National Officers to Delegates: Union in Excellent Shape

On Tuesday afternoon, the 288 delegates in attendance listened to the Report of National Officers, as delivered by National President Paul Hogrogian and National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner.  The newly re-elected officers reviewed the current State of the Union, diving into topics ranging from national negotiations to union finances.  All in all, the message was overwhelmingly positive.

The National Agreement is close to being finalized, and the Union is looking to the achievement of several improvements compared to the 2011 National Agreement.  The Union expects to obtain similar wage increases to those awarded or negotiated by the other postal unions.  President Hogrogian predicted that an agreement could be reached as early as late September or October.

That is not to say the Union has not faced challenges over the past four years.  In fact, it has been involved in several noteworthy national arbitrations and legal disputes.  “Our National Union continues to work hard, and more often than not we prevail,” said President Hogrogian.  One avenue in which the Union has met much progress is in obtaining conversion rights for MHAs.  President Hogrogian revealed that MHAs and former MHAs make up approximately 25 percent of the current Mail Handler bargaining unit, and that conversions continue to occur at a rapid rate.

Legislatively speaking, the Union continues to struggle for postal reform legislation in Congress.  It has partnered with its sister postal unions in this regard, as well as the Postal Service and many of the major mailers.  There is some hope for passage of postal reform during the lame duck session of Congress after the November 2016 national elections.  Additionally, the Union has been actively fighting any additional closings and consolidations of postal plants, and continues to push back against further subcontracting and in support of insourcing of Mail Handler work.

The “political arena holds the key” for many of the Union’s “most important goals.   Our very jobs and benefits are dependent on actions taken by Members of Congress and the White House,” said President Hogrogian.  He also indicated that the biennial Legislative Conference has helped the Union in achieving its goals.  Another conference is scheduled for May 2017.  “At first they didn’t know us; now they know who the heck we are.”

Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner followed up with a brief presentation on the Union’s internal operations.  As a result of the supplementary dues checkoff program passed at the last Convention, Local Unions are on the mend financially.  Unfortunately, the National Union took a hit while sharing its assets with the Local Unions during the past four years.  Secretary-Treasurer Gardner anticipates that the National will be able to make a rebound with growing membership and last year’s end date for a certain revenue sharing program. 

Membership, though still lower than in past years, is modestly improving.  Part of this has been achieved through intensive recruitment and outreach.  Gardner urged Mail Handlers to stay informed, as they are the Union’s best advocates.

In fact, it is the very Power of You (the members) that the Union is honoring at this year’s Convention.  President Hogrogian’s closing remarks further emphasized this point:

“We’re going to fight and make sure you get some money this time.  We’re gonna get you a revised CIM.  We have got the resources. That’s what makes this union great – the Power of You, all of Yous.  The members also need a strong union, so we need each other.  Thanks to you, thanks to all of yous, we’re going to accomplish great things.”