United Way’s Stacey Stewart expressed her organizations support “The United Way will continue to partner with the NALC Food Drive in 2015. Its our privilege to once again, join with organized labor, an indispensable partner in our broader mission to create real and lasting change in communities throughout the United States.”

NRLCA President Jeanette Dwyer commented on the success and simplicity of the food drive: “It has become clear how such a small act of charity on the part of one person can resonate so profoundly in the communities in which we live.”

Please join us on America’s greatest day of giving.

To donate, just place a box or bag with your cans and non-perishable items next to your mailbox, before your letter carrier delivers mail on May 9th.

The carrier will do the rest.

The food is sorted, and delivered to a local food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.

For more information watch this short 7-minute video from the National Association of Letter Carriers that explains it all, and why letter carriers are donating their time to help feed the people in their own communities. 

(All of this information can also be found in Spanish in this video translated by NALC members in Puerto Rico Branch 869)



Senator Rand Paul Has No Idea Why The USPS Appears To Be Failing, But He Blames Unions



With much fanfare Rand Paul has officially kicked off his Stand with Rand presidential campaign.  He is arguably the most anti-worker candidate on the American political landscape.

Paul never strays from being a front man for the wealthy with his extreme anti-union beliefs. For Postal workers his message is clear as he advocates an  end to collective bargaining rights for postal workers when their current contracts expire.  He says he is not “opposed to all unions” he just believes unions are inappropriate for public service workers.

For other union workers, his thoughts are just as clear as he proudly introduced a National Right to Work Bill in the Senate. The National Right to Work Committee has given Paul $20,000 already this election cycle, which is 57% of all the money it has handed out to all other politicians combined.  So you can easily say that Rand Paul has essentially become the national spokesman for Right to Work. This kind of belies his “man of the people” messaging.

When speaking on Postal Reform a month ago in Florida he blasted the Postal Service:
“There are two sectors in the economy. The productive sector: you. And the non-productive sector: the people who live in Washington. They don’t make anything. They can’t even run the post office. They say we are going to project our power and we create new nations around the world.  We can’t run our own post office. They came to me last year on my committee and you know what they said, ‘we need bonuses for people at the post office.’ They said ‘you’ve got to pay people to retain talent. To get talented people you’ve got to pay them.’ I said ‘how much talent does it take to lose a billion dollars a quarter.’” I am not quite sure that Postal Bonuses were a major topic in the postal reform mark up. I am quite sure that postal  union workers do not receive any bonuses. Plus the USPS has turned an operational profit over the last few years.

(Michael Vadon - Carroll County Republican Committee Annual Lincoln Day Dinner with U.S. Senator Rand Paul - FLIKR CC)

(Michael Vadon
– Carroll County Republican Committee Annual Lincoln Day Dinner with U.S. Senator Rand Paul – FLIKR CC)

“So something has to change, but everybody opposes any changes that would allow the Post Office to make decisions like a business. Maybe if they were to have bankruptcy and renegotiate all of their labor contracts, they would have a chance. But there’s too many strong political, partisan voices up here to let that happen.  So I don’t know what the answer is. Privatization would be great but how we go about doing that is another story.”

Senator Paul’s main contribution to the Postal Reform hearings before his committee were not exactly constructive. He immediately proposed an amendment calling on the Postal Service to declare bankruptcy and reorganize. In the senator’s vision of reorganization, collective-bargaining agreements between USPS and its employee unions would be renegotiated, while existing no-layoff protections and the ability to bargain over wages would be banned.

Paul then tied up the committee with a lengthy barrage of questions about his failed amendment to “remove a federal ban on guns in the post offices.”  This prevented substantial debate on the problems with retiree pre-funding obligations that his Congress placed on the USPS. Senator Paul’s Postal Reform boils down to eliminating workers rights and enhancing gun owners’ rights in the post office. That is not Postal Reform, that’s Postal Destruction.

The real issue behind the Postal Service’s red ink is the  2006 Congressional mandate that the Postal Service fully fund 75 years of retiree health care costs in a 10 year period. This onerous mandate costs the USPS $5.5 Billion a year and is the only reason that the Postal Service doesn’t show a profit on its balance sheet. Even more outrageous is the fact that this payment is unnecessary as the USPS retiree fund has more than enough money for decades into the future. The hard-working union workers of the Postal Service are on their 3rd straight year of an operational profit.  It’s been an extraordinary turnaround that Paul fails to mention.

