I would like to first off thank the membership for giving me the opportunity to represent Branch 78 at the NALC 68th Biennial Convention in Minneapolis Minnesota. The convention was very informative with many speakers to listen too and workshops to attend. In my opinion, the best speaker was Ron Bloom from the investment bank Lazard Group, LLC. Many of you may recognize both of those names. The NALC has hired them as advisors to consider the current USPS financial crisis and its long-term challenges.
Mr. Bloom was an amazing speaker. The information he gave the delegation wasn't all peaches and cream however. This Union and the Postal Service are at a crossroads. The Postal Service believes that it needs to “shrink to survive”, the NALC believes in new revenue generation, new services, and the continuation of six day delivery among other things. The steel industry did the same thing the Postal Service is doing now; retreat, retreat, retreat.
Like the steelworkers union, the NALC will need to try and lead the restructuring of the industry on its own, focusing on five arenas: politics, collective bargaining, corporate operations and finances, industry structure, and management. If we as a Union don't “stand up for the industry, nobody will, because at the end of the day, nobody cares more about these institutions than the people who work for them.” Mr. Bloom said “The history of the Postal Service teaches us that we need three things to succeed: A leader with vision who wants the Postal Service to win; a Congress that sees the value of the network; and letter carriers who stand up for themselves and this institution.”
We as a Union, can do great things. One way is by giving to COLCPE. This is one of the arenas Mr. Bloom talked about. Every member, scab, and employee knows that politics is a money game; no money and you don't play. That is why giving to COLCPE is a great way for the NALC to get into the game. The Gimme 5 program is an easy way for us to help those that help us. I believe that $5 per pay (the minimum for the program) is something we all can afford. How much is your job worth to you?
Mr. Bloom stated a very important fact. The Postal Service has the NALC. “Whether the USPS survives really does rest on letter carrier shoulders.” I was texting back and forth with another carrier last night and the topic of our future came up. He asked how long do we have? My response was very candid, the 5% of Union membership can not do the work of 100% of the membership. This Nation, the Postal Service and this Union needs the 95% to get off their asses and fight for our jobs, our families, and our futures!
If we are to survive this time of transition as employees of the Postal Service and members of the NALC, we ALL need to work to do anything in our power to secure our future.
The article was first published in the Branch Bulletin September 2012