NALC President's Message
Send a message on Election Day -U.S. Mail: Not for Sale
Labor Day is not only a day to celebrate workers and their unions, it also marked the unofficial opening of this year's midterm political campaign leading up to the November 6 election, when all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and about a third of the Senate will be on the ballot. The stakes for federal and postal employees could not be higher. The Trump administration, which just before Labor Day called for canceling the scheduled federal employee pay raise for 2019, has set up a task force to spell out the details of a plan to restructure and privatize the Postal Service. What happens to these outrageous proposals will be determined by the results of the midterm elections.
Over the past several months, our legislative and political organizers (LPOs) have been crisscrossing the country, working with branches and state associations to educate our active and retired members about the legislative risks we face, the congressional audience we must convince to support us, and the tools we have to achieve our legislative goals. But every two years, we get to do more than just lobby our representatives in Washington; we get to exercise our right to vote to decide who represents us in Congress. By the time you read this, Election Day will be just days away. I want to discuss what is at stake in this election and what we are doing to help you make informed voting decisions.
"The biggest threat to our democracy is not who resides in the White House or which party runs Congress. The biggest threat is voter apathy."
"We need new leadership in Congress to help us fight back."
Every election is a crucial one for federal employees, including letter carriers. Unlike most Americans, our elected representatives are also, effectively, our bosses. They have a direct say over every aspect of our working lives-ranging from the mundane (how many paid federal holidays we have) to the serious (whether we have a union and how much our retirement annuities will be) to the existential (should there be a government-owned Postal Service?).
This last example is not hyperbole. In June, the Office of Management and Budget (0MB) released its plan for reorganizing the federal government. Its section on USPS proposed to restructure the agency to prepare it for privatization and indicated that President Trump's postal task force would fill in the details in its upcoming report, which has not been released yet.
Even if the task force does not propose full privatization, it could propose truly draconian "reforms" that could directly affect our jobs, such as banning USPS from competing with private companies in package delivery ( currently the fastest growing part of the mail industry), or revoking our right to negotiate our pay and conditions with the Postal Service. Both ideas have been floated within the task force.
However, the important thing is this: None of these ideas can happen unless Congress approves them. So who serves in the House and Senate, and what they think about the Postal Service, letter carriers and the rights of private-sector and public-sector workers, will make all the difference in the world. We need to elect representatives and senators who will block these terrible ideas. We need to elect politicians from both parties who support us, our employer and our rights to a union. We call it an "NALC majority"-meaning men and women who will stand with us on the issues.
New leadership needed
NALC is proud to support candidates from both parties. Because USPS is not a partisan issue and our members come from all points on the political spectrum, we welcome and need support from both Democrats and Republicans. This election will be no different the voter guide discussed below will highlight friends in both parties. At the same time, we must also recognize that, in Congress, which party leads really matters. The leadership sets the agenda and controls who chairs the committees with jurisdiction over the Postal Service and the federal workforce.
The current leadership is failing federal and postal employees. It has actively blocked sensible postal reform, putting our jobs and economic security in danger, and has proposed huge cuts to our retirement and health benefits. At a time when the White House is attacking the Postal Service, freezing federal pay, issuing anti-union executive orders, placing anti-union justices on the Supreme Court, and packing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with anti-worker corporate lawyers, we need new leadership in Congress to help us fight back. Keep this in mind when you vote.
NALC voter information
Not everybody "votes their pocketbook." I get that. But if your job and your standard of living are important to you, and if you need information about the candidates who want to represent you in the House and Senate, the NALC website has the information you need to help you decide. Go to nalc.org/voterguide to access this information by your residential ZIP code. We've carefully compiled information on issues key to letter carriers to inform them of where incumbents and candidates stand.
Our focus is to provide our members with a simple narrative on the issues most important to us: retirement and health benefits, the Postal Service, and workers' rights. You also can learn more about these issues on Oct. 8, when the four postal unions will hold rallies across the country to oppose privatization of the Postal Service.
'U.S. Mail: Not for Sale'
We will hold rallies across the country to mobilize our members and their communities to make the Postal Service a voting issue on Nov. 6. Working in cooperation with the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA) and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), we have scheduled hundreds of rallies near congressional district offices, campaign headquarters and Senate field offices to send a clear message to the public: The U.S.
Mail is not for sale. We will rally in opposition to privatization and to maintain high-quality universal service for all American people.
At the same time, these rallies aim to protect our jobs, our retirement benefits and our standard of living by letting every candidate for federal office know that the Postal Service is a voting issue in this year's election. The Postal Service has the overwhelming support of the American people-88 percent of Americans give USPS a favorable rating, making it the most popular agency in the federal government. We must educate them about the danger posed by the White House Task Force on the Postal Service, which recently announced that its report will be delayed until after the election. We must expose this lack of transparency and make sure that our members and voters know what is at stake on Nov. 6.
A final note: Vote
Our country is deeply polarized right now. We all know that. There is a lot of loose talk about our endangered democracy. It is worrying. But I think the biggest threat to our democracy is not who resides in the White House or which party runs Congress. The biggest threat is voter apathy.
In 2016, more than 100 million eligible voters failed to vote on Election Day-nearly half the country. In recent midterm elections, only about a third of eligible voters cast a ballot. That is the real crisis of our democracy. Please do your part and vote, and urge all of your family and friends to do the same. Like the Postal Service, our democracy is worth fighting for.
-- Fredric II. Rolando
National Association of Letter Carriers
Wayne County, MI
AFL - CIO
September / October 2018