Rand Paul has some serious misconceptions not only about the productivity of  union workers but also their retirement and health care plans. ” Federal employees have almost double the compensation that private employees have. […] Maybe these government unions are going to have to contribute to their pension, maybe they’re going to have to pay something for their health care, like I’m having to pay, so when I hear regular taxpayers in Kentucky they don’t have a lot of sympathy because they’re paying high insurance premiums and they have to pay for their own retirements. “

(Video link)

He couldn’t be more misinformed. Public workers at all level of government have to contribute to their pension and health care plans. Federal employees contribute to the Federal Employment Retirement System (FERS), which requires them to contribute to the fund at a rate equivalent to one percent of their yearly salary. Also Federal workers participate in the Federal Group Health Care system where they buy their healthcare.  For some Postal Workers (CCAs and  PSEs) the price for health care almost make it unattainable while joining a retirement plan is not fiscally possible. The Postal Service does not contribute anything to their retirement plans. Paul had to know he was completely misrepresenting the facts, but that didn’t stop him. His overall dislike of public sector unions make any exaggeration of the facts acceptable, it seems.

Demonizing federal union workers is a Republican staple since Ronald Reagan fired Air Traffic Controllers. There is a profit to be made by decimating the Postal Service both politically and financially.  It’s no surprise that UPS and FedEx are among the top 10 contributors to his leadership PAC. With Paul it’s simple: you just follow the money. Whether it’s degrading public union workers or being the lead advocate for bills against private sector workers, it’s clear whose side Rand Paul stands with. His close ties with anti-union groups show his true allegiance.  He will offer an occasional  populist message on foreign policy or the war on drugs in an effort to disguise the fact that when it comes to economic issues he is firmly against working people.

Paul is the latest in the line of snake oil salesman running for President who under the guise of free markets/privatization, who want to further enrich the ultra-wealthy on the backs of  middle class workers.  The ultra-wealthy supporters of Paul never vote against their economic self-interest. Notice the record-breaking income inequality as proof. In spite of that Rand Paul is running for president hoping to fool working people in to voting against their economic well-being.  His Stand with Rand movement is clearly standing on the backs of union people.

Paul believes ordinary people should just be slaves for the rich and be thankful for it. He expounds on this in the video below.  For working people a more  accurate slogan describing their economic outlook under a President Rand Paul would be Fall With Paul.

Through Rain, Sleet, and Snow The Mail Must Go Through, So Why Is Congress Trying To Destroy The USPS?

Letter Carrier in the Snow (image by Mark Turnauckas FLIKR)

(image by Mark Turnauckas FLIKR)

As Letter Carriers put their health and safety at risk each day in this especially brutal winter we can take solace in the fact we have enabled the Postal Service to  continue its financial turnaround. 2015 Fiscal Year Quarter 1 reports released Friday confirmed what all Letter Carriers know our business is booming . All types of letter mail continue to grow and parcel delivery is skyrocketing allowing the USPS to make a $1.1 Billion operating profit just this quarter. This will be the third consecutive year with a sizeable operational profit.

As Letter Carriers walk house to house in blustery winds on treacherous snow and ice to deliver America its mail many in Congress sit in their warm offices saying they have to reform or dismantle the worlds best Postal Service. They don’t consider Clerks and Mail Handlers driving in snowstorms through the middle of the night to move the mail.  Their anti government ideology blinds them as they ignore the facts. Those people could not do a Letter Carriers job for a day especially in this hell of a winter. As a news commentator stated this week ” the only vehicles on the road were Plows, Police and Postal Trucks”

They want to sell off the USPS as there is profit to be made by the wealthy in their climate controlled boardrooms.  Anti government zealots use Fed Ex and UPS as examples of what the USPS should become. They fail to mention both Fed Ex and UPS have increased prices 5-10% this year and still charge fuel surcharges even though gasoline prices have plummeted.

While politicians are cashing their campaign contributions from Fed Ex and UPS they also seem to disregard the fact that the Postal Service delivers to every address in America every day. Those private companies often  drop off their unprofitable and difficult deliveries at the nearby post office to have a USPS Letter Carrier deliver the last mile.

Instead of looking at “fixing” the Postal Service these financial statements should send Congress searching into ways that other segments of the U.S. economy can emulate what the Postal Service exceptionally well. The USPS is a  highly unionized and diverse work force  providing an essential service to hundreds of millions of people regardless of their economic status. The Postal Service provides a public service through harsh weather conditions and turns a billion dollar profit.


