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Congressional Response to Airport Wait Times Falls Far Short, TSA Union Says

AFGE says Congress must lift arbitrary workforce cap
and fund 6,000 additional security officers

AFGE TSA WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing Transportation Security Officers at our nation’s airports, says recent Congressional actions to reduce passenger wait times are a good step but that the permanent solution remains hiring an additional 6,000 full-time screeners.

Congress on Monday approved shifting $28 million within the Transportation Security Administration’s current budget to convert 2,784 part-time officers to full-time positions and accelerate the hiring of 600 additional officers by the end of the fiscal year. This follows a similar action in May that enabled TSA to expedite the hiring of 768 new officers and pay additional overtime for current workers.

“The reprogramming requests that Congress has approved should provide some short-term relief to TSA officers who are clearly overworked and a flying public that is understandably frustrated,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

“However, the funding shifts fall far short in addressing the underlying issue, which is the failure of Congress to provide TSA with sufficient resources to meet its staffing needs and ensure the safety and security of the flying public,” Cox said.

Congress has set an arbitrary cap on the number of officers that the agency can hire, limiting TSA to no more than 45,000 screeners – although TSA can’t even meet the cap due to budget cuts.

Cox praised a group of 70 House lawmakers who sent a letter to leaders of the Homeland Security budget committee on June 8 calling the cap “arbitrary” and “illogical” and urging appropriators to remove it from the 2017 spending bill.

“Congress has set TSA up for failure by restricting how many workers it can hire and then slashing its budget to the point that it can’t even hire up to the arbitrary cap,” Cox said. “This results in passengers waiting two or three hours to get through checkpoints at peak times, while security lanes remain closed because there’s no staff to run them.

“Congress must lift this arbitrary worker cap and provide TSA with enough money to hire 6,000 additional officers, which would restore staffing levels to what they were in 2011.”

Air Traffic Controller Staffing Has Reached A “Crisis Level” Says Controllers Union

Controller Staffing at a 27-Year Low; Rinaldi Tells House Aviation Subcommittee the Situation is a “Crisis”

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi

WASHINGTON – National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President Paul Rinaldi told the House Aviation Subcommittee today that the number of fully certified air traffic controllers, already at a 27-year low, fell again in the first three months of this year. Rinaldi said the situation has reached a crisis level and outlined several recommendations, including increasing annual hiring totals and passage of bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5292, the Air Traffic Controller Hiring Improvement Act of 2016.

Controller staffing levels have fallen nearly 10 percent since 2011, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has missed its hiring goals in each of the last seven years. In fact, in fiscal year 2015, the FAA fell 24 percent short of its hiring goal. More controllers are eligible to retire today, specifically one-quarter of the workforce, than are in the pipeline to replace them.

“If we do not act decisively and soon, I fear that our nation’s air traffic control system will soon face the same challenges and consequences as D.C.’s Metro system, which has been plagued by deferred maintenance and chronic underfunding,” Rinaldi said in his testimony for the Subcommittee’s hearing, entitled, A Review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Controller Hiring, Staffing, and Training Plans. “Without a stable and predictable funding stream for the National Airspace System (NAS), controller staffing is just the first of many NAS crises that Congress will need to resolve in the near future.”

NATCA believes the FAA must take a holistic, collaborative approach to resolving these staffing issues. Rinaldi said NATCA is committed to working towards permanent, sustainable solutions. He cited budgetary missteps, including stop-and-go funding for the FAA and sequestration in 2013, and the FAA’s bureaucratic red tape as contributing factors in the shortage of air traffic controllers.

“Although NATCA does not believe that the safety of the air traffic control system is at risk, without proper staffing at our facilities, efficiency and modernization efforts are being negatively affected, which could lead to further system inefficiencies, delays, and a reduction in air traffic services for the flying public,” Rinaldi testified.

Rinaldi said the staffing crisis has been the cause of the FAA’s frequent denials to release bargaining unit employees from their facilities’ schedule in order to provide subject matter expertise (SME) for technological and modernization projects throughout the NAS. Within the last three months, the FAA has denied at least 15 separate requests due to staffing. Moreover, attempts to request SME support from facilities that are critically understaffed have ceased. These facilities include Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), Los Angeles Tower (LAX), Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center, and Atlanta TRACON, among many others. Rinaldi said the expertise of the controller workforce from the busiest facilities on these important projects would facilitate successful development, testing, and implementation on modernization projects.

