(This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of the American Postal Workers Union)
New Year Message from Director Judy Beard
Happy New Year, union family! As the 118th Congress begins, I want to take a moment to reflect on some notable legislative accomplishments of the APWU in the last Congress.
We have proven that when we work together, we win. We fought for, and won, the passage of the Postal Service Reform Act (PSRA) of 2022. This law repealed the unfair USPS healthcare pre-funding mandate and added an obligation for transparency from the USPS regarding service standards. Additionally, the PSRA guaranteed six-day delivery and provided a prospective Medicare Integration, which goes into effect in 2025. Medicare Integration does not apply to those already retired, and both current and retired employees will remain in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB). For a short time in 2021, we won up to 600 hours of emergency Covid leave and temporarily secured an expedited process for filing Covid-related workers’ compensation claims for postal employees in the American Rescue Plan.
Most recently, we fought for, and won, $3 billion for an electric fleet in the Inflation Reduction Act. In this new year, we will keep up the fight for pro-postal, pro-union legislation. From Federal Retirement Fairness for our PSEs to Social Security Fairness for our retirees, the struggle continues.
As you are aware, no changes would be possible without you, the members. We value your support and continued participation in the day-to-day local union business, as well as your participation in the broader political landscape. Without your participation, paired with your donations to our Committee on Political Action (COPA), we would not have such a strong voice on Capitol Hill. With a divided Congress, we are reminded of the importance of working across the aisle. We remain committed to maintaining existing relationships, and forming new ones, with members of Congress over the next two years, in order to deliver results.
As this article goes to press, congressional leadership are in talks to pass a bill to keep the government open past Dec. 16, when funds run out. In addition, Congress will try to pass bills to protect same-sex and interracial marriage, and to reform the electoral count process to prevent another Jan. 6-type event. We are still fighting for Congress to vote on the Social Security Fairness Act, a requirement to track federal election ballots, and an extension of the OWCP Covid Presumption rule, which is set to expire on Jan. 27, 2023. For a list of our legislative priorities, please visit apwu.org, click “Our Union,” then go to “Legislative & Political.”
In November, millions of Americans exercised their right to vote. We want to thank each of you for voting, initiating conversations, and getting others to vote.
Notably, Illinois voters approved Amendment 1, The Right to Collectively Bargain Measure. The state will now have constitutional protections for the right to collectively bargain for the “purpose of negotiating wages, hours, and working conditions, and to protect their [employees’] economic welfare and safety at work.” This sweeping change comes on the heels of a right-to-work movement during the last governor’s tenure just a few years ago.
Thank you to every APWU member who participated in the midterm elections. Over fifty active, retired, and auxiliary members worked around-the-clock to educate voters on pro-labor candidates, critical ballot initiatives, and referendums. Additionally, thank you to every ballot monitor and alternate who helped ensure the voice of the American people was heard nationwide. Your oversight helped us identify problems and find solutions to ensure every vote was counted. î�Œ