(Image by Rebecca Flickr CC)

(Image by Rebecca Flickr CC)

If Congress wants to truly wants to represent its constituents it would vote to rescind the unprecedented $5.5 Billion annual retiree prepayment obligation that  the USPS is expected to pay for future retirees . That alone would allow the Postal Service to accelerate this already impressive turnaround. Debating outdated ideas like cutting back mail delivery do not advance the best interest of the American Public.

This brutal winter has shown again the employees of the USPS are remarkable. Without  $1 of taxpayer money the USPS delivers an essential service to every address in America every day and turns a substantial profit.

The NH State Association Of Letter Carriers Played Big Role In Helping To Win Three of the Four Major Races

election-results-clipart-300x300It was a difficult election cycle for all involved in Labor 2014 as we constantly battled a very apathetic electorate. Though I am quite sure more than 7 out of 10 NH Letter Carriers voted for labor friendly candidates the level of enthusiasm did not come close to the more recent elections. Considering how the high the stakes are for our union this apathy is troubling.

The good news in NH is that we reelected Senator Jeanne Shaheen as well as Congresswoman Anne Kuster and Governor Maggie Hassan all allies of ours. The bad news was seeing quite possibly our unions strongest supporter in DC, Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter lose in a close race. The late avalanche of negative ads paid for by out of state anti worker groups no doubt led to her defeat.

I was honored to be one of four NHSALC releases in this election cycle. I would like to sincerely thank NALC Regional Field Director Ross Medico for his outstanding work in coordinating our efforts in NH. Having him join us certainly energized our efforts and resulted in the campaigns highlight when over 50 Letter Carriers from New England teamed up for a GOTV Labor Walk in Manchester just days before the election.

I also wish to express my thanks to the other NHSALC release staff: President Wayne Alteresio, CDL Jim Fucella and SLL Steve Phillips.  They all sacrificed a ridiculous amount of their time and energy in fighting for candidates to help save our postal service. They all put their lives on hold as the campaign became a blur in the final weeks. The actual work on this campaign was close to two years in the making and the dedication of the NHSALC Legislative Team is indeed a model for the rest of the country. Our state association is extremely fortunate to have a release staff willing to sacrifice so much for job security for us all.

The NH AFL CIO headed by President Mark MacKenzie worked tirelessly to coordinate the Labor 2014 effort and much of the success labor candidates had in 2014 has to be attributed to its work. This was a challenging campaign on countless levels.

Postal Unions APWU and NPMHU played a strong role in this campaign and they must be commended. As is often the case the NH Postal Unions political teams work far more effectively together than in other states. Former NHSALC officers Lew Henry and Terry Gesel formed an effective alliance with political allies throughout the state and should be applauded for their efforts as well.  It’s a group effort to win elections and this group in NH won 3 out of 4 for the NALC.

This Labor 2014 campaign coincided with a workers battle on another front. The bitter strike in NH/Maine at Fairpoint by IBEW and CWA workers posed a dramatic back drop to workers struggle against union busting management tactics. Fairpoint is owned by Wall Street hedge funds and is trying to decimate their unions and out source middle class jobs. Does that sound familiar?  Many IBEW-CWA workers left the picket line after their shifts and went to the NH AFL CIO to participate in Phone Banks and Labor Walks. Considering the turmoil in their lives to take time out their personal chaos to make calls and knock on doors in support of all unions including the NALC was truly inspiring.  Please join them on their picket line and contribute to their relief fund at Fairnessatfairpoint.com .  That’s what unionism is all about.

WMUR TV Fabricates A Story Promoting Scott Brown, Attacking Billy Shaheen

Say goodbye to news coverage with integrity on WMUR TV.

Many NHLN readers already think WMUR TV has been biased toward Republican candidates and causes for years – but they have reached a new low.

This past weekend, WMUR TV decided to try to gain some ratings points by completely misrepresenting a quote from Senate candidate Scott Brown. Instead of just bending the facts to make a mediocre story more appealing, WMUR completely twisted them to build a news angle that didn’t actually exist.

Here’s what really happened: Last Wednesday, Scott Brown visited the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester. He met many voters, both supporters and opponents, as you would expect in any public campaign stop. Among the people he met was Manchester resident Wayne Alterisio. Wayne is a popular figure in the city and is the NH State Association of Letter Carrier State President.  Wayne and I have been friends for decades.