Among the recommendations Rinaldi proposed in his testimony to address the crisis:

  • Passage of H.R. 5292, which would streamline the hiring process by ensuring a path for experienced controllers to be hired quickly and allow military veterans and graduates of schools in the FAA’s Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) to be hired more expeditiously. The legislation, if enacted, would ensure that CTI graduates and veterans are considered in a separate pool from the general public, and would increase the maximum entry age for a controller with 52 weeks experience to 35 years of age.
  • Maximizing the capacity of the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. The FAA will only have approximately 1,300 new employees enrolled at the Academy this year. The facility can accommodate up to approximately 2,000 employees per year.
  • An FAA controller vacancy announcement for experienced controllers that is open and continuously maintained 365 days per year.
  • The aggressive FAA recruitment of experienced former FAA controllers, military and civilian DOD controllers and Federal Contract Tower controllers.
  • Stable, predictable funding for the FAA, including ensuring that the FAA is not subject to future sequester cuts.

“I truly believe that the United States has the safest, most complex, and most efficient airspace system in the world, one that is vital to our nation’s economy,” Rinaldi said. “However, this system needs a strong and growing air traffic controller workforce in order to modernize and expand into the 21st Century.”

See the full version of Rinaldi’s written testimony.

Defense Department Union Urges Senate to Support Contracting Ban

Congress must maintain A-76 moratorium to ensure military readiness, AFGE says

AFGE Logo 2WASHINGTON – The union representing more than 270,000 Department of Defense workers is urging the Senate to maintain the ban on contracting out government services that are vital to military readiness.

“Congress has maintained a ban on contracting out Department of Defense jobs since fiscal 2010 because of systemic problems with the contracting out process and DoD’s failure to produce a full and meaningful inventory of its contractor workforce,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Those issues remain in place, so there is no justifiable reason for ending the contracting ban now.”

A provision in the Senate version of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act would repeal the ban on conducting public-private contracting studies, under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76.

“Lifting the suspension of the A-76 process would have a devastating and disruptive impact on the federal civilian workforce and on military readiness,” Cox said.

A bipartisan amendment to strike the repeal of the A-76 moratorium has been introduced by Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Fourteen Senators so far have signed on as cosponsors: Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland, Jim Inhofe and James Lankford of Oklahoma, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virgina, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Chuck Schumer of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Barbara Boxer of California, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Orrin Hatch of Utah.

The amendment also would repeal a provision in the NDAA that waters down the current requirement for DoD to produce an inventory of its contractor services. By some estimates, more than 95% of contractors would be excluded from the inventory if this provision passes, which would make the A-76 moratorium moot.

Teamsters Local 633 Endorse Colin Van Ostern For Governor

Teamsters LogoMANCHESTER, N.H. – Today, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 633 endorsed Colin Van Ostern for Governor of New Hampshire. Citing Colin’s record of fighting for working families and growing New Hampshire’s economy, the Teamsters Local 633 join six other local labor unions in backing Van Ostern.

“We are proud to endorse Colin Van Ostern for Governor,” said Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 633 Dave Laughton. “On the issues that matter most to our members – creating and maintaining good paying jobs, investing in our infrastructure and expanding opportunity – Colin has a record that we can trust and support. As our next Governor, Colin will continue moving New Hampshire forward to build an even stronger economy where everyone has the chance to succeed, not just those at the top.”

Teamsters Local 633 was chartered in 1934 and represents thousands of members in the beverage production and delivery industries, law enforcement, school principals, bus drivers, several municipalities, public works employees, warehouse and freight drivers.

“We’re proud to earn the support of Teamsters Local 633 and the thousands of hard working New Hampshire families that they represent,” said Pat Devney, campaign manager for Democratic candidate for governor Colin Van Ostern. “As Governor, Colin will continue to move New Hampshire forward by building a stronger economy for everyone, not just those at the top. We’re honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with seven local labor unions, more than 85 elected officials and thousands of grassroots activists in our campaign to create a better future.”

