Dear Brothers and Sisters.
I’d like to take this opportunity to explain why I decided to run for APWU president, and to ask for your vote and support.
Last December, the current president reported that he had reached a tentative contractual agreement with management that he believed to be fair and positive for the members. However, the members’ Rank and File Bargaining Advisory Committee disagreed, found the tentative agreement unacceptable, and voted 9 to 4 to reject it. When he didn’t get his way, the current president treated members of the Committee with contempt and disrespect.
It’s worth noting that this is only the second time in the history of the APWU that the Rank and File Committee has rejected a tentative agreement.
The tentative agreement included several of management’s demands impacting Clerk and Maintenance Craft employees that the respective Craft Negotiators had explicitly rejected. In agreeing to management’s demands for concessions, he undercut our craft negotiators, undermined the APWU’s democratic process, and compromised the union by exposing to management his willingness to circumvent the duly elected craft officers. It showed disunity to management, and a lack of leadership.
No APWU president has ever reached a tentative agreement with management concerning craft-specific demands without the agreement of the respective elected craft directors.
The tentative agreement would have had a negative impact on our job security, our work, and PSE conversions to career positions. Among other things, it would have weakened limitations on hours postmasters are permitted to work in smaller offices, and relieved the USPS of their Line H staffing obligations for Maintenance Craft members.
Furthermore, the tentative agreement would have ended the Postal Service’s monetary liability for violating these provisions and for failing to comply with existing settlements, and would have weakened contractual protections.
During previous negotiations, members have always been informed of what was in a tentative agreement. However, this time there has been no transparency, and information has been kept from the members.
I will restore unity and trust at the national level. I believe in being transparent with our members and representatives. I believe in treating people with dignity and respect, whoever they may be. As a union we demand that management treat our members and representatives with dignity and respect. Should we demand any less from our president?
The current president also supports legislation that forces current and future retirees and their spouses to enroll in Medicare Part B in order to maintain their FEHBP coverage. I do not.
The legislation would also create a postal-only health care program for postal workers and retirees within the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.
I believe that forcing our retirees to enroll in Medicare would be a step closer to removing postal workers and retirees from FEHBP, and toward privatization. It would also weaken the union’s position in future contract negotiations over healthcare benefits.
Under my leadership, the APWU will oppose any legislation that could lead to forcing postal employees and retirees out of the FEHB program.
The current president also announced his intention to eliminate the Northeast Region Coordinator position at last October’s National Presidents Conference. Fortunately, he had no support from local leaders, and failed to get the necessary approval of the National Executive Council.
The Northeast Region Coordinator represents approximately 25,000 members in parts of New York and New Jersey, the six New England states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Coordinators work with local leaders on grievances, arbitrations and other concerns, and they oversee excessing-related matters in their region.
At a time when management continues to revert and abolish jobs all around the country, there is simply no justification for abolishing the Northeast Region Coordinator position.
In addition, while he attempted to abolish an elected position that provides representation to over 25,000 members, he has appointed himself four full-time Assistants to the President. The previous three APWU presidents, when we had more members, only had two staff appointments in the president’s office.
Under my leadership, as president there will be no reduction in representation for members, and our stewards and officers will have the necessary resources and support from the APWU and its leadership.
As we move forward to arbitration for a new contract, and with our work, jobs and contractual rights threatened and compromised, I’m the most experienced candidate who can best represent the APWU and our members as president. I have demonstrated the ability to unite with others, provide leadership as an integral part of a team, and inspire confidence among members and representatives at all levels of our organization.
As a national officer for 18 years, I have worked with and provided assistance to local, state and national representatives, regardless of craft or local – including many who are candidates in this election.
Before being elected Executive Vice President in 2010, I served for 15 years as your Industrial Relations Director. I had primary responsibility for contract negotiations, grievances and arbitration, safety and health, and the administration of the contract.
Since 1995, I have played a major role in the APWU’s success in protecting our work and improving job security, working conditions and benefits for our members in contract negotiations and arbitration. To this day, many of those accomplishments continue to be relied upon in furthering APWU’s progress.
I have been involved in eight national negotiations, the first three in my capacity as a member of the national Rank & File Bargaining Advisory Committee for the 1987, 1990, and 1994 contract negotiations – when I was serving as president of the Philadelphia PA Area Local for nine years, and chairman of the national Presidents Conference for four years, before being elected to national office in 1995.
I have never forgotten where I came from, and have always identified with local officers, stewards, and members, and the problems they face on the work floor. And I have always been a strong independent voice at the national level, putting the needs and concerns of our active and retired members first and foremost.
I ask for your vote and support for APWU President, and that you share this website (gregbell2019.com) providing more information on my history and proven record of experience, leadership and accomplishments on behalf of our members – both as national and local leader.
Yours in Solidarity