‘Without knowledge, everything is dark’

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

Teamsters Local 727 member Berhane Hailemichael

Teamsters Local 727 member Berhane Hailemichael says, “Being in a union has allowed me to work to improve life for myself and my community.” Photo courtesy of Teamsters Joint Council 25

CHICAGO — Berhane Hailemichael has played myriad roles throughout his life. Freedom fighter. Refugee. Husband. Father. Student. Teamster. And in every role, he said one thing he always carries with him is hope.

“HOPE stands for Honest, Optimistic, Patient, Energetic. That is my anthem,” said Hailemichael, 53. “If you have hope, then you can do anything.”

Hailemichael was born in the African nation of Eritrea. At 16, he joined the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front as a freedom fighter and spent 14 years fighting for his country’s independence from Ethiopian rule.

“Nobody forced me to join. I wanted my country to be free,” he said. “I didn’t see my family for 14 years. After 14 years, my mother didn’t recognize me. I left a boy and came back a man.”

In 2000, Hailemichael came to North America as a journalist and diplomat, touring the United States and Canada. A year later, he sought asylum and brought his wife and two children to the U.S., where they have lived ever since.

Hailemichael and his family settled in Chicago. He found work with Standard Parking and joined Teamsters Local 727. At that time, Hailemichael said he was working “nine days a week” — five shifts as a garage attendant with Standard Parking and then two double shifts at a nursing home on the weekends — because his dream was to buy a house for his family.

He realized it when he bought a home in Evanston years later. But he wasn’t done dreaming.

Hailemichael next turned his attention to education for his children and for himself. His daughter and son are attending college. Hailemichael said he has tried to instill his work ethic in his children.

“I tell my kids, ‘You have no excuse to get low grades. School is your only job,’” he said. “If you have confidence, work hard, study and use time management, it’s no big secret.”

In 2010, Hailemichael attended Northeastern University. His Standard Parking supervisor, Local 727 member Debra Bolden, worked with him to arrange his schedule to accommodate classes and exams.

“I understand the value of education. I told Berhane, ‘You have a dream, and I want to help you,’” Bolden said.

Hailemichael continued working full-time at 311 S. Wacker Dr., where he is the assistant facilities manager, while working toward his degree. In 2014, he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in Justice Studies and a 3.85 GPA.

He said none of this would have been possible without the Teamsters Union and Local 727’s Educational Assistance benefit, which provides up to $10,000 in tuition reimbursement per year for each plan participant’s dependents.

“The union supports us. It’s been a blessing and has helped secure our lives,” Hailemichael said. “Without the educational assistance, we couldn’t do this. The union gave me and my children the ability to concentrate on school.”

Hailemichael isn’t done dreaming. He next wants to earn a master’s degree.

“If it takes me until I retire to finish my master’s, I don’t care,” Hailemichael said. “Education is something no one can take away from me. The knowledge is mine. With education, you can be successful. Without knowledge, everything is dark.”

He recently applied for and received a grant from United Nations University, and he currently is taking five online classes related to justice studies, human rights and human trafficking. He said it’s time for him to do his part to make the world a better place.

“Being in a union has allowed me to work to improve life for myself and my community. I am able to continue my education because of the union,” Hailemichael said. “Now, I have to do something to give back and contribute to my community.”

Hailemichael said time management, a strong work ethic and hope are what allow him to succeed in all facets of his life. He’s an exemplary Standard Parking employee, never misses monthly union membership meetings and excels in the classroom, where he often is the oldest student. But his past struggles also put things in perspective as he pursues his dreams.

“Compared with the past, any problem I face is nothing,” Hailemichael said. “When I was a freedom fighter, I would live four days without food. I was separated from my family. I did what I had to do to survive. So now, everything I face is easy because I’ve already been through the hardest things one can imagine.”

“I always say impossible is possible. Strong will, hard work, strong discipline. If you do this, impossible is possible.”
—Teamsters Joint Council 25

King’s final march

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Decades after his death, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t have possibly know we would remember his famous dream and his fight for civil and human rights — rights that have always resonated with organized labor.