National Association Of Letter Carriers Announce Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), released the following statement regarding the NALC Executive Council’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president of the United States:

ClintonFollowing a tremendously hard-fought primary process, NALC is proud to endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve as the next president of the United States.

Secretary Clinton has a long history of supporting the issues most important to letter carriers—a strong Postal Service, collective-bargaining rights for postal employees and decent pay and benefits for all American workers. She has been a friend of NALC since her first meeting with us in 1994.

Former Sen. Clinton was among the first in the Senate to support legislation to prohibit the contracting out of letter carrier jobs to low-wage private contractors, a bill that helped us stop the practice in 2006. She has defended six-day delivery, supported federal employees and was an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act.

NALC is proud to once again stand with Hillary, just as it did when she ran for president in 2008.

This year, we had the good fortune of seeing two tremendous champions of letter carriers compete for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.  In fact, both have been made honorary members of the NALC by delegates to our national conventions. As I informed our members in March, based on the issue surveys we sent to both parties’ candidates and the polls we conducted among our 280,000 members and activists, both Secretary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders earned our support. Out of respect for both candidates and the passionate supporters each has in our union, we decided not to endorse either until the primary process produced a nominee.That has now happened.

We commend Sen. Sanders—who also is a long-time friend and a fierce advocate for letter carriers in Congress—for running a fantastic campaign. The energy and passion that he brings to politics have ignited a national conversation and moved the needle in our national debates about inequality, wage stagnation and the power of corporate interests in our democracy. NALC intends to continue fighting alongside Sen. Sanders to strengthen our employer, our political system and our country.

This endorsement was not a difficult one to make, given the two choices before us. Leaving aside his anti-worker record as an employer, his dishonesty and erratic temperament, and the bigotry and sexism he has demonstrated as a candidate, Donald Trump showed blatant disrespect to America’s letter carriers. In our endorsement process, he not only failed to answer our candidate questionnaire, he would not even acknowledge receiving it. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has demonstrated her commitment to letter carriers and has dedicated her entire life to public service. Few candidates have ever been better prepared for the Oval Office.

There is a lot at stake on Tuesday, Nov. 8—for our country, our jobs and our families. Starting in the key battle ground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Nevada, NALC and America’s letter carriers are ready to unite behind Hillary Clinton to make this great country even greater.

After the endorsement was announced, Secretary Hillary Clinton released the following statement:

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

“The Postal Service is consistently ranked as the most trusted government agency, and the brothers and sisters of NALC are one reason why. Since our nation’s founding, efficient and effective mail service has connected families and enabled commerce. Today, more than 160 billion pieces of mail travel through the postal system each year—many of them in the hands of a Letter Carrier.

“As President, I will stand with the Letter Carriers to protect workers’ fundamental rights to organize, to bargain collectively, to be safe on the job, and to retire with dignity and security. And I will work with the Letter Carriers to build a bright future for the postal system and postal workers in the 21st century. I know that the postal system is still a vital lifeline for American communities from coast to coast, and recognize the Letter Carriers’ vital role in building the American middle class.

“Above all, workers deserve a seat at the table and a champion in the White House. Because when workers are strong, families are strong—and when families are strong, America is strong.”

LIUNA On Historic Nomination: She’s With Us and We’re With Her!

LIUNA Members Fired Up, Energized to Elect Secretary Hillary Clinton as the Next President of the United States

Washington, D.C. (June 8, 2016) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement now that Secretary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for President:

With Tuesday’s results, Secretary Hillary Clinton has both secured the Democratic Party’s nomination for President and her place as a trailblazer in the history of this nation. Her nomination and future Presidency will be a legacy for the next generation that builds on the promise and values this nation was founded on.

On behalf of the LIUNA General Executive Board and the half-million hard-working men and women of LIUNA, we couldn’t be more proud to support the first woman to have ever won the Democratic nomination and we couldn’t be more determined to help her win this election.

For LIUNA members, “She’s with us” and “we’re with her” aren’t just catchy phrases. We’re with her because not only is she an extraordinary woman but she is the candidate whose record, experience, ideals, and policies will strengthen and safeguard our nation.

