Executive Board Report
Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers
Matt Tanner, Chairperson
Hello sisters and brothers:
I hope everyone is staying safe. As we settle into 2021 there is hope on the horizon to settle back into a normal life. Well, I guess more normal than 2020.
With the elections behind us we are starting to see some positive things in regards to our jobs. It is exciting to see our issues being addressed or at least talked about. Do not be afraid to contact your Congressman or Senator and thank them for their support. I am quite sure our enemies are trying to get their foot in the door and getting them to change their minds just as we do with our enemies... Send them a thank you card or maybe just call them and say thank you. That goes a long way. WE need to show some love to our friends in Congress. Let us play some offense and not always rely on our defense.
Is anyone else tired of arguing amongst ourselves? What happened to looking out for each other? We are not here to make friends. We are here to provide for our families and make a comfortable living. Why can’t we understand that it is okay to be different? We should be using our differences to help us better our situation. Let us all work on lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down. Let us each respect one another and not force our beliefs on to the other. They say variety is the spice of life. There is enough negativity out there, we do not have to add to it.
In tough times we should look to our mentors and follow their lead. Region 6 has some amazing leadership. Anyone that has been on any of the Region 6 calls, we still hear and see our retired leaders. On most of our calls we still hear from our legends…. Ernie Kirkland, Pat Carroll, Jimmy K (no way I am going to try to spell that name) and the Godfather himself, Ron Brown. Along with our NBA Troy Clark both RAA’s David Mudd and Kyle Inosencio, we continue to have some great support and insight into these trying times. I am so grateful for their continued support and guidance. It just goes to show that these people signed up for a lifetime not just their term. They too went thru tough times and have come out stronger from them. As I stat-ed in the very beginning…. sisters and brothers… I think of you as my work family and will do what I can to help. Let us make 2021 our best year yet.
I would also like to congratulate Mark Judd and Paul Roznowski on their retirements. I am sure, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, both of you will stay involved. However, I do want to say thanks for fighting for letter carriers for multiple decades. I truly appreciate both of your sacrifice and guidance. All letter carriers benefit from leaders like both of you. Next time we can actually hang out, I owe you both a few drinks! Enjoy every day brothers, I will be joining you both December 1st of 2030…man that feels like for-ever away!
Good news… by the time we are reading this it should be Spring! GO TIGERS!!
I believe as the NALC Michigan State Board our mission is to educate, communicate, and motivate. I believe this should also be a priority for each of our members.
To educate is truly a full-time job and for this we need our Congressional District Liaisons (CDL) to be involved. We need them educating branch members on legislative issues. Branch presidents I hope you will empower CDL’s in your area to spread the word regarding legislation that may affect our jobs. CDL’s I ask you to be assertive. Educate yourself and speak up. If you need support, we are here to help. Keeping our members informed is only the first step. As members we must educate ourselves as to what could affect our jobs and our quality of life. We must also educate our representatives as to our issues. We need to let them know that our members are every bit as diverse as our society. Our representatives need to know that we are vocal, and we vote. Please do not hesitate to contact your representatives regularly.
When it comes to our representatives, the more they hear from you, the more likely they are to listen to us as an organization. You do not need to write a thesis on postal legislation. Just send a note, call, or email. Your efforts send a clear message. This is why communication is important. The same is true for our members. There is no need to badger our members or try to get them to agree with you on issues. Take the opportunity to write articles for branch newsletters. Take the opportunity to speak up at branch meetings or events. It’s as simple as saying hey, please contact our representatives about this bill or did you hear about this issue. Communication is a tool to keep people engaged. It keeps the issues present in our minds. Brothers and sisters, this is how we motivate people into action.
Motivating people to action is not the easiest thing to do. Our political representatives in the NALC can only do so much. They need our members support. They need your support! This is why we communicate and educate, ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the NALC. We need to accept that our voice has power. Especially when we speak it in unison. You do not need to be a union representative to help fight for our jobs. You can let our brothers and sisters know that you contacted your representatives. It just may motivate them to make the call. If a Senator hears from twenty-five of us it will be noticed. If they hear from a hundred of us it will send a strong message. What if they heard from a thousand of us? That is how we change things. I ask you to consider what is important to you and how losing your job or your rights would affect your life. Job security, retirement, stability for the USPS and its employees, union rights and protections, the list goes on. Set your calendar and once a month send a message to your representatives. Be the voice that will not go away. Apathy is our enemy, not politics. Let our voice be heard.
NALC Legislative Updates, Feb 04, 2021
USPS Fairness Act Reintroduced in House and Senate
This week, the USPS Fairness Act was reintroduced in the House (H.R. 695) and Senate (S. 145). Both bills would repeal the mandate that the Postal Service “prefund” decades’ worth of health benefits for its future retirees, enacted through the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006. In the House, the bill was reintroduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Collin Allred (D-TX) along with 219 bipartisan original co-sponsors. Exceeding 218 cosponsors demonstrates that a majority of Congress supports the measure making it more likely to be considered on the House floor. As letter carriers recall, the USPS Fairness Act passed last Congress by a vote of 309-106.
