One Guy's Point of View

April, 1987

Downsizing, is a means of attack on people's livelihood. Our life. Attempts are being made to increase our work hours. Future threats, to reduce our pay per hour in the form of delivery redesign, is a means of attack on our livelihood. Our lifestyle. Our monetary value, which equates to our time and sweat equity we put in everyday. We know what's ours and we need to keep it!

Jim Edgemon, Director of City Delivery reports that top management is starting a pilot program for 10 city routes in the Middletown Station in Louisville, Kentucky that will be like rural routes. Pay by the route not the hour. A salary. A cut in pay. This will be done for testing purposes and the pay system during the test will still be like city carriers. This does not permit management to convert to delivery redesign type or evaluated type routes throughout the country, and if management tries to create a route like this in your office, notify the Business Agent at once.

We as union letter carriers on the work room floor should make our unit better. If management cannot treat us with respect, because the bean counters are demanding too much, we must organize the craft on an unit by unit basis by educating union craft employees. We need to encourage carriers who complain about how others don't work as hard as them to recognize management's responsibility. We need to work cooperatively with management only if they do not harass all employees. We can picket the post offices or district office off the clock, but the productive clock on-the-clock is how management evaluates themselves. The clock can work for them or against them. We choose.

We should not rely on the National as if a big brother will come in and solve everything. They won't do it. The union's strength does not rely on the few on top. The strength is in the many throughout the country. The strength in a union is not in politics, but in organization, and the conditions that lead to the need for that organization. The postal strike over 25 years ago did not occur because the National called it, but because the collective in a lot of major cities organized it in response to the conditions and the U.S. political and judicial efforts that disregarded those conditions.

Today we get paid better wages than in 1970, but working conditions are being strained. Fear, paranoia, misinformation, and not learning from past errors can cause an uncertainty within both the company and the union. How we organize a response to these conditions will determine if we keep what we have or
lose more. Why does top management feel the craft employees are not productive? How do they know? Why do they feel they can speed the craft up to unsafe long term working levels? Is it just for a short while, till the next top management changes, or is it long lived? Is it because they feel our union and the leaders are too out of touch? Or is this attitude, the attitude that "Big Labor" is dead a common accepted paradigm in American corporate offices? Is Big Labor dead? Marv Runyon thinks so. He thinks that Big Labor is a thing of the past. They don't know the facts. Big labor is misinformed! But is it? The corporate executives use the term "Big Labor" as an insult. But is it?

Big Labor is not just union presidents. Big Labor is everyone who belongs to a union, who supports the efforts of the union, or who would like to belong to a union. We're just a bunch of ordinary folks who organized for their common welfare. Big Labor is not dead. Big labor is alive. You are Big Labor. It's every union card carrying member in the USPS. Every union worker in this country is Big Labor. Total numbers may have gotten smaller as companies downsize and make efforts to pit union and non-union workers, but Big Labor will not go away--because we are all Big Labor. Every NALC member is Big Labor. Every APWU member is Big Labor. I am Big Labor. We are all Big Labor.