We share Hillary Clinton’s vision of a strong, proud, and united nation where hard work is rewarded and everyone has the opportunity to share in economic prosperity and to experience the American dream.

LIUNA members turned out by the thousands at events across the nation to help make this nomination possible and are fired up, energized, and mobilized to work tirelessly to make history again in November.


The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

Public School Champion, Carol Shea-Porter, Receives Endorsement From NEA-NH

Today, NEA-New Hampshire announced their recommendation of Carol Shea-Porter for the 1st Congressional District race.

Rochester, NH—NEA-NH, the largest public employee union in New Hampshire, representing 17,000 educators, has endorsed Carol Shea-Porter for re-election to Congress in New Hampshire’s First District.

“We’re supporting Shea-Porter because she is a tireless defender of public education,” said Scott McGilvray, NEA-New Hampshire President. 

“What matters now is that we elect leaders who will stand up for students, educators and working families. We need leaders who will support public education and public school students,” continued McGilvray. “We must elect leaders like Shea-Porter who share our vision for the future and who will help protect our right as working Americans to have a voice in our workplace. 

During her last term in office (2013-14), Shea-Porter advocated for the passage of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act and denounced the GOP budget cuts to the federal Head Start program.  

In 2013, Shea-Porter co-sponsored the REPAY Supplies Act,” that provides tax deductions to teacher who purchase supplies for their classrooms. The Classroom Expense Deduction allows teachers who pay out of their own pockets for classroom supplies like books, software, and rulers, to claim a $250 above-the-line deduction on their tax returns. The bipartisan Reimburse Educators who Pay for Academic Year (REPAY) Supplies Act of 2013 would have permanently extend the Classroom Expense Deduction. 

In 2014, Shea-Porter was recognized for her work advocating to children by the Campaign for Children, naming her a “2014 defender of children.

Every child in New Hampshire, from a Head Start toddler to a graduating high school senior, deserves a first-class education. In New Hampshire’s first district, we need a leader who will fight for public education. It is a top priority that we work together to support our teachers and students. That is why I am proud to have again earned the endorsement of NEA-New Hampshire,” said Shea-Porter.

Trump’s NAFTA Baloney

trump-lies-720By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Either Donald Trump is flat fibbing about the North American Free Trade Agreement or he’s clueless about the deal unions say has cost thousands of American jobs.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee wants voters—especially working stiffs–to believe he’ll ditch the trade deal when he’s president.

Trump is short on specifics about how he’d put the kibosh on NAFTA. So let’s get specific.

A President Trump couldn’t repeal NAFTA by himself. Only Congress could. So is Trump just trying to dupe John and Jane Q Citizen into voting for him, or does he really not know how government works?

Either way, the odds of getting rid of NAFTA—or successfully renegotiating the trade pact—would be better under Hillary Clinton, Trump’s almost certain Democratic foe–or Bernie Sanders should he somehow edge Clinton at the finish line.

First some background: Republican President George H.W. Bush finished completing the deal with Canada and Mexico about three months before the 1992 presidential election. Bush was seeking a second term, but he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.

The spouse of this year’s all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton got behind NAFTA. In 1993, Congress passed the trade deal, and he signed it.

The Democrats enjoyed majorities in the House and Senate, but the Republicans got the NAFTA bill passed. Most Democrats voted against it. The House endorsed NAFTA 234-200; the Senate 61-38.

In the House, 156 Democrats voted “nay” and 102 voted “yea.” Republicans favored the NAFTA bill 132-43. (The naysayers included an independent Vermont congressman named Sanders.)

The Senate split similarly: 28 Democrats opposed the legislation, and 27 were for it. Republicans favored NAFTA 34-10.

Okay, back to the present, where the GOP controls both houses of Congress. Most House and Senate Republicans still favor trade pacts like NAFTA, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which unions also vehemently reject. 

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, favors the TPP, which he says will really create more jobs. Most Democratic lawmakers side with unions and against the president.

Here’s the bottom line: If Trump is elected president, the GOP will almost certainly retain its majorities in both chambers, if not boost them. So the chance of NAFTA’s demise with a Trump presidency is virtually zero.

On the other hand, if Clinton or Sanders wins, the Democrats are apt to increase their House and Senate numbers. If the she or he wins big, the Democrats might take back the Senate and the House—or at least significantly whittle down the GOP’s margin the lower chamber.