“The unreasonable prefunding mandate has threatened the survival of the USPS and placed at risk vital services for the millions who rely on it,” said DeFazio. “The prefunding mandate policy is based on the absurd notion of paying for the retirement funds of people who do not yet, and may not ever, work for the Postal Service. I’m hopeful that, under a Biden Administration, we can finally repeal this ludicrous policy, provide the USPS with critical financial relief, and take the first step towards much-needed comprehensive reform.”
“We care about solving the Postal Service’s financial burdens to ensure millions of Americans, particularly those in more rural areas, do not lose access to critical postal services,” said Reed (NY-23). “The prefunding mandate is unfair, uneconomic, and inhibits the USPS from focusing on the services the American people rely on, including life-saving medication deliveries or high priority mail. Congress must act to restore the financial integrity of USPS.”
“As the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, I vowed to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to address the Postal Service’s long-standing financial problems. I’m very proud of the legislation that we introduced today to accomplish this shared goal,” said Maloney. “I am laser-focused on fixing the Postal Service’s financial problems, which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. I hope this bill swiftly passes Congress and becomes law.”
“This unfair law has put the Postal Service in a horrible financial position, preventing USPS from investing in services beneficial to our community,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will end this mandate and solve the most pressing financial problem facing our letter carriers and post offices across the country.”
“Since 2007, the onerous prefunding mandate has hampered the Postal Service’s ability to invest in infra-structure and services,” said Allred. “I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both chambers in introducing this legislation to get rid of the mandate and allow the Postal Service to function unobstructed like every other federal agency.”
In the Senate, the bill was reintroduced by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI).
“The United States Postal Service is essential to Montanans across our state, especially for our seniors, veterans and rural communities,” said Daines. “My bipartisan bill will ensure that the Postal Service stays in business providing world class delivery of our mail every day while also ensuring its employees maintain their benefits.”
"There is no reason we should be requiring the USPS to prefund its future health and retirement benefits. It’s an unnecessary burden that is jeopardizing its financial health," said Schatz. "This is an easy fix that will dramatically improve USPS's finances and ensure mail delivery can continue uninterrupted."
The prefunding mandate has cost an average of $5.2 billion annually since 2007 and is responsible for 84 percent of USPS losses over the last fourteen years. Last Congress, just as momentum was building following the House vote, Covid-19 and Senate Leadership refused to act on the bill. Fortunately, with new Senate Leadership and a strong desire to address this mandate, coupled with support for repeal from the new administration and the Postal Service, the landscape is favorable for repealing the mandate.
“Last Congress, our effort to repeal the prefunding mandate was derailed by Covid-19,” said President Fredric Rolando. “We appreciate the leadership of the members in the House and Senate to bring the USPS Fairness Act back to the forefront of its legislative agenda. Passage of this bill is critical to our success on postal reform efforts. NALC remains committed to working with Congress on all options that can bring financial stability to this agency so that we can continue to serve the public.”
Greetings Brothers and Sisters! As I’m sure you all know by now the Michigan State Association convention has been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. I will miss seeing all of you this year but safety is paramount. However just because we can’t meet in person doesn’t mean we can’t conduct some business. President Blassingame and Secretary Grant have worked diligently to ensure that we observe the requirements of the State Association. We will be meeting virtually to conduct nominations and elections. The State Board is also continuing to educate the members on legislative issues. Director of Education Serwach has been tireless in his research to make sure we have all the facts to make sound decisions on the political bills that affect letter carriers. The entire board continues to serve the best interests of our state members.
Another tradition that occurs at every convention is the presentation of the Fred Hermann steward of the year and the Dan Florkowski activist of the year award. Branch Presidents submit members from their Branch for these awards and the State Executive board reads the submissions and selects the winners. Steward of the year nominees are stewards who go above and beyond in representing their members. Activist of the year nominees are those who exemplify what a well rounded and dedicated member accomplishes. I encourage every Branch President to submit members for these prestigious awards.
We have recently been through many changes on the National level. I would just like to encourage everyone to remember we are brothers and sisters in this great organization and solidarity on the issues that affect our jobs is what wins us the race. I hope you are all doing well and I look with hope towards seeing you in person in 2023.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
As we head into 2021, let’s try to put 2020 behind us. The Covid Pandemic is real – we will and must over-come it. Wearing a mask and social distancing might be here to stay. We all have to think positive and move on.
Some Republicans and their supporters are trying to overthrow the democratic process. Now that doesn’t surprise me at all. We must keep on pushing forward. We must keep hope alive. Now that the Democrats control the Senate, House and the Presidency, we must stay focused. Talk to and write your representatives to vote for Pro-Labor and Postal-related issues. Now is the time to get our bills and reforms through Congress.
Sisters and Brothers – we must stay diligent. Please try to give more to the Letter Carriers Political Fund. Now that the Democrats control Congress, we must move with urgency. My fellow Letter Carriers – “He is great who can do what he wishes; he is wise who wishes to do what he can.” August Iffland