Greg Bell has always believed in building coalitions and mobilizing the rank-and-file to be active in the union’s struggles, and in our common struggle for social and economic justice, and he demonstrated his commitment to that ideal and his ability to do it.
As Local President, under Greg Bell’s leadership, promoting unity and the active participation of the members was a decisive factor in the Philadelphia Local’s success.
Below are some local highlights:
National APWU Washington D.C. Rally (May 1995) – Over 5,000 postal workers, including 13 busloads from Philadelphia, converged on Washington, D.C., May 23, 1995, for a rally against privatization and cuts in federal retirement programs, and for a new contract. (Click for photos and brief information on rally.)
Nationwide Day of Informational Picketing (April 1995) – Postal workers across the country sent a loud and clear message to the Republican-dominated Congress and to postal management by turning out in record numbers on April 18, 1995 to oppose cuts in retirement benefits and privatization, to demand action on a new contract and to tell Congress to keep their off the Postal Service. Nearly 1,500 postal workers rallied at the GPO. (Click for photos and brief information on rally.)
Philadelphia Retiree Chapter (1994) – Under Greg Bell’s leadership, the local always had active participation of its retirees in the Philadelphia Local Retiree Committee. When the APWU established a Retiree Department, Philadelphia was one of the first locals that officially formed an APWU Local Retiree Chapter.
Philadelphia Veterans’ Rally for Job Protection (June 1992) – More than 200 APWU members, in coordination with city workers’ unions, veterans’ organizations and community groups, rallied at local Olney Station on June 6, 1992, to protest management’s improper elimination of custodial positions and contracting out the work. (Click for photos and brief information on rally.)
Philadelphia Congressional Hearings (June 1990) – During the first year of a long, hard struggle seeking the removal of a dictatorial and divisive postmaster, under Greg Bell’s leadership the local was successful in having congressional hearings conducted in Philadelphia in response to hundreds of complaints from postal workers.
The local postmaster had to testify before congress. Such hearings are extremely rare and was a result of the local using every tool at its disposal to fight the postmaster’s outrageous policies and defends member’s rights – negotiations, rallies, media exposure, working with our elected officials and with community organizations, forging unity within our ranks as well as with the other postal unions.
Protest calling for the Ouster of Philadelphia PM James (September 1989) – Nearly 1,500 postal workers demonstrated in front of the GPO on September 27, 1989, calling for the removal of Philadelphia Postmaster Charles James and faulting his attendance policy in the death of a postal worker on August 18, 1989. For the first time in the history of the postal labor movement, the national presidents of the three unions (APWU, NALC & MHU) attended and joined with local leaders to denounce the attendance policy and other harsh working condition and to demand the ouster of James. (Click for photos and brief information on rally.)
Philadelphia AFL-CIO Tri-State Labor Day Parade (September 1989) – In 1989, Greg Bell Co-Chaired the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO Annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade Committee, consisting of Tri-State local labor and community leaders. He played a major role in organizing the Tri-State Labor Day Parade Committee which was formed in 1988. It was a reflection of unity within the Philadelphia labor movement and the community – not just in times of struggle, but also in times of celebration.
Philadelphia Postal Labor Council (April 1989) – Greg Bell formed the “Philadelphia Postal Labor Council” with the presidents of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the Mail Handlers Union. A declaration announcing the formation of the Council “Philadelphia Postal Labor Council” was signed on April 24, 1989, recognizing that by working together for common cause, the unions can best represent the interests and concerns of their members.
Protest Against New Attendance Policy (April 1989) – On April 12, 1989, more than 1,500 Philadelphia postal workers demonstrated in front of the 30th Street General Post Office, mainly in response to a new attendance policy initiated against postal workers by Philadelphia’s new postmaster, Charles James. (Click for photos and brief information on rally.)
Coalition’s Building (November 1988) – Greg Bell was always in the forefront, working to build coalitions between labor and the community. Philadelphia labor and community leaders vowed to rebuild the bridges between their movements at a news conference on November 12, 1988. Citing their common interest in improving life in the city’s neighborhoods, and protecting jobs and services, the coalition denounced privatization and cutbacks.
Protest against Relocation of Philadelphia GPO (May 1987) – Despite a steady rain, hundreds of members showed their commitment to the cause, rallying on May 20, 1987, along with community organizations and other unions. Representatives of the Consumer Party, the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, as well as representatives from city and congressional offices joined leaders from city unions, the Mail Handlers Union, and several area APWU locals. – Fighting for our jobs and against plans to move the 30th Street GPO and possibility relocate outside the city. The local also boycotted the Postal Service’s 1987 Savings Bond Campaign. (Click for photos and brief information on rally.)