APWU members educate, engage, activate and build power at Legislative Political Conference
October 27, 2019
On Sunday, October 27, the All-Craft Conference continued as the APWU held its second Legislative & Political Conference. The focus was clear: educate, engage, activate and build power.
The day included multiple trainings on legislative action and political strategy. The conference concluded with a Legislative General Session and panel, Rising Up and Fighting for Our Values in the 2020 Election. The panel featured Will Attig of the Union Veterans Council, Sondra Cosgrove, League of Women Voters NV, Liz McElroy of the AFL-CIO and Jamal Watkins of the NAACP.
President Mark Dimondstein opened the General Session and highlighted the key issues at stake for postal workers in the 2020 election. He stressed that it is not enough to elect pro-labor, pro-public Postal Service candidates. We must build a strong movement to win lasting change and build power.
“We must enforce worker class protections and rebuild our power base,” said Legislative Director Judy Beard. “To do these things, we must exchange knowledge and skills to fight for our shared values. Because when we fight for them we win.”
The lesson of using collective power to win at the ballot box was a major theme throughout the day. “As much as we think money controls politics and that there’s certain people behind closed doors, we are the constituents of the people representing us,” said Cosgrove. “We have the power. We are the people who are calling the shots. We’re the boss. And people need to approach voting exactly in that way.”
McElroy touched on the need to look past elections as an end goal, and instead as a means to winning power for workers. “When we work to elect people to office at any level, it’s not so they can achieve their goals, it’s so that they can help us achieve ours,” she said.
The conference left members with a true sense of how to build and win power. “We the people have the power to make a difference if we can learn to come together and use all of our resources,” said Taylor Vinson, of the Amarillo (TX) Local. “Our unity and our voices are the most powerful thing working in our favor.”