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Aug 09, 2021

Passing of Frank Romero, Former Organization Director

August 9, 2021  

Frank A. Romero, former Organization Director of the APWU, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 67.

Brother Romero was elected as Organization Director in 1986 and served in that position until his retirement in 2011.  He first got involved in the union at the Dallas TX BMC and held a variety of local union positions including shop steward, clerk craft director and local BMC coordinator.

Brother Romero trailblazed as the first Hispanic resident national officer and also served as the national APWU liaison to the Labor Council for Latin American advancement (LCLAA) and was the past president of its local DC metro chapter.

“The APWU family is saddened by the news of Brother Romero’s passing and extends our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to his wife and family,” shared President Mark Dimondstein. “He was passionate about the union cause and dedicated to the APWU as the path to a better life for all postal workers.”

A viewing is scheduled for 5:00pm August 23, 2021 at the Angelus Funeral Home in San Antonio TX. Funeral mass will be August 24th at 10:00am at Our Lady of Perpetual Help located at 618 South Grimes Street, San Antonio TX 78203. 

Aug 09, 2021

Statement by APWU President Mark Dimondstein on the Passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

August 5, 2021  

Today, the union movement, the APWU and postal workers are shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. On behalf of our 200,000 active and retired members, I extend our deep condolences to the Trumka family.

From the coalfields of his native southwestern Pennsylvania, to the Halls of Congress, Brother Trumka was a steady and forceful voice for working people in this country for decades. Postal workers will remember that under his leadership, the AFL-CIO fought beside us in our many struggles – from our Stop Staples campaign, to our collective bargaining with Postal Service management, to our heated battles to prevent postal privatization. He was a regular and inspiring presence at APWU pickets and demonstrations and he addressed and inspired the APWU national convention on numerous occasions.

President Trumka was first elected AFL-CIO President in 2009, after having served as Secretary-Treasurer of the federation since 1995. Before joining the leadership of the AFL-CIO, Trumka was president of the United Mineworkers of America, where he led his union through many contentious battles, including the historic 1989 strike at Pittston Coal.

Under Trumka’s leadership, the AFL-CIO shook the political world and built a worker-led coalition which succeeded in stopping the rotten Transpacific Partnership which would have failed working people in the United States and overseas.  Brother Trumka was dedicated to uniting the entirety of the working class and was long a stalwart proponent of comprehensive immigration reform. Recognizing how the rules are written against working people, Trumka was also a driving force behind efforts to reform U.S. labor law, making it easier for workers to join and grow their union. He was, and the AFL-CIO is, powerful proponents of defending and expanding voting rights.

Brother Trumka’s life in service to the working class can inspire us all. As working people, we can best honor his legacy as another mineworker leader, Mother Jones, taught us best – “to fight for the living.” Let’s honor Brother Trumka by continuing the struggle against Wall Street and the bosses, growing our unions, winning living wages for all workers, achieving a political environment that works for working people and building more workers power and justice for all.

Jul 22, 2021

Former National Officer

Thomas Neill Passes Away

July 9, 2021 

(This article first appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Thomas Neill passed away on April 23 at the age of 87. Brother Neill first joined the Post Office in 1961 in Houston, TX, following four years of military service in the United States Air Force.

Brother Neill’s service to the union began shortly after he became a postal worker, serving on the local safety and health committee. He was then elected local president for the Houston, Texas National Postal Union (NPU), a position he held for six years before his election as Texas State NPU President.

Beginning in 1973, Brother Neill served as a National Vice President of the Clerk Craft in the Dallas Region, and in 1983, was elected APWU Industrial Relations Director, holding the position until his retirement in 1995. Following retirement, Brother Neill stayed an active member of the Fort Worth Area Local Retiree Chapter.

As Industrial Relations Director, Brother Neill played an instrumental role in national negotiations and advancing the rights, benefits and wellbeing of APWU members and all postal workers.

“Words cannot express the privilege, pleasure and honor it has been to serve the APWU,” Brother Neill wrote in his farewell column before his retirement. “As in all jobs there have been bad days; but I can honestly say the times have mostly been good. There have been glorious victories and a few painful defeats. There have, however, been no regrets.” Brother Neill is survived by Sheri, his wife of 43 years, and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Apr 18, 2020

Mourning Postal Workers Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic

April 16, 2020

The worldwide COVID pandemic has tragically claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people in the United States, including over thirty-five postal workers and a number of APWU members.

“The APWU extends our deepest sympathies to the families of our members who have lost loved ones during this terrible crisis,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “The APWU family grieves as one.” We also hope for the speedy recovery of the many postal workers sickened by this disease.”

Throughout this crisis, the APWU leadership’s first priority is the health and safety of postal workers, as our members continue serving the people of this country in this time of great challenge.

Jan 21, 2020

John R. Smith, First Retirees Director, Passes Away

January 16, 2020

John R. Smith, former Retirees Department Director, passed away Jan. 11, at the age of 91. Brother Smith (known by most as “JR”) was the first ever director of the Retirees Department. At the time of his retirement from the APWU on May 7, 2005, Brother Smith had served for 12 years in the position.

