Director of Education's Report
Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers
The election is over and business is booming at the Postal Service. Unfortunately our current leadership at USPS Headquarters is clueless. The Washington Post reports that PMG DeJoy’s answer to poor service is to lower the service standards, slow the mail and raise prices. Brilliant. I’m sure that will work out great.
On the bright side, we have elected the first truly pro-labor President in my lifetime and he is showing it through deeds not words. Already Joe Biden has reformed the NLRB, elected someone from the Labor Movement to be Secretary of Labor (Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a member of Laborers union Lo-cal 223 for over 25 years) and is pushing for a $15.00 an hour minimum wage. Make no mistake, Joe Biden is a blue-collar guy and he gets it. He understands the importance of a paycheck, of health and safety on the job and the importance of a union. For the first time since the early 1960’s we have a partner in the White House.
Having lived thru the last 15 years watching a Postal Service crippled in large part because of one bad piece of legislation passed in the middle of the night, hopefully now we can begin moving forward again instead of just fighting to keep what we have. The 2020 elections worked out well. Thank you to all the members who worked hard at our day job and still found time to make a phone call, read a mailing, donate a couple of bucks to the Letter Carrier Political Fund and most importantly, to vote. The election in 2020 doesn’t guarantee us success at the bargaining table but it gives us a fighting chance to protect our jobs and advance our wage and benefits and those of the people we work with.
So what’s next? Well, the Census was completed during the pandemic and while we await the final numbers it’s likely Michigan is going to lose a Congressional seat. It’s a guarantee that the boundaries of every seat in the House will be re-drawn all across the nation. Fortunately here in Michigan we passed legislation creating a citizens committee to redraw those boundaries so hopefully we will see an end to the Gerrymandering that has taken place in the past. The effect of the Gerrymandering in Michigan allowed Democratic Candidates for the State House to receive almost 200,000 more votes than their Republican opponents while allowing Republicans to still have a six seat advantage. When the maps were first drawn in 2012 Republicans managed to have a 9-5 advantage in Congressional seats while losing the vote 51% to 46% to their Democratic opponents. We will have to wait and see the results of the new maps in the coming months and how that will impact our efforts to keep Labor friendly members of Congress.
In closing, last fall prior to a vaccine announcement, your state board had several virtual meetings where we discussed this 2021 State convention and how the pandemic would impact it. Ultimately a decision was made to cancel the convention. I argued strongly against this decision. I believed then as I do now that while all of us have been expected to report to work each day during this pandemic and serve the American people the work of this Association is important enough to your livelihood that it should not be interrupted. I believed strongly that we could find an alternative venue that would allow for adequate social distancing with possible postponement and made several suggestions for ways to proceed but it was not to be. As of this writing an election for the State Board has now been scheduled to be held virtually and by mail but no full convention will be held until 2023. In the meantime, we have added an email newsletter with timely articles on current legislation effecting letter carriers, the first issue was sent out to all Branch Presidents on February 12th. If politics is really your thing or you just want to know what is going on legislatively that could impact your career you can see the back issues and subscribe (it’s free) at this website- https://www.getrevue.co/profile/MISALC and it will be delivered periodically to your email- about once a month depending on the issues we’re facing and what’s in the news. Until next time, stay safe, please consider get-ting the vaccine as soon as you can so we can all get back to ‘normal’.
-- John Serwach
Director of Education