NALC NATIONAL CONFERENCE REPORT
This month's report is separated into five pages and was created with the combined effort of the following Branch 2184 Officers:
Page 1) Mark Judd, President
Page 2) Walt McGregory, Executive Vice President
Page 3) Joe Golonka, Vice President
Page 4) Jackie McGregory, Recording Secretary
Page 5) Cathy Tondreau, Financial Secretary-Treasurer
(Continued from page 2)
Legislation and Politics
Fred began this portion of his report by reminding those assembled that “if you are going to be a leader, you MUST engage in politics.” Many find this subject to be distasteful, but ultimately, there is nothing that matters more. As Fred bluntly put it “the most dangerous challenge we face are the attacks on our jobs and our wages through legislation.” We simply must educate our members at the branch level about the very real dangers we face from attacks by our political enemies, and this is done through effective communication at the station level and outside of the workplace when opportunities are present.
For many NALC leaders at the local level, that means leaving our comfort zone, but so be it. This has nothing to do with political campaigning for elections, but instead is about the real and present dangers, beginning with the details of any postal reform legislation. Any such legislation MUST address the onerous retiree healthcare
premium prefunding mandate that was included in the 2006 Postal Reform and Accountability Act, and requires the Postal Service, alone among any company or agency in the United States, public or private, to pay $100 billion in healthcare premiums in advance.
The continued existence of this issue alone ensures that the Postal Service will remain financially unsustainable until the prefunding requirement is rescinded, even if
the USPS is making money on products and services. Moreover, this has opened the door for our political opponents such as the current administration to attack Postal
Service wages and benefits for both active and retired employees.
Additionally, the Trump administration’s proposals attack the universal service business model of the Postal Service itself, and they open the door for private competitors. Thus, additional postal reform is essential, but it must be positive postal reform and it must have bipartisan support. The fate of the Postal Service is ultimately in the hands of 535 United States Congressional Representatives and Senators.
A second area of political and legislative concern is the proposed federal budgets from the current administration, which are debated by Congress and eventually approved, often with substantial changes, some of them good and some bad. The latest budget proposal from the Trump administration is filled with direct attacks on active and
retired postal and federal employees, including but not limited to increased retirement contributions and decreased retirement benefits, such as the elimination of the Social
Security Supplement for FERS retirees. It is essential that these proposals are stripped from any budget passed by Congress, but we need majority bipartisan support for this
A third and extremely dangerous threat involving legislation and politics is the White House Task Force Report on the Postal Service. In addition to the attacks on active and retired postal employees previously discussed, the Task Force report recommends doing away with collective bargaining for wages and benefits, as well as doing away with the postal monopoly on essential mail. Many of our members are still not aware of these threats, or they are aware but are making a grave error by not taking them seriously. However, we do have a strong collective voice, but only if it is raised.
Fred reported that even in the face of these threats, there are things that make us strong. We do have friends in Congress from both political parties, who are members
of Congress that just want to do the right thing for their constituents as well as the Postal Service and its employees. The Postal Service and letter carriers are widely loved
by the American public. However, there are other members of Congress that must be approached and their views cultivated. Politicians are motivated by the desire to be reelected, and to do this they need both money and votes. Yes, the NALC has its Letter Carrier Political Action Fund (LCPF), but our enemies also have their PACs.
The purpose of the LCPF is simple and straightforward, to support those that support us, regardless of political affiliation. Yet, only 9% of NALC members contribute to the single most important resource we have for keeping the wolves away from the door. In most instances, this is again the result of an absence of education; and our members
simply do not understand the gravity of what is at stake for them personally as well as their families.
Other NALC Issues
President Rolando then reported on other issues that directly impact letter carriers, including outside predators seeking to financially benefit by providing dubious
“retirement counseling” and fraudulent financial advice to retiring and retired letter carriers. Another area where sleazy outside predators abound is in the realm of injury
compensation and OWCP claims, including matters such as schedule awards. Letter carriers simply do not need an attorney taking 30-40% of their schedule award when they can receive free and highly competent assistance from trained NALC experts. In fact, there is no valid reason to ever be paying an attorney for assistance with any aspect of a workers compensation claim.
Fred also reported on the NALC Disaster Relief Foundation that was established to provide on the ground assistance to NALC members impacted by natural disasters. He then discussed the concepts of self-management and co-management of letter carrier work, ideas that are especially relevant given the current excessively micro-managed workplace climate in the Postal Service. President Rolando closed by taking numerous questions from the letter carrier representatives present at the National Conference, pertaining to issues of both local and national significance.