I don’t remember when I first told Wayne that Scott Brown and I went to high school together in Wakefield, MA. Actually, Scott and I were pretty good friends until Scott went off to college. We sort of lost touch after that. However, Wayne never forgot that Scott and I had once been good friends.

Last Wednesday, while Wayne was eating his breakfast in the Red Arrow Diner, Scott Brown walked in and they engaged in a conversation.

As Wayne told me later, Wayne greeted the candidate cordially, “Hi Senator Brown … I know a very good friend of yours, Bill Brickley.Wayne and Senator Brown then had a discussion on the Minimum Wage as that is a significant issue for many working class families.  As Senator Brown was ending their conversation, Brown said, “Say hi to Billy for me.

WMUR did not have their own camera crew following Senator Brown, so who knows where they got their information about what was said that day. But incredibly, in their coverage of the Red Arrow Diner visit, WMUR cited Senator Brown’s “Say hi to Billy” comment as a reference to Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s husband, William “Billy” Shaheen.

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people in New Hampshire named “Billy.” So what reason would WMUR TV have, to think that Senator Brown’s “Say Hi to Billy” comment referred to Senator Shaheen’s husband?

WMUR then built an entire segment around the comment. WMUR Political Director Josh McElveen was the reporter (or should I say creator?) of the story, making it even more egregious. The almost 3 minute piece has been widely circulated, both when it was originally shown and then when it was highlighted on weekend news recaps.

The only thing worse than a fake news story is a widespread fake news story.

WMUR did not see that the real new story in the conversation between Wayne and Senator Brown was growing income inequality and the stagnant Minimum Wage.

Evidently there isn’t much appetite for that. Instead, WMUR took a one-sentence remembrance, completely out of context, and pushed it to attack Senator Shaheen and her husband Billy.

It’s easy to connect this pro-Scott Brown coverage to the $74,545 that the Scott Brown campaign has paid WMUR this week for just one particular ad that is to be shown 148 times. I would imagine this saturation is already conveying Senator Brown’s message sufficiently. Feeling the need to manufacture fake anti-Shaheen “news” angles seems to me to hint at overkill.

Incidentally, WMUR is in a bitter dispute with its own 13 IBEW photographers, as the company continues to deny them pension benefits that are afforded to other WMUR employees. Since 2005, these 13 union employees have been singled out and denied pension benefits. This is unconscionable when you consider the fact that WMUR parent corporation Hearst has made $10 billion in revenue. They are the only 13 employees at the station denied these benefits.   This may be the reason that WMUR had to rely on a NECN video crew to get a news feed of Senator Brown’s Red Arrow visit that took place one mile from WMUR studios.

WMUR TV owes an apology for this fabrication.

The first victim of this malicious lie is NH Letter Carrier State President Wayne Alterisio. Wayne was falsely accused of being there on the instruction of Billy Shaheen. Wayne should be commended for being cordial to Senator Brown and for bringing up the minimum wage issue. Minimum Wage is directly related to the income inequality that has become one of our nation’s biggest problems. Though they disagreed on that subject, it was a respectful conversation.

Also due an apology is the campaign of Senator Jeanne Shaheen. She had absolutely nothing to do with Wayne choosing to have breakfast at the Red Arrow.

The biggest apology should go to the viewers and advertisers of WMUR.  Though the station portrays itself as a credible news organization, the actions related to this story show otherwise. Viewers and advertisers expect WMUR to report the news factually – and not act like tabloid journalism by completely fabricating news.  This wasn’t an accident or a typo. This was clear fabrication and WMUR TV must be held responsible.

At The NALC Convention, Letter Carriers Show Their Support For All Workers


Having  just returned from Philadelphia and an NALC Convention that was inspiring.  I am struck by the fact that Letter Carrier solidarity towards our political fight  for survival has continued to strengthen since our last convention in 2012. What has also increased in intensity is the national war on workers. Battlegrounds were all around us, many speakers at the convention relayed stories about attacks on worker rights and when we stepped outside we saw visible proof with the Carpenters Union picketing the convention center and UNITE HERE picketing the Radisson Warwick Blu which was one of our host hotels. Clearly all our grievances are connected.


Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the NALC convention

Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a fiery speech which was interrupted multiple times with standing ovations by the nearly 7000 delegates.”Well, I’ve got a message for Mr. Donahoe,” Sanders said. “At a time when the middle class is disappearing and the number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high, do not destroy middle-class jobs at the Postal Service. At a time when senior citizens and small businesses depend on the Postal Service operating six-days a week, do not end Saturday mail. At a time when the Postal Service is competing with the instantaneous communications of e-mail and high-speed Internet services, do not slow down the delivery of mail, speed it up. And do not dismantle the Postal Service by shutting down a quarter of the mail processing plants left in this country.”

The address by National Postal Mail Handlers Union President John Hegarty stressed the importance of the newly signed postal alliance which has all four postal unions working together to save the Postal Service. “The Postal Union Alliance puts it out there for all to see; we are united and we can’t be defeated.”



NH State Association of Letter Carriers members Wayne Alterisio and Lew Henry stand with locked out Carpenters

Outside the convention center was a group of locked out carpenters. The Carpenters union which was locked out  seems to have a valid grievance and is currently in court trying to end their lock out. By some reports the Carpenters have been vigilant in contract enforcement and this may have played a role in the hard-line stand  from the convention center. In the spirit of solidarity the carpenters were enthusiastic participants with Letter Carriers and community groups in the Stop Staples rally held on Wednesday. The most contentious issue in their negotiations was a clause to allow increased low wage temporary workers.

NALC3A mile away UNITE HERE organized a  boisterous rally at the Radisson  Warwick Blu Hotel on Friday. The contagious spirit was reminiscent of early OWS in NYC . The workers are in difficult contract negotiations looking for a fair contract with job security. Workers are looking for protection from contracting out their jobs to low wage workers. For a company that is making millions of dollars a year giving its workers a fair contract should not be an issue. This is the latest example that corporate greed is always an obstacle to fairness.

All these workers realize that prosperity spreads  from the middle class out not from the top down. If trickle down economics works we would be flooded in jobs at the present time. The wealthy have not owned such a high percentage of our nations wealth since before the Great Depression of the 20’s. With the extreme wealthy making money at unparalleled rate why wouldn’t they pay their workers a fair wage.

At a workshop local fast food workers outlined their plight against the reckless greed that has run rampant through their industry. A moving presentation from a fast food worker who was fired last week from his job for participating in activism to raise the minimum wage. It was eye-opening. He has two small children and was trying to survive on $7.25 an hour. In reality he had no choice but to fight to raise the wage. He had nothing to lose.

Corporate owned politicians are hell-bent on eliminating public services and replacing those union middle class jobs with low pay, no benefit, non-union jobs. It is accelerating the race to the bottom. In the private sector turning middle class jobs into temp jobs is happening at an alarming rate.  How can the ultra wealthy not comprehend  they are creating an unsustainable economic structure?

Our economic system can either make many people prosper for a long period of time or a few prosper for a short time. Judging by the building wave of economic discontent the clock is starting to run out on our plutocracy.

I Cannot Believe What Shira Goodman (Pres. of Staples) Said About The Dedicated USPS Employees

Shira Goodman

Shira Goodman, CEO of Staple Inc

Shira Goodman, North American Commercial President for Staples couldn’t hide her contempt for Postal Workers when she spoke to hundreds of Staples employees in her first ever Town Hall style meeting. Ms Goodman chastised Postal Workers with several disparaging remarks including: “It must be nice to have a job for life” then adding “those days are over, this country can’t afford to do business as usual”. In her world Staples workers are nothing more than temporary workers always at risk to have their jobs abolished.

It comes as no surprise that Shira Goodman was on the “Jobs and Economy” Steering Committee during Mitt Romney’s transition to Massachusetts Governor in 1992. Judging by her attitude towards workers there is no doubt she buys into Romney’s hateful 47% comment made during his presidential run.

It’s also hardly shocking that Shira Goodman’s job before joining Staples in 1992 was being a manager for Bain and Company (1986-1992). Staples was one of her clients. Bain was the leader in outsourcing workers jobs for management profit. She must feel quite comfortable in outsourcing postal jobs to her transient workforce.

The negative ramifications are already being felt by postal workers. In the San Francisco area the USPS has announced it is reducing customer service hours in 21 of the 39 Post Offices. “They’re shutting the doors at 5 p.m. and posting signs sending people to private locations – including Staples – to conduct postal business,” said Geoffray Dumaguit, president of the San Francisco Local of the American Postal Workers Union. “This will inconvenience and irritate our customers, who often need to visit a Post Office after work.”

