Not sure if most of you know this, but I usually stay on the union “bad” list for the information I share. I am accused of letting non members have information only meant for union members. I have heard this accusation since the beginning of this website. Yes, I do share information that is shared at State Conventions, National Conventions, etc… I come by this information honestly. A rural carrier usually sends me the information. The problems come in when I share it on my website. That is when the accusations begin that I am giving non members free information only meant for dues paying members.
Ok, so, I will agree that basically this is true. Non members can come to my website and get this information. I will add the argument that “most” (not all) non members are not going to be actively seeking out “free” information. Most of them probably do not care either way. Some are non members because they do not believe in unions ( I do not understand this one, but ok), some were previously members and became upset with some actions of the union, some say they cannot afford the dues, and the rest probably fall under the category of they just do not care. They just do the job and go home..
I have also heard over the years that things presented or testimony given at a convention is super secret and cannot be shared with the union membership at large because someone at the USPS might read it or a non-member might read it. Time and time again, rural carriers have sent me information presented at the conventions that has never been shared with the membership at large. It is not shared in the union magazine or the union website. This is information that EVERY dues paying member of the union would like to have and I believe every union member deserves this information.
So, lets look at the numbers of union vs non-union rural carriers.
This is the latest information from the NRLCA on union membership..
So from this chart we take this information:
Regular Carrier union members: 55205
Relief Carrier union members: 27484
For these calculation purposes I have left out the retired members.
This gives us a total of 82,689 active rural carriers who are members of the NRLCA.
Now let’s look at Rural Carriers on the USPS payroll
(On roll employees PP 09/2013)
Regular carrier on rolls: 66005
Relief Carrier on rolls: 45674
That gives us a total of 111,679 rural carriers on the employment rolls of the Postal Service.
So using those figures
111,679 rural carriers on the rolls
82,689 active rural carriers that are union members.
28,990 rural carriers who are not union members.
That means approximately 74% percent of rural carriers are members of the NRLCA and roughly 26% are not members.
I am going to make an unscientific guestimation and say that maybe 10,000 rural carriers attend the conventions nationwide every year where the coveted information gets shared. That is probably a generous guess, but I will go with it.
So using my guestimation, that would leave roughly 72,000 rural carriers who pay dues every paycheck who do not get that information. I am not going to go into the “Why don’t you go?” argument. This has been argued for years and years. Yes, there is apathy.. A lot of it.. That is why union membership nationwide continues to decline year after year.
The questions I am asking are these: – Do ALL dues paying members deserve the same information or should it be a requirement to go to the conventions to get it? We all pay dues. When each and every one of us signed up for the union, the only requirement for membership was to pay dues. Should the fact that a non-member might get some information stop the NRLCA from sharing this information with those 72,000 members at large?
I guess you all know my answer to those questions. I am still here sharing every bit of information I come across because I believe ALL dues paying members deserve ALL available information. I just thank goodness that there are some rural carriers out there that feel the same or we would all be left in the dark. Information is made to be shared. Knowledge really is POWER.. The 74% should not be slighted because the 26% might get a bit of information. Maybe that one shred of information a non-member might come across might make them rethink their membership. You never know. Information can NOT be stopped. It will get out and it will be shared. I have been called a fraud, an anti union scab. I have been accused of hurting union membership and have had the NRLCA send my State Steward on a mission to try to get me to take down information. And, I am still here.. (By the way, I have been a union member for over 15 years, just in case anyone was wondering)
I often hear people ask why rural carriers are so divided.. There are a lot of reasons, but the withholding of information is surely one of those. A union seeking solidarity cannot divide the membership between the haves and have-nots when it comes to information. This creates a rift in the membership. If you want to unite the membership, give everyone the information they pay for and deserve and forget about that 26%. You cannot keep information away from the 26% without hurting the 74%. In this scenario, informing the 74% is absolutely more important.