Union members can never forget that Martin Luther King Jr. was supporting striking sanitation workers when he was killed in the spring of 1968 in Atlanta, Ga.

He was there protesting with 1,300 AFSCME sanitation workers who were on strike. Marchers in the streets carried “I am a man” signs to emphasize workers were human beings deserving of a respectable living wage.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said King spoke out against the kind of capitalism that sacrifices people for the sake of profits.
“We must speak out just as forcefully against an economy in which so many working women and men are struggling to care for their families, even as they work harder than ever,” Saunders explained.

King had much to say on matters of social justice and how it might be achieved, and that message has relevance all days of the year, not just when we observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Nationwide, organized labor came together to mourn, celebrate and march in memory of Dr. King.

The AFL-CIO held a 5-day Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference in Atlanta to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. King and to commemorate the accomplishments of the civil rights movement.

king_2

“This conference reinforces the historic bond between the labor and civil rights movements and honors Dr. King’s vision that collective action — whether at the voting booth or in the workplace — will mobilize participants to continue their work in order to make his dream a reality,” the union said.

Laborers’ International Union of North America General President Terry O’Sullivan said Dr. King’s legacy of is one of remarkable strides toward equality in our country; strides that many generations never saw and could only imagine. Nearly a half-century ago Dr. King identified the critical flaw of economic injustice and now, that flaw continues.

“That is why the union movement was among his most fearless advocates and why he died standing with unions. That is why the union movement today must grow in numbers and strength,” O’Sullivan stressed.

“Brothers and sisters, as we proudly honor Dr. King’s legacy, I urge each of us to use his inspiration to re-dedicate ourselves to what we stand for — justice, honor and strength — and to his mission of equality of all and economic justice for all. Without equality, our honor and strength is undermined,” O’Sullivan added.

North Aurora looks to fill 3 seats on its board

North Aurora trustee Mark Guethle

North Aurora trustee Mark Guethle is running to retain his seat on the North Aurora Village Board in the upcoming April 7 election. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2014
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

NORTH AURORA — Current village trustee Mark Guethle is looking to retain his seat on the North Aurora Village board — but he’s not alone. Four other candidates are running, with only three seats available. Running on the April 7 ballot along with Guethle are incumbents Laura Curtis and Mark Carroll, along with Anise Hesson and Alan Cavender. Each seat is a four-year term.

Guethle was a trustee from 2003 to 2005, and 2009 to the present. Carroll was appointed to the board in May 2014 to replace Ryan Lambert, who quit when he became chief of the North Aurora and Countryside Fire Protection District. Lambert’s term expires this year. Curtis is in her first term as trustee.

Friends and family gathered Jan. 15 to support Guethle at his fundraiser, held at Oak Street Restaurant.

He explained North Aurora is growing. Last year, it acquired 22 new businesses, including Massage Envy, BP Gas Station and a Dunkin’ Donuts. A Marriot Fairfield Inn & Suites is coming to the west side of North Aurora.

“This has happened with the hard work and effort of our board, the mayor and our staff working collectively for the good of our town,” Guethle said.

Village President Dale Berman said Guethle always, “gives it hell,” and expects nothing less from him this election.

North Aurora Village Trustee Mark Guethle. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

From left, Aurora Township Supervisor Bill Catching and North Aurora Village President Dale Berman show their support for village trustee Mark Guethle. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“He’s a tiger. He never quits. I’m proud to have him on our village board and for him to continue to do great things for the village of North Aurora,” Berman said.

The village has a pro-business climate, which has led to four straight years of economic sales growth, and a $3 million surplus from last year.

As Director of Painters District Council 30’s Governmental Affairs, Guethle acknowledged fellow union members who attended his fundraiser. He was proud to announce that photographs of completed projects used on his campaign literature were union projects that came in, “on time and under budget.”

