A guest blog by THE OLD CARRIER
I read with interest the guest blog written by Vocal RCA about the money wasted at the recently completed national convention in St. Louis and felt compelled to put my two cent’s worth in. I have been a delegate to every national convention since Portland, Oregon in 1997, except for the Grand Rapids convention in 2007.
First, I agree with RCA that there could be some changes made to things that go on at the convention that could result in some savings to the association, but for time’s sake I will not go into them here. And further, I also voted for the biennial convention. But I am somewhat puzzled at the several of the comments made. First is the statement that the union is ignoring the membership’s wishes. Just who is the union? It is each and every one of us who are members, from Pres. Dwyer down to the newest RCA who just joined last week.
Each and every one has an equal opportunity to take part in the process. But with the exception of a very small percentage, most do not even attend their local or district meetings. I have been president of our district for more years than I care to count. Out of 224 members, an average of 25-30 attend any given meeting, unless it is contract or mail count time. I always explain the process of what goes on at the state & national conventions, how to attempt to make changes, and encourage them to become part of the process. I have submitted many constitution changes and resolutions that have been brought before the membership, some pass and some fail. When a member brings forth a concern, I have always listened and will submit it if possible (I.e., does not violate the contract, labor law, etc.). The major problem is apathy. I hear more excuses as why people can’t or won’t take part. Some are valid, but many are just plain excuses.
Second is the comment about the non-binding resolutions. Yes, they are basically a wish list of things we would like to see put in the contract, and yes it usually has to be agreed by both sides. I say usually because it can and sometimes is forced on the other side by the arbitrator. But the resolutions are where many if not most of the bargaining ideas come from. I have watched many resolutions, which came from the floor of the convention, become part of our contract.
Finally, as to the attacks on the carriers on their livelihood, I agree whole-heartedly. But I fail to understand where the blame on the union comes in. The FSS fiasco was forced on us by the arbitrator, as well as many other numbers. If you think back, we have not voted on a contract in many years. The last one presented for ratification was voted down, was sent to arbitration, and the arbitrator forced it on us anyway. As for the last two contracts, there was no way it could have been presented to the membership for a vote due to the draconian cuts in wages and benefits management proposed. And as for the threatened cuts to our wages and benefits from Congress and the PMG, rest assured our legislative director and his staff work their tails off to assure our voice is heard on the Hill. But when you deal with some of the members up there, you’d be better off arguing with the proverbial sign post.
In closing, if you really want to try and go it alone without a union, then stop your dues withholding, let’s do away with the union, and see how far you get the next time a manager fires a carrier just because they don’t like them. And see what happens with wages and benefits. Before long, many if not most will be working for minimum wage (or close to it) with little or no benefits, and you’ll be expected to be grateful. But if you don’t want to go that route, and still want changes made, then vote delegates in that will make the changes you want made. Better still, run for office yourself and then perhaps you can change the direction we are headed.
The Old Carrier is a Rural Carrier
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