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Maintenance: 50 Years Later
Posted On: Oct 06, 2021

Maintenance: 50 Years Later

Idowu Balogun

August 27, 2021 

(This article first appeared in the September-October issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

In 1971, five independent and separate unions representing several thousand postal workers merged to become the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO as we know it today. The five unions were the United Federation of Postal Clerks (UFPC), National Postal Union (NPU), Motor Vehicle Service Employees (NFPOMVE), Special Delivery Messengers (NASDM), and the National Association Union of Post Office and General Service Maintenance Employees (NAPO & GSME).

The July 1971 joint statement on mergers into APWU stated: Your Officers now pledge to do everything possible to carry out your mandate. Every effort will be made to achieve unity in spirit and in action. We now are one union and we must think and act as one. We intend to live by majority rule as defined by the APWU constitution because only if all respond affirmatively to the will of the majority can democratic procedures prevail.

NAPOGSME President Monroe Crable became the first National Maintenance President, now known as APWU National Director of the Maintenance Division; with Bill Kaczor and Richard Wevodau as his Assistants.

Richard Wevodou became the next National Maintenance Director, followed by Director Thomas Freeman.

James (Jim) Lingberg, from Dallas, TX, became Maintenance National Director in the early 1990s. Brother Lingberg previously served as Bulk Mail Center (BMC) Coordinator prior to becoming the National Craft Director. Among other notable victories, in 1993 Brother Lingberg was instrumental in job consolidation and seniority becoming the determining factor in promotions, outstanding union achievements. Notable resident officers that served with him were Edgar Williams, Randy Sutton, Jake Jackson, Malcolm Smith, Bobby Donelson and Gary Kloepfer.

Steve Raymer, from Madison, WI, became Maintenance Director in 2001. He was responsible for multi-milliondollar MS-47 settlements before Arbitrator Das. Under his leadership, Maintenance agreed on the creation of the MS-47 TL-5 that brought in millions of dollars on Line H settlements year after year, as well as the establishment of an all-career workforce in the Maintenance Division. Notable Maintenance resident officers that served with him were Gary Kloepfer, Jake Jackson, Gregory See and Idowu Balogun.

Idowu Balogun, from Los Angeles, CA, became the National Maintenance Director in 2018, after the untimely passing of Steve Raymer. The other current Maintenance Resident Officers are Jimmie Waldon, Assistant Director A, and Terry B. Martinez, Assistant Director B. Together, they were responsible for the POStPlan enforcement, Individual Open Season instead of every three-year open season, Building Equipment Mechanic MS 1 settlement, ET 11 2021 Local Memorandum of Understanding and several COVID- 19 MOUs. We are also currently being represented by nine National Maintenance Business Agents and three All Crafts Business Agents, working throughout the country.

National Negotiations Are Underway

The 2018 National Collective Bargaining Agreement with the USPS will expire September 20. Negotiations opened on June 22, three months prior to the expiration of our current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Maintenance Negotiation Craft Table participants are: National Maintenance Director Idowu Balogun, National Assistant Director A Jimmie Waldon, National Assistant Director B Terry B. Martinez, NBA Northeast Region Dave Sarnacki, and NBA Eastern Region Jason Treier.

Your Maintenance Team met the with Postal Service immediately after the Opening Day of Contract Negotiations. To say the least, we were fired up and ready to go. We are currently scheduled for a weekly meeting via Zoom and once a month negotiations in person in Washington, DC, until the final weeks of negotiations in September, when we will start meeting daily in person at a lock down location.

The Maintenance resolutions from past conventions are the backdrops of our proposals. Our goal is to continue the growth of the Maintenance Division, increase your standard of living, protect your jobs and ensure our future as a craft.

It is an honor of a lifetime to be your voice and your advocate in the 2021 Craft Negotiations. We are looking forward to delivering to you a negotiated contract. As this issue was being finalized for press, Assistant Director Waldon announced his planned retirement (See page 27). His replacement will be announced in the next issue of The American Postal Worker.


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