As a 15-year resident of North Aurora, Guethle and his wife Louise are active in the North Aurora Lions Club, North Aurora Days and the Blessed Sacrament Church.

“I feel it’s important to stand up for our community, and that’s what I’m doing. You learn by listening to people,” Guethle said.

UFCW mourns the loss of Int’l VP Chad Young

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Vice President Chad Young.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Vice President Chad Young passed away at home Jan. 11. He was 57.

AUSTIN, MINN. — United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Vice President Chad Young passed away at home Jan. 11. He was 57.

As a young man growing up in Austin, Minn., Young was inspired by his father, Roger, who was an active union member and organizer in the United Packinghouse Workers of America, a predecessor union to the UFCW. Young was an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer in his youth, and he carried that fighting spirit with him throughout his life as he fought for workers and their union.

His life was driven completely by two words: union and family. And for Young, those two values were interlocked. The day he first clocked in to work at Hormel Foods in Austin, Minn. in 1981, he joined UFCW Local 9 and began his lifelong career as a fighter for his union family.

He stepped forward to lead as a union steward at Hormel in 1983 and again, later, as a volunteer union organizer where he worked on a number of campaigns in Iowa and Minnesota during a time of great change in the meatpacking industry. Young was also part of a team of UFCW organizers who inspired nurses in Washington State to join together in his union.

Young joined the staff of the UFCW International Union in 1988 and brought his fighting spirit and warm heart to worker campaigns across the country. He played a key role in the early efforts to win a union voice for workers at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, N.C., serving as a key leader during an election there in 1997.

In 1999, he was promoted to the UFCW International Office as Executive Assistant to the Packing House Director in Washington D.C. In 2005, Young was named Director of Region 5 — South-central, and was elected as an International Vice President in 2006. He was reelected in August 2013 at the UFCW International Convention in Chicago.

Young was a true warrior of the labor movement. He loved being a part of the UFCW. He was proud to wake up every morning and fight for working men and women. He was loved by many for his sense of humor, hearty laugh and passion for the union and its members.

Young is survived by his wife, Lynn Young, his mother Esther Young, daughters Heather Young, Ashley Young, Jamie Colbert and Kelly Colbert, sisters Mona Young and Patti Jo Corey and granddaughters Maya and Cameryn. He is preceded in death by his father Roger Young.

The viewing was held Jan. 14 in Grapevine, Texas wigth a memorial service the following day.
—United Food and Commercial Workers

Being a Labor Democrat

Tom Suhrbur

Tom Suhrbur
Illinois Education
Association (retired)
Special to the Fox
Valley Labor News
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

In this second of a 4-part series, retired IEA member Tom Suhrbur examines the labor movement and how its successes improved individual and family prosperity.

In addition to a vibrant labor movement, the federal “safety net” programs have been essential for the working class and lower middle class. Minimum wage laws put pressure on business to pay higher wages, especially for low paid workers. The federal minimum wage in 1968 was worth 48 percent more in spending power than it is today.

Social Security provides workers with disability insurance, death benefits for their families and a modest pension in retirement. It was the only income for my grandmother. After my father died, it was the sole income for my mother. Two of my brothers would be homeless today without it. A younger brother is on Social Security disability and receives food stamps.

Social Security is the major, if not exclusive, source of income for most family members. Like most moderate and low-income people, family members are just (or barely) getting by on Social Security. Likewise, Medicare is keeping most retirees alive and out of poverty. Medicaid covers many people, especially in old age, not just the poor.

When all of her savings ran out, my mother ended up on Medicaid. Medicaid and her Social Security benefit paid for nursing home care until her death. In the 1960’s and 70’s, life was good for many working class families. Much has changed since then.

The election of President Ronald Reagan was a watershed in American politics. Over the last 35 years, the Republican Party has moved increasingly to the right in its politics. Today, most Republicans support policies that undermine unions, attack the social safety net and shift wealth and income to the wealthiest Americans.