Brother Smith began his postal and union career in the early 1960s. In 1964, he was elected president of the Dayton (OH) Local of the National Association of Post Office Mail Handlers (NAPOMH), before becoming president of its state organization in 1965. He was elected state president of the National Postal Union (NPU) in 1969 - an industrial union that included all postal crafts, including mail handlers. After the merger that created the APWU in 1971, Brother Smith was appointed as national vice president of the APWU’s Mail Handler Craft (the Mail Handler Division continued for decades in the APWU).

In 1981, Brother Smith returned to Dayton, and served as the president of Dayton Ohio Area Local for 11 years until his appointment as Retirees Director upon the creation of the department in 1993. 

“This has been the most rewarding work,” Smith said when he retired as Retirees Director in 2005. “Helping people to make the most important decisions they have to make in their entire lives ... not only in deciding when to retire, but in helping them make the decisions they will have to make once they have retired.” 

“I’m extremely proud of what the Retirees Department has become,” Smith said in his farewell. “When we look at other unions, we’re doing very well in membership numbers. And the contributions our retirees make to the APWU are outstanding. It’s been a great ride.”

Brother Smith’s contributions to labor and civil rights went far beyond just his APWU career. In April 1994, he traveled to South Africa with six other APWU officers as part of an 89-member AFL-CIO delegation to observe the first free and fair election in the country. The delegation observed the polls in the three-day election that resulted in Nelson Mandela winning the Presidency.

“John R. Smith was a man of God with a voice of authority who made a positive difference in so many lives.  He believed in family first and was a friend, mentor, advisor counselor, and consultant to many,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard, who joined Smith in the delegation to South Africa in 1994. “When he retired from his position as National Retiree Director, he left me with these words of wisdom: ‘stay in the fight for social justice for we have the power to create a better world.’ John’s union and civil rights work spanned his entire adult life and we will continue to uphold his legacy.”

Brother Smith also cared deeply about his community of Dayton, serving on the city’s Housing Authority Board, Catholic Elementary School Board, Little League Board, and the United Way at Work Committee. He was a Deacon at Corinthian Baptist Church and taught Sunday school.

“To me, JR was a trailblazer. At the time in your life when most people are looking forward to slowing down, JR spent over ten years building the APWU Retirees Department into a resource that would provide life changing information to APWU members and their families,” said Retirees Director Nancy Olumekor. “He encouraged retirees to stay involved in the union by organizing into chapters, to continue to help ourselves, our union and others. JR took risks and succeeded – the Retirees Department is his legacy.”

“On behalf of our entire membership, I offer deep condolences to his family,” President Dimondstein said, “and great appreciation for John R. Smith’s tremendous contributions to the well being of postal and all workers.”

Brother Smith was married for 62 years to Mrs. Ida B. Smith, who passed in Sept. 2014. He is survived by his three adult children – Darryl Smith, Cheryl Brown, and Mark Smith – their spouses, numerous grandchildren, relatives and friends.

Oct 21, 2019

House Representative Elijah Cummings,

Champion for Postal Workers, Dies at 68

October 17, 2019

The American Postal Workers Union joins the country in mourning the death of Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee is the main committee that handles postal and postal worker issues.

"We extend our deep condolences to Representative Cummings' family, his colleagues, staff and his constituents," said President Mark Dimondstein. “His dynamic leadership will be very much missed.”

"Chairman Cummings was a strong advocate for a public Postal Service and the rights of postal workers and other federal employees,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. “His tireless advocacy for civil rights and worker rights has been instrumental and his legacy is a reminder to us to continue our fight for economic and social justice.”

Sep 03, 2019

Mourning the Murder of Mary Granados

September 3, 2019

The American Postal Workers Union joins with the NALC in mourning the senseless murder of Odessa, TX Letter Carrier Mary Granados.

Mary, 29 years old, was serving the public when she was shot and her postal vehicle was hijacked in this weekend’s shooting rampage that left seven dead and many more injured.

Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family, loved ones and co-workers. The APWU is deeply saddened and our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragic event that hit at the heart of our postal community.

Jun 28, 2018
In Memoriam

Steven G. Raymer

APWU Maintenance Division Director

October 6, 1956 - June 16, 2018

06/18/2018 - Brother Steven G. Raymer, who served as the union’s Maintenance Division Director for the past 17 years, was on the union’s National Executive Board and a lifetime trade unionist died suddenly from a heart attack on June 16, 2018.  Steve was 61 at the time of his death.

“We are all deeply saddened and still in shock over the untimely passing of Brother Raymer.  Our heartfelt thoughts go to his wife Nancy, daughters Allison and Jessica, his three grandchildren and his extended family,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Up until the last days of his life, he was working on behalf of our members – getting ready for contract talks, national arbitrations and planning for our convention. We salute his many contributions over the years and his deep dedication to the APWU and its members.” 

Brother Raymer, a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp., was hired into the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in 1982 as a clerk prior to transferring to the maintenance division in 1987. In 1989, he was promoted to Mail Processing Equipment Mechanic (MPE).

In 1990, Brother Raymer was elected by his co-workers as president of the Madison Wisconsin Area APWU Local Union. He served in that position until 2001, when he was elected as APWU National Maintenance Division Director.  