Shira Goodman must also feel quite comfortable in knowing her husband Senior Rabbi Wesley Gardenswartz seems to have pretty close to a “job for life” at Temple Emmanuel in Newton, Massachusetts. I certainly am not anything close to a theologian but “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” is a popular twist on a biblical proverb that I am sure Shira Goodman knows of. Considering her situation It seems the height of hypocrisy to be attacking the hard-working employees of the worlds best Postal Service.

I am sure the bible has plenty of verses about the evil of greed  practiced by Bain Capital and Staples. Also many on the virtuousness of treating  people with respect and dignity as is practiced by labor unions throughout this country.

The AFL-CIO has announced it has endorsed the APWU national boycott of Staples . This boycott includes all Staples retail stores in the US, Staples.com, Staples Advantage as well as branded proprietary products.

Respecting workers and not exploiting them is not “business as usual” in Shira Goodman’s world. We as postal union members “can’t afford” to let this anti-worker sentiment go unchallenged. Staples outsourcing Postal Service jobs is the current battle in a national war on workers, Shira Goodman is leading the forces against postal workers. Mitt Romney must be so proud.

The Cecily McMillan Verdict: Innocent Victim Goes Back To Jail

Justice For CecilyIn a tense courtroom and nearly hidden by a group of over 50 court officers, Judge Zwiebel did the work of the powerful and sent Cecily McMillan back to Rikers Island Prison on Monday. Clearly the absurd zeal in which the prosecution has gone after Cecily is meant to send a chilling signal to all who protest peacefully against the entrenched oligarchy that currently run this country.

Though her sentence of 90 days in jail with 5 years probation was on one level a relief as a harsher sentence was thought possible considering the one-sided actions of this court throughout this process. It is still deeply troubling to see an innocent 25 year old union organizer and community activist being sent back to prison, knowing she was a victim of a sexual assault not a criminal.

Its even more troubling when you consider the executives on Wall Street  who profited and caused the great recession still walk free. Not one of those corporate criminals served any jail time.They never even showed any remorse for the avalanche of economic misery they brought to millions of working people.

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez spoke to the energetic and passionate crowd of Cecily supporters outside the courthouse and released the following statement.”The US Constitution encourages protest, free speech and a redress of grievances in cases where the government is not properly serving the public interest. This is what Cecily and so many others sought to do; so for any to end up in jail is a travesty from which our country suffers even more. We in government can serve best only when our constituency is engaged and concerned; and we should never seek to stifle dissent, especially when it is as peaceful and impassioned as Occupy was and continues to be.”

As journalist Chris Hedges said in a recent article, “The corporate state, which has proved utterly incapable of addressing the grievances and injustices endured by the underclass, is extremely nervous about the mass movements that have swept the country in recent years. And if protests erupt again—as I think they will—the state hopes it will have neutralized much of the potential leadership. Being an activist in peaceful mass protest is the only real “crime” McMillan has committed.”

Image Gerard Flynn gerard_flynn

Cecily’s lawyer and friend read statements
Image Gerard Flynn (Flikr: gerard_flynn)

The Cecily team released a statement that in part read:”On a broader level, there’s been a tremendous outpouring of public support in the wake of the verdict, for which Cecily and the team are truly grateful. We’re heartened, too, by the outrage this blatant, heavy-handed attempt to quash dissent has elicited from the public at large. The message this verdict sends is clear: What Cecily continues to endure can happen to any woman who dares to challenge the corporate state, its Wall Street patrons, and their heavy-handed enforcers, the NYPD. We certainly think outrage is an appropriate response from economic and social justice activists and allies who are concerned about the silencing of those who push for change. The DA and the courts want to make an example out of Cecily—to deter us, to scare us, to keep us out of the streets. And we won’t let that happen. This ruling will not deter us, it will strengthen our resolve.”

Standing before the Judge before sentencing yesterday Cecily was not backing down. “Whether personal or political, violence is not permitted. This being a law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of,” McMillan said. “I cannot confess to a crime that I did not commit. I cannot throw away my dignity in return for my freedom.”

As a labor movement we must adopt a similar posture. We have to fight for economic justice for all – no compromises!

Please follow justiceforcecily.com for updates and ways to support Cecily.

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