Republicans are unabashedly anti-union. Unions now represent less than 12 percent of the workforce. Since more than half of all union members are public employees, states controlled by Republicans have enacted various schemes to undermine their unions. They support outsourcing public employment for everything from prisons to toll roads and parking meters. They also have stripped public employees of their bargaining rights, cut state pension benefits, passed “right to work” legislation, lowered unemployment benefits and reduced workers’ compensation benefits.

Public education is a special target. About one third of all union members work in public education. Republicans have backed tuition vouchers for private and parochial schools. Their support for charter schools is largely based on creating a union free school system.

At the federal level, Republicans have sponsored various proposals to weaken (or eliminate) OSHA, unemployment insurance, unemployment compensation and workers’ compensation. During the Reagan and the two Bush administrations, appointments to the federal bench and the National Labor Relations Board have been anti-union. They too avidly support privatization of public employment to create investment opportunities for their corporate sponsors and to diminish labor unions.

Kindness is appreciated

By Dan Richardson
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015
Email Dan Richardson at danrichardson@foxvalleylabornews.com

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:8-12).”

The Psalmist describes God’s thoughts towards His covenantal people. When His kindness is tested, the response is consistent: He doesn’t give His people what they deserve. Don’t credit God’s mercy to any goodness in people. There is no difference between a follower of the LORD and one who denies Him. Both are guilty. The sin of a Bible believer is as damning as the sin of the unbeliever. Everyone deserves His eternal anger because everyone has slighted His infinite worth.

The difference in God’s kindness is seen in the word ‘forever.’ The LORD’s covenantal people enjoy His mercy and grace day after day and forever, while the unbelievers enjoy it for a period of time. God does not change. Since He is always angry with sin, His righteous anger will be expressed for eternity.

Do you see the word picture that fits the context of the passage? It starts in the fourth sentence. When you say, “For as high as the heavens are above the Earth,” you raise your hand to the sky. As you say, “so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him,” you lower your hand all the way down. Then, when you say the sentence about east and west, you move your hand to the left and right. The vertical and the horizontal plane created by the hand motions picture a cross.

God’s love came down in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. He came from a very high and holy place all the way down to our dirty place. He spoke truth. He revealed His glory. He loved His own even to the point of death on a cross. That’s where the new covenant was made. That’s where sins are removed.

What does fear mean? 1st John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” For 1st John and Psalm 103 to be true, we must use the correct meaning of fear. The kind of fear John is referring is that which leads to unbelief. It says, “God is angry at me therefore He is not good.”

Fear grounded in belief is different. It says, “God is angry at my sin and He should be.” Godly fear reveres divine anger towards sin. Godly fear sees love on the cross. A logical embracing of mercy follows and the burden of guilt is lifted. Grace is given. A new relationship is made. That is what Psalm 103 is about.

The benefits of God’s eternal grace apply to those who embrace the new covenant. Forsake the sin that put Jesus on the cross. Esteem the Son of God who abounds in steadfast love.

Godly Heritage Quote of the Week
“Though there have been mingled the discords of warring cannon and dying men, yet to the Christian philosopher and historian — the humble listener — there has been a Divine melody running through the song which speaks of hope and halcyon days to come.”
—Letters of James A. Garfield (1831-1881), 20th President of the United States

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

raising wages summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Setting the tone for 2015, the country’s largest federation of unions, the AFL-CIO, announced a Raising Wages Call to Action in which politicians and candidates will be judged based on their actions on raising wages.

At the AFL-CIO’s first-ever Summit on Raising Wages held Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C., AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka launched the Raising Wages campaign, putting in motion plans to raise wages for working Americans and rejecting the notion that nothing can be done about stagnant wages.

The AFL-CIO will take the Raising Wages campaign to Atlanta, Columbus, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and San Diego — the seven cities that will serve as the starting points of this long-term effort. State federations of labor will also hold Raising Wages summits in the first four presidential primary states — Iowa (this spring), Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

“Families don’t need to hear more about income inequality. They need more income,” said Trumka. “I’m eager to turn on the heat and begin judging candidates based on this issue of raising wages. They can’t just feel our pain but tell us how they’re going to raise wages for every American.”