As a national officer, he was fully involved in every National Negotiation since 2001. “I served with Steve for 17 years on the National Executive Board. I know how hard he worked, how much he loved the union and how deeply he cared about our members,” said APWU Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell.

During his tenure as National Maintenance Division Director, Brother Raymer negotiated hundreds of settlement agreements on behalf of the Maintenance Craft. He played a major role in issues that affected not just the maintenance division, but all members of the union. He also represented APWU on the postal and logistics committee of UNI, the global union.

“The APWU has lost a union brother, a good friend, and a mentor,” said APWU Assistant Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun

May 22, 2018

In Memoriam

Remembering President Emeritus William Burrus

December 13, 1936 - May 19, 2018

05/21/2018 - Former APWU National President Emeritus William Burrus passed away on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at the age of eighty-one.

William Burrus served as elected National President of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO from 2001-2010. He was the first African-American to be elected president of any national union in direct balloting by the membership.
Prior to his assuming the presidency, William Burrus served as APWU Executive Vice-President for 21 years, from 1980 to 2001working alongside APWU President Moe Biller.

As a top national APWU officer, Brother Burrus helped negotiate substantial gains for the members with improved wages, and benefits, rightfully earning his reputation as a skilled negotiator and powerful advocate for postal workers. He led the union negotiations of four Collective Bargaining Agreements between the APWU and the USPS, and was also directly involved with every national negotiations between 1980 and 2006. Over his decades of union leadership, he was responsible for countless Arbitration settlements and Memorandums of Understanding with postal management which greatly enhanced workplace benefits, rights and safety of APWU represented employees.

William Burrus began his employment with the Post Office in Cleveland, OH in 1958, first as a distribution clerk and then as a Maintenance employee. He was a participant in the Great Postal Strike of 1970. From 1974 to 1980, he served as President of the Cleveland APWU Local. He was a founder and the first President of the APWU National Presidents Conference (NPC). William Burrus was always proud of the fact that as local president, he, along with others, protected the economic well-being of generations of postal workers by leading the successful fight to reject a proposed 1978 Collective Bargaining Agreement that would have capped COLA increases.

William Burrus was born in Wheeling, WV. After graduating with honors from Lincoln High School, he attended West Virginia State College. He served in the 101st Airborne Division and the 4th Armored Tank Division of the United States Army between 1954-1957.

William Burrus was a Vice-President of the AFL-CIO. Multiple times he was named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans. He earned great respect from representatives on Capitol Hill as a champion of the public postal service.

“The APWU family is greatly saddened by the death of Brother Burrus,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his wife Ethelda and his entire family who generously shared brother Burrus with us over many decades. We, as postal workers, including our families and our communities, have greatly benefited from the impassioned and determined life’s work and leadership of William Burrus.”

Jun 10, 2015

In Memory

Kenny Wilson

Web News Article #116-2015

06/03/2015 - Kenneth D. Wilson, former APWU Clerk Craft Director, passed away on June 1. He was 82.

Known throughout the union as a “Turtle,” Wilson often greeted brothers and sisters with the question, “Are you a Turtle?” He laughed uproariously if got his preferred response: “You bet your sweet a--.”

Wilson joined the United Federation of Postal Clerks, a predecessor of the APWU, as soon as he was hired at the Omaha, NE, Post Office in June 1956. His first union position was editor of the Omaha Area Local newspaper.

Wilson was elected president of the local in 1965 and was credited with strengthening the organization. Working on a typewriter in his basement, Wilson led the development of the local constitution and negotiated the local agreement. Today, the Omaha Area Local office is named the Kenny Wilson Union Hall.

In 1972 Wilson become one of the first national officers of newly-formed APWU when he was elected Wichita Area Vice President. He later served as Assistant Clerk Craft Director and Clerk Craft Director, a position he held until he retired in 1992. As Clerk Director, Wilson negotiated much of Article 37 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and settled many national-level grievances.

When asked in 2011, what his greatest accomplishment was, Wilson said his proudest moment came while running for treasurer of a bowling league. The league’s constitution required that bowlers be white, but, through his efforts, the discriminatory racial restriction was removed.

After retirement, Wilson remained an active APWU member, regularly attending union events.

Wilson is survived by his wife, Etta Nielson Wilson, five children, seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two brothers. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Etta Wilson and Family, 104 Andulusian Trail, Simpsonville, SC 29681.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 6, 2015, at 2 p.m. at Community of Christ Church, 18 Cunningham Road, Taylors, SC 29687, with burial to follow in Cannon Memorial Park. The family will receive friends on Friday, June 5, 2015, from 6-8 p.m. at Cannon Funeral Home, Fountain Inn.

Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.

Dec 15, 2008
 Martin MurphyIt caused great sadness when we learned long time DMAL/APWU GMF Tour 3 Steward Martin Murphy passed away last week. Martin was a 34 year Postal employee who had been planning his retirement. Those of us who knew Martin knew him to be knowledgeable about all aspects of union administration and contract administration

Page Last Updated: Aug 09, 2021 (14:15:34)
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