Even when retired the struggle continues
by Scott Morrow, DMAL Retiree Chapter President
As the President of the only retiree chapter chartered by the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) in the great state of Colorado, there is a requirement to work closely with the Denver Metro Area Local (DMAL) of the APWU. That includes the officers and executive board (EB). Without the local’s support there would be NO Retiree Chapter. Our membership is grateful for the support we have received over the past years.
With the local’s support we continously struggle against the RepubliCon’s who intend to take everything from us and give it to the economic royalists. For example, most recently a tax scam was passed that will add at least $1.5 TRILLION to the US debt that has now surpassed $21,000,000,000,000! Debt and deficits just don’t matter under the dark side’s administration thereof. But wait, there’s more…. They are now planning how to cut Social Security, FERS, CSRS and Medicare benefits because predicitibly, the debt is now soaring. Doesn’t matter to them that none of these programs are on budget or causing a single penny of the deficit spending because we prepaid our benefits over decades of work out of every single pay check. Thus why, for example, the social security trust fund has about $3 Trillion in surplus funds by purchasing the most sought after investment vehicle in the world, USA Treasury Bonds.
The Chapter also struggles on a daily basis to get a voice and a vote in the local’s deliberations and at the National Convention. Under the national constitution and bylaws, Retirees get five, count them, five delegates to the National Convention out of thousands who attend. The APWU and local constitutions only allow our retirees to have a voice and/or vote if such retiree pays a years worth of FULL dues, amounting to a nearly $700 annual poll tax, on any retitree wanting full involvement with their democratic union.
The Chapter has tried on a few occasions to change the local constitution to allow one or two retirees to attend the National Convention, with voice and vote at NO expense to the DMAL membership. We proposed sending a couple of the 75 delegates the local is entitled to from the Retiree Chapter with the Chapter Treasury picking up the tab for the travel, lodging, etc.
When that proposal hit the floor with a thud at an Executive Board Meeting, we attended to present our proposed changes, we adapted and our membership authorized us to offer up: 1. that we would pick up the tab for the expenses and 2. pay a full year of DMAL dues for each delegate certified for the national convention.
That proposal was also unceremoniously shot down by the DMAL Executive Board because the local constitution while giving the Executive Board full authority to place the proposed change before the DMAL membership, also provides for a petitioning process to get the proposal before the members. Our Executive Board preferred the Chapter follow those constitutional provisions.
That decision requires the Chapter to get five full dues paying members of the DMAL to sign the latest proposed changes for submission to the DMAL Constitution Committee, no later than August 12, 2018. We are currently working on getting a voice and vote for a single (or two) Retiree Chapter members via a change to the DMAL Constitution and Bylaws. If you are asked to sign the proposed change, please help us in our struggle for participation in the DMAL democratic process.
Another example of our struggles with our great DMAL/APWU concerns freedom of the press, aka Mountaineer. One of our Chapter Brothers, Garland Lewis, is a published author! His request to pay the DMAL funds to advertise his book in the Mountaineer was outright rejected by the DMAL Executive Board. I find it understandable that the Executive Board would try to censor his book since it has a couple sentences in the entire volume of criticism about DMAL and one of its current Executive Board Officers.
However, our DMAL is a democratic organization built upon a foundation of transparency and freedom of expression, at EVERY level. In fact, every member of DMAL is covered by a Bill of Rights, of which, number five says, “Every member has a right to freedom of the press”.
But wait you say, Brother Lewis is not technically a member of the DMAL because he doesn’t or has not paid the full year of dues. Well, there you go, a perfect example of the DMAL retiree’s struggle for access to not only the DMAL democratic processes, but also something as fundamental as the Bill of Rights!
It would also be easy to argue that an advertisement in the Mountaineer is NOT part of a member’s unambiguous and unadulterated right to freedom of the press. So be it, if so, yet shouldn’t we all strive for the complete inclusion of our retirees who have paid tens of thousands of dollars in dues over the course of their working careers?
Many would answer no, while some say yes. That is what promulgates the struggle, the democratic process itself! However, hear this, it will not be long, as in just a few years down the road, that retiree’s will outnumber actual working APWU members. If the full dues paying membership continues their seemingly anti retiree conduct at that point, I will be the first to scream from the rooftops, a minority group is calling all the shots in our allegedly democratic institution or in other words, “Apartheid”.