AFL-CIO National Summit

ALF-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks at the AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages. Photos courtesy of AFL-CIO

Speaking at the summit was a fierce champion of the middle class, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who praised the AFL-CIO for spotlighting an important economic issue of our time. Despite the seemingly rosy economic picture, the senator from Massachusetts said the middle class is still in deep trouble. The rising stock market, for example, won’t help people if they don’t own stocks. People who are still unemployed won’t appreciate the lower unemployment rate.

Students who just graduated with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt won’t benefit from a low inflation. Their struggles are a result of the choices politicians make: instead of building an economy for all, they’re building an economy for some. The trickle-down economics helps the rich get richer at the expense of everyone else. As a result, young adults today will be worse off than their parents for the first time in history.

“We know that democracy does not work when congressmen and regulators bow down to Wall Street’s political power,” she said. “And that means it’s time to break up the Wall Street banks and remind politicians they don’t work for the big banks, they work for us.”

Also speaking at the summit was Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who said prosperity in this country is not being shared as productivity has gone up 80 percent but wages are stagnant. Wage theft remains a widespread problem across America. It’s costing workers $1 billion a year in California and New York alone, about 40 percent of their meager income.

“Nobody that works a full time job should live in poverty. That’s not who we are as a nation” he said.

In addition to fair wages, earned income in the form of paid leave is another big problem. In countries he’s been to, Secretary Perez said they have some form of paid leave. Not here in America where businesses and some lawmakers fight against it. He shared a story of a mother who had to put her sick child on a school bus because she couldn’t stay home to take care of him.

“You shouldn’t have to make a choice between your job and your family,” he said. “The most important family value is time spent with your family.”

AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages

AFSCME Local 1427 speaks at the AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages. Photos courtesy of AFL-CIO

Despite many obstacles, workers have had successes when they stick together. A good example took place in New York when then Papa John’s Pizza worker Shantel Walker and his co-workers fought wage theft by raising awareness in the community and bringing thousands of people to the store to confront the manager. They successfully retrieved the stolen wages for their co-worker.

The summit also featured a roundtable discussion where the audience heard from workers, business owners, academics, labor and political leaders. Jennifer Epps-Addison, Wisconsin Jobs Now executive director, brought up a point that few people thought about — that in many communities, people of color have never made it to the middle class. They have to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet.

The panelists agreed that unions are a solution to this important economic issue; when workers are unionized, both wage and gender gaps shrink significantly. The public also needs to hear the truth — that raising wages boosts the economy because when people have money to spend, businesses grow, which in turn creates more jobs. Government gets more tax revenues, which can then be invested in education and infrastructure instead of cutting funding for these important programs. Raising wages allows people to take care of their families and moves people off welfare. It’s also good for businesses as it puts more money in people’s hands.

“If [people] can’t have a party, I don’t get business,” David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Chicago, explained why he supports raising wages.

House again approves Keystone XL, now it’s up to the White House

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

keystone xl pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House voted Jan. 9 to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, setting the stage for a Senate vote this week and a face-off with the White House over final approval of the controversial pipeline.

The bill passed by a vote of 266 to 153 — more than enough to pass, but still not a veto-proof majority. This marked the first House vote on Keystone in the 114th Congress, though the lower chamber previously voted nine times to approve it. The Senate was expected to begin voting on its own Keystone approval legislation Jan. 12.

Democrats, for the most part, continued to oppose legislation that bypassed the executive decision-making process on Keystone XL. And they noted the White House has said it will veto the legislation.

Locally, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) voted against the bill to preserve environmental protections for Keystone Pipeline, adding that the Nebraska Supreme Court decision took a step in that direction.
Nebraska’s ruling cleared the way for the proposed pipeline’s route through the state. The Obama administration had been waiting for the

Nebraska ruling to render its own decision on the pipeline, which is still forthcoming.