The TPP would be toast, and NAFTA would be in big trouble.

Admittedly, Hillary Clinton backed NAFTA when the Big Dog was president. She has since changed her mind.

“Hillary has said for almost a decade that we need to renegotiate NAFTA, and she still believes that today,” maintains a Clinton campaign online Factsheet. “And she would review all of our trade agreements with the same scrutiny.”

The Factsheet also declares that Clinton would “say ‘no’ to new trade agreements that don’t meet her high bar – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hillary will hit pause and say ‘no’ to new trade agreements unless they create American jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security. After looking at the final terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, including what it contains on currency manipulation and its weak rules of origin standard for what counts as a car that can get treaty benefits, she opposed the agreement because it did not meet her test. And she will hold every future trade agreement to the same high standard.”

Trump, too has changed his tune. Before he ran for president, he was fine with outsourcing. While he never tires of trashing U.S. companies that ship jobs and production abroad, he’s a big-time outsourcer himself.

Trump flip-flops almost every time he opens his mouth, but he’s shown uncharacteristic consistency on unions. He’s anti-union.

He says he prefers “right to work” states to non-RTW states. Both Clinton and Sanders are staunchly anti-RTW.

While Trump insists union members love him, he’s determined to keep his hotel workers in Las Vegas from having a union. Clinton and Sanders support workers’ right to unionize.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called Trump “a bigot. From his anti-American proposal to ban Muslims to his horrendous comments about women and immigrants, Trump is running on hate. It seems the only group he won’t criticize is the KKK.”

Added Trumka, a former president of the United Mine Workers of America: “Those statements and positions are bad enough. But what’s getting less attention is how Donald Trump really feels about working people…

“First, Trump loves right to work. He said it is “better for the people” and his position is ‘100 percent.’ Meanwhile, he is fighting tooth and nail against workers at his hotel in Las Vegas.

“Second, Trump was a major financial backer of Scott Walker and says he admired the way Walker took on public unions in Wisconsin.

“Finally, and most disturbingly, Trump says our wages are already too high. Can you believe that? Trump is advocating the polar opposite of our raising wages agenda.

You see, Trump says he’s with the American working class, but when you look close, it’s just hot air.”

Massive Strike Against Verizon Ends As Tentative Agreement Is Reached

Union to take down pickets.
Company agrees to add good union jobs on the East Coast.
First contract for retail wireless workers.
Improves workers’ overall standard of living.

2015-07-25_Mass_Rally_Stand_Up_To_VerizonFor over six weeks now, 40,000 Verizon workers have been on strike. They have been standing in opposition to proposed cuts and potential plans to offshore American jobs.

Two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez along with federal mediator Allison Beck, stepped in to help me help resolve this massive strike.

“I’m encouraged by the parties’ continued commitment to remain at the bargaining table and work toward a resolution,” Secretary Perez said. “We will continue to facilitate conversations to help the unions and the company reach an agreement.”

On the 44th day of the strike, Perez announced that a tentative agreement has been reached between Verizon, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon’s workers, unions, and management,” said Perez. “The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification.

“This tentative resolution is a testament to the power of collective bargaining. I commend the leadership of Verizon, CWA, and IBEW for their commitment to resolving these difficult issues in the spirit of constructive engagement,” Perez continued.

Perez concluded by stating, “I expect that workers will be back on the job next week.

CWA praised the announcement and the tentative agreement. The agreement includes provisions that include improving working families’ standard of living, creating good union jobs in our communities and achieving a first contract for wireless retail store workers.

“The addition of new, middle-class jobs at Verizon is a huge win not just for striking workers, but for our communities and our country as a whole. The agreement in principle at Verizon is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people,” said Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America. “This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class.”

“This tentative contract is an important step forward in helping to end this six-week strike and keeping good Verizon jobs in America,” said Lonnie R. Stephenson, President of the IBEW. “We will be sharing the details of it with our members for approval in the immediate days ahead.

“My thanks to our members, along with those of the CWA, who made numerous sacrifices to finally come to this point,” added Stephenson.

