President Hogrogian and Secretary-Treasurer Gardner Re-Elected by Acclamation

Representative Danny Davis Speaks Truth to Power

This second morning of the 2016 National Convention was another watershed moment for the NPMHU and both National President Paul Hogrogian and National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner.  Both of these National Officers were re-elected by acclamation of the delegates to another four-year term, and neither will have to face opposition in this week’s upcoming primary election or in this fall’s mail referendum ballot.  Also elected by acclamation were Northeastern Regional Vice President David Wilkin and Southern Regional Vice President Lawrence Sapp.

The nomination process occurred after some noteworthy ceremonies.  First, Juanita Contreras of Local 302 gave a beautiful invocation – requesting delegates hold hands in prayer.  Next, the Union played a moving slideshow in a Salute to the Troops.  The Postal Service is a major source of employment for veterans – second only to the Department of Veteran Affairs.  President Hogrogian asked all veterans in attendance to stand and be thanked for their service.  Scores of delegates rose to be honored.

Next were the Election Committee proceedings – kicked off by Chair of the Committee to Elect the Election Committee Yvette Johnson of Local 300.  Sister Johnson announced the results of last night’s Judge’s Election, in which the following delegates were chosen to run this year’s election for National Officers:

  • Tommy Reid, Local 300, Chair
  • Rick Coleman, Local 306
  • Chawanda Parson, Local 310

As the newly elected committee of Judges took the stage, President Hogrogian took a moment to honor the hard work performed by the dedicated staff of the National Union.   Those who normally work in accounting, contract administration, and regional representation (just to name a few) have all provided invaluable support this week to help organize and run the National Convention.

Finally, Chair Tommy Reid delivered the report of the Election Committee and the rules that the committee completed late on Monday night.  After the rules were announced, it was time for nominations.  While four of the National Officers already mentioned were elected by acclamation, three elections will be held in the coming weeks, with two primaries occurring tomorrow.  The nominees for these positions are as follows:

  • Eastern Regional Vice President
    • John Gibson, Local 308
    • Felandria Jackson, Local 305

 

  • Central Regional Vice President
    • June Harris, Local 306
    • Jim Haggarty, Local 307
    • Rita Tripp, Local 307

 

  • Western Regional Vice President
    • David E. Castillo, Local 303
    • Eddie Cowan, Local 303
    • Ernie Grijalva, Local 302
    • Donald Sneesby, Local 316
    • Javier Valencia, Local 303

With more than two nominees, there will be primary elections at the Convention, on Wednesday, for the positions of Central and Western Regional Vice President, with the two top vote-getters appearing on the mail referendum ballot this fall.  The two candidates for Eastern Regional Vice President also will be on the ballot.

The efficiency and enthusiasm of the nomination process was an inspiration, according to Congressman Danny Davis, who delivered a brief address after the nominations were over.  A longtime ally of the Union and champion of worker’s rights, Rep. Davis spoke about the importance of organized labor and raising the minimum wage.  “I know all about the minimum wage, because I worked for 30 cents