Foster said he looked forward to the completion of the regulatory approval process for this project, yet he still voted ‘no.’

“However, I voted against this legislation because it would give Keystone XL an unnecessary exemption from the environmental permitting processes,” Foster explained.

After the Nebraska ruling became public, LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan released a statement saying he wanted President Obama to “immediately resume the National Interest Determination that he needlessly suspended last year and Democrats in Congress must stop all the excuses and end the shameful politics used to block Keystone.”

North America’s Building Trades Unions was pleased that a “bi-partisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives recognizes the potential for job creation, economic growth, and energy independence that will accrue through the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

It added that the project has been the most analyzed and studied infrastructure project in the history of our nation.

“The American public has long been clamoring for increased bi-partisan cooperation and accord. We express our hope that, once the Senate has approved this bill, President Obama embraces that sentiment as well and signs this legislation into law,” the North America’s Building Trades Unions added.

Congressman Foster also voted in favor of an amendment to require the project to pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a fund which is used to clean up after pipeline oil spills and fires on U.S. soil. Unfortunately this amendment was defeated on a largely party-line basis.

“This legislation carves out special exemptions that would allow a Canadian company to cross the entire United States without complying with the environmental laws that U.S. energy companies abide by; without requiring that they pay into the oil spill liability trust fund; and without guaranteeing that any of the oil pumped through the Keystone pipeline would stay in the United States,” Foster added.

Labor leader O’Sullivan said Americans concerned about energy independence and working men and women eager to build our nation’s energy future are encouraged by this progress.
“It’s time to move forward to unlock energy and good construction careers,” he added.

Postal service cuts disrupt workers’ lives

Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

American Postal Workers Union

To save nearly $16 billion, USPS says it consolidated 305 mail-processing plants, shortened window hours at 13,000 post offices, eliminated 23,000 delivery routes and cut 212,000 jobs since 2006. The latest cuts will increase average mail delivery times from 1.8 days to 2.1 days, the Postal Service said. The new standards will not affect packages and Priority Mail, such as medicine and most advertising materials. Photo courtesy of American Postal Workers Union

WASHINGTON — When postal officials lowered “service standards” Jan. 5, they didn’t just slow down America’s mail: They set in motion a process that is causing serious disruption in the lives of thousands of hard-working postal employees.

As management reconfigures mail processing, they are also causing massive reassignments and shift changes for workers.

“It’s an outrage,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Postal bureaucrats are virtually eliminating overnight delivery of first-class mail and periodicals, slowing down all mail delivery across the country, and jeopardizing the future of our great national treasure. At the same time, they’re causing major upheaval in the lives of workers.

“In implementing the changes, they ignored the pleas of 51 senators and 178 members of the House, who asked for a one-year moratorium on the reduction in service standard and the closure and consolidation of mail processing facilities,” Dimondstein said.

He went on to explain they disregarded the warnings of the USPS Office of Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Postal Regulatory Commission, which raised serious concerns about delayed mail. Management even overlooked the concerns of some mailing industry trade associations.

“They also ignored the demands of postal unions and the hundreds of thousands of workers we represent,” Dimondstein added.

“Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is ending his reign the way he began — undermining, degrading, and weakening the public Postal Service he was supposed to lead, and spitting in the eyes of tens of thousands of proud postal employees. Responsibility for the upheaval in the lives of postal workers rests squarely on his shoulders,” the union president said.

Dimondstein also explained the APWU has fought long and hard to stop the destructive changes from taking effect, and we intend to keep up the fight.

“Our rallying cry, ‘Standing Up and Fighting Back,’ doesn’t mean we will win every battle. But if we don’t wage the struggle, we are guaranteed to lose.

“The struggle must continue on many fronts,” Dimondstein said. “The APWU — from the national officers to members on the work floor — must renew our efforts to win support for postal legislation that restores the previous service standards. We must fight for better service and better jobs when contract negotiations get underway in February, and we must act in concert with our many allies who are demanding a vibrant public postal service for generations to come.”
—American Postal Workers Union