Reports From Your

Executive Board

 

Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers

John Dick, Chairperson

 

There it sits now. The Nike store on 1261 Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. It’s trademark “Swoosh” logo overshadowing the events from decades past. Looking Back, Moving Forward.

 

February 27, 1937. This Nike store was once the site of one of Detroit’s Woolworths stores, the Walmart of its time. It was the largest retailer in North America, with over 2,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada. It employed low-wage workers, mostly young women from the age of 16 years old and up. They paid 25 to 28 cents per hour and the women worked 52-hour work weeks with no overtime. They paid to have their own uniforms laundered. The family that owned the stores was vehemently anti-union.

 

The ladies were fed up. They knew they deserved more. They devised a plan and carried it out. On this cold Saturday morning in 1937, a whistle blew. The store was packed with customers. The young female workers of Woolworths escorted the customers out of the store. They then locked the doors in protest. The Woolworths Sit-Down Strike of 1937 began. The ladies whooped and shouted in Solidarity.

 

The bravery of these budding young women decidedly did the impossible. They took on the largest retailer in the United States. They locked themselves inside the store, in complete defiance of the law and big money. They were righteous, and they knew it. And the whole country began watching.

 

They had organized themselves into committees to conduct an orderly sit-in. There was a food committee, a beauty committee that kept their hair and make-up in fashion, a cleaning committee, a publicity committee, and more. When Saturday night came along and the ladies started complaining about not being able to see their boyfriends, a Love Booth committee was formed. The boyfriends were snuck in for five-minute private time. Legend has it that most of the ladies said that was three minutes too long!

 

The Sit-Down Woolworths Strike lasted eight days. 108 women gained much favorable publicity from the local and national press; the company finally negotiated a settlement. The strikers won a five-cent an hour raise, a 48-hour workweek with time and a half after 40 hours, paid uniform laundry by the company, and half pay for the eight days they were locked in the store. And most importantly, they won the right to a closed Union shop. They were now all part of the Restaurant and Hotel Employees Union.

 

The windows of this Woolworths store on Woodward once proudly displayed the hand-made letters that spelled “WE WON.” I believe in the words of Myra Wolfgang, the leader of this sit-down strike, who famously stated “WOMEN WERE IN LABOR BEFORE MEN WERE BORN.” Let us all support the many striking men and women today who are bravely on the picket lines earning only strike pay while they demand what they have worked for. The past has taught us that the working class only gets its fair share when it is demanded. Eat The Rich; they give us breadcrumbs when we need bread. And let us pass on the stories of working-class struggle from the past to our children, the history they should be learning in school. Looking Back, Moving Forward.

 

 

Tonya Casey

 

New carriers, there is a great importance to attending union meetings and trainings. Finding out what is happening around you as well as in other stations; to know what management is going to focus on next is critical. The Post Office is evolving and the use of numbers and data from computer programs is only going to increase. Union meeting’s provide a good opportunity to ask questions and talk to your union board members to see how to protect yourself from discipline. By attending Union meetings it also gives you the opportunity to at-tend trainings such as: Region 6 K.I.M.( Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan) training, and the State and National Conventions where they provide training on a variety of topics like: OWCP (Occupational Workers Compensation Program), Attendance and Deems Desirable, TIAREAP ( Technology Integrated Alternate Route Evaluation), Route Protection, and Legislative Action, to name a few. These trainings will allow you to meet letter carriers from all over Michigan and carriers from all over the United States. However, if you are unable to make your local union meetings; there are many other ways to inform yourself of what is going on. There’s, our national magazine (The Postal Record), and the state newsletter (The Michigan Letter Carrier ),as well as your branch newsletter . There is also a letter carrier app that you can download from the Apple / Google Play Store called, “NALC Member App”. There’s multiple Facebook pages like: the Michigan State Association of Letter Carriers, NALC stewards help page, OWCP for NALC, and the NALC Region 6 KIM page. There is a wealth of information out there to be tapped into. Please take the time to learn as much as you can…remember knowledge is power. Please stay safe and stay informed.

 

 

Elaine Jones

 

The holiday season is upon us. For some of us it’s a joyous time, while for others it’s an overwhelming time of the year. There seems to be so much we need to get done, and so little time to do it in. We need to shop for gifts, clean the house, prepare meals for visitors, and visit relatives. The cost alone can be more than we planned for. We spend the next year trying to pay for all the damage we’ve charged on credit cards, trying to keep up with the Joneses. Can you say STRESSFUL?

 

It's October and you just broke up with that special someone. Oh, my goodness, now you have to spend the holidays without a plus one. Who will I attend the office Christmas party with? Can the holidays get any worse? That’s the situation for several co-workers. Just plain lonely.

 

This time of the year, many of us can only remember the family and friends that we no longer have with us. The people we’ve lost recently as well as long time losses always seem to come to mind during the holiday season. These feelings can make the holiday season dreadful. Life can become hard to cope with. It tends to bring on a great feeling of depression. Can’t wait until it’s over, don’t know why everyone is so happy, are the thoughts we have. You want to go in the house and not come out until after the New Year.

 

These emotions can be difficult to cope with. The holidays can be overwhelming. All is not lost. You are not alone. Article 35 addresses how to get help for all these feelings bundled up inside of you. The EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP) is a great benefit to all the postal employees and their families. Don’t struggle unnecessarily. Make the call, 1-800-EAP4YOU. No money needed. Hope this helps to brighten your holiday.

 

 

Ron Zalewski

 

Who wants to be a millionaire? Everyone, of course!

 

I was talking to a new hire carrier (so new that she was still with her trainer) and she mentioned that one day she wanted to be a millionaire. After making a wisecrack about being a millionaire isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, I told her I had a plan that would guarantee that she became a millionaire. She looked at me as though I was full of fertilizer. I told her the plan.

 

Start saving now. 10 % of every check she gets as a CCA. Put it in a retirement ac-count. I made a quick pitch for the Mutual Benefit Association here, but the truth is that any retirement plan or IRA will do. Save 10% of her income first. Don’t spend any of that money. Leave it in the account. Once she is promoted to career and has access to the Thrift Savings Plan, put the 10% she is saving in a life cycle account appropriate for her retirement age. In her case it was 2060 or 2065. As her raises come in, either contractual or step, increase the amount of her contribution to 15%. Another carrier overheard and stepped in to remind me that 15% was no longer the cap. I told her to keep increasing the percentage until she reached the new cap. The trick here is that you won’t notice the savings coming out of your check if you ease into it. It’s literally painless. With 35-40 years of contributions and compound interest, she wouldn’t just be a millionaire. She’d have multiple millions on which to live comfortably.

 

There are other steps to financial success like using credit sparingly, playing it off quickly, and living within your means. It’s easier to save if you have a smaller mortgage, no credit card payments, and a reasonable car. Using the TSP to set aside the money you’ll need after you stop delivering is the biggest step of them all.

 

 

Darrell Clay

 

Hello in solidarity, As letter carriers it is important for us to stay informed on issues that are brought to Congress. Together we pressed on and got HR 3076 enacted into Law. HR 3076, ending the prefunding mandate, set the Postal Service up for a more stable future and protected six day delivery.

 

HR 5995 is here, and we have to be just as active as we were with HR 3076.

 

HR 5995 is the Federal Retirement Fairness Act.

 

This legislation would allow Casual, TE, or CCA’s and other affected employees the opportunity to purchase retirement credit for the time they spent in these non-career positions. Stay tuned and stay informed on HR 5995.

 

 

December 2023