PRESIDENT BILL BURRUS ANNOUNCES CREATION OF FIVE (5) NEW ORGANIZING & LEGISLATIVE JOBS-0NE IN EACH REGION FOR THE ACTIVE & RETIREE DUES PAYING MBRS

FLASH! President Bill Burrus Outlines Ambitious Agenda at All-Craft & Retirees Conferences before 3,000 APWU Officers and Members at the all union Las Vegas Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, NV from Nov. 5-8, 2007.

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APWU President William Burrus outlined an ambitious agenda for the union’s future in a speech to the All-Craft & Retirees Conferences on Nov. 6-7. Urging conference participants to embrace change in a time of challenge, President Burrus announced plans to hire five (5) APWU grassroots organizers to help implement the union’s legislative program, and unveiled plans to better communicate with far-flung union members via the Internet.
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“Many unions of the 20th Century did not change” with the times, Burrus said, and their members suffered as a result. “That will not happen to the American Postal Workers Union,” he declared. “We must incorporate change in everything we do — from the processing of grievances, to the representation of members, to the holding of union meetings, to the preparation of our newsletters,” he said.
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Burrus promised to evaluate all of the union’s activities to ensure that the union is utilizing 21st Century tools. Noting that Members-at-Large who work in small offices rarely come in contact with union officers and stewards, Burrus said the union would develop a new format to enable them to communicate with the union via computer. “There is no reason for a union officer to drive 50 miles to file a Step 1 grievance,” he said. The APWU must use 21st Century technology to handle grievances and enforce the contract, the union president said.
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“We are not trying to compete with the state organizations,” which represent Members-at-Large, Burrus said, “but the era of relying solely on face-to-face communication has passed.” “We can find other ways to share information,” he said, encouraging locals and state organizations to explore the use of town hall-style telephone and computer conferences.
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Grassroots Organizers
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Burrus also announced plans to hire five (5) grassroots organizers to coordinate the union’s political activities in each region. They will “combine the efforts, the interests, and the goals of our retirees, our activists, our locals and states, and individuals who are involved in the political process — organizing them into a single force to take our message to Congress and the president.”
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“We are going to put together a comprehensive program so that we are as effective in the political arena as we are in the bargaining arena,” he said.
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The union president said he had hoped to announce at the conference that legislation had been introduced in Congress to require the Postal Service to bargain with the APWU over subcontracting. Burrus expressed optimism that the legislation would be introduced soon — perhaps as early as next week.
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“With your efforts,” he told conference participants, “we will get sufficient co-sponsors to move it to the president for his signature.” The hope is to get 218 co-sponsors in the House and 51 in the Senate, Burrus said.
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“I have no hope that under the Bush administration we can get a signature for such legislation… but in January 2009 we will have a new president,” Burrus said to raucous cheers and applause. “And with your help, in January 2009, we are going to have a president who will sign anti-contracting legislation for the American Postal Workers Union.”
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[Article linked from APWU Web News #103-07, Nov. 8, 2007 at http://www.apwu.org/ ]

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