“Our members look forward to returning to work serving their customers, working under a strong pro-worker and pro-jobs contract,” Stephenson concluded.

The strike against Verizon was not only about the contract for the 40,000 unionized workers at Verizon, it was about taking a stand against corporate greed for all working families.

“We thank the members of CWA and IBEW. They negotiated well with Verizon and elevated working people throughout the country. We applaud them for their solidarity and hard work,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.

Some say that unions are relics of the past and are no longer needed. This agreement shows that unions are the only ones to stand up for working families against the greed of Corporate America.


Author’s Note:

United_we_bargainI am pleased to write this story and congratulate all of the members of the IBEW and CWA who stood strong for 44 days. A long term strike like this can take a serious toll on workers’ families and tests the strength of their resolve.

Your strength and perseverance prevailed. Now Verizon Wireless workers all across the country will see the benefit of a strong labor contract.

Non-union workers will also see how standing together against corporate greed is the only way we are going to rebuild a strong middle class.

United we bargain, divided we beg.

Postal Workers Take Case To Save USPS To The Nation’s Largest Stamp Collection Trade Show

You’ve Got Mail Today, Will You Have it Tomorrow? 

Postal Workers, Supporters Urge 250,000 Stamp Collectors At NYC Trade Show to Join Campaign to Support USPS 

NEW YORK – The mail always seems to get through somehow, but how do you get a crucial message about mail through to the public?

Start with the world’s largest stamp show.

Members of the American Postal Workers will reach out to stamp collectors at the upcoming World Stamp Show in New York City this week to issue a warning: The future of the public Postal Service is threatened by a congressionally-manufactured financial crisis and efforts to privatize the 240-year old national treasure.

“We can’t wait to talk with stamp collectors, who understand as well as anyone how a strong Postal Service connects our country,” said Dennis O’Neil, a retired postal employee. “They can be a key constituency in efforts to protect our public Post Office.”

More than 250,000 people are expected to attend the eight-day World Stamp Show, which begins on Sat., May 28, and runs through Sat., June 4, at the Jacob Javits Center at 655 W. 34th St. in New York City. The show is held in the U.S. once every 10 years.

For the first time, the American Postal Workers Union – with more than 200,000 members at the heart of the world’s largest postal system – will have an official presence at the show. APWU members will distribute informational handouts and souvenir items, joined by supporters of an advocacy group, A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service.

The Grand Alliance includes more than 130 national and local senior advocacy coalitions, civil rights organizations, labor unions, environmental groups, and other groups concerned about the future of the U.S. Postal Service.

Priorities of the Grand Alliance include:

·      Standing up for postal standards, including door-to-door mail delivery six days a week.  USPS management is currently pursuing a failed and self-defeating strategy of downsizing and service cuts, including a nationwide downgrade of delivery standards in 2015.

·      Restore standards to July 2012 levels: According to news accounts, the USPS is not even meeting its own lower standards, with late mail having a significant impact on small businesses, senior citizens, consumers awaiting mail-order medicines, and other postal patrons.

·      Addressing a costly, inappropriate retiree health benefits pre-funding mandate, which will solve a manufactured “financial crisis” at USPS; A 2006 law created an artificial financial burden for the Postal Service with an unreasonable requirement to pay in advance for retiree health benefits. This mandate, which costs billions each year, does not exist for any other public agency or private company.

·      Adoption of a permanent moratorium on plant closings and consolidations.  Postal management can save money and enhance productivity and efficiency by using existing personnel and resources, instead of continuing to outsource key functions – including its retail operations – to for-profit companies like Staples, which are not accountable to the people.

·      Expanded services – including longer office hours, enhanced package delivery, low-cost digital access and postal banking.

·      A full and functioning Postal Board of Governors, acting as champions of the public postal service:  At present, there is only one confirmed member of the Board; eight seats remain to be filled.

“We’re at a pivotal point,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “We can allow privatizers to destroy our beloved U.S. Postal Service and leave millions of businesses and residents with second-class service – or none at all – or we can boost service, expand hours, take advantage of the booming ecommerce sector, and offer new services, such as postal banking.  

“We believe the public, starting with these stamp collectors, will favor a stronger USPS.”

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. For more information on APWU, visit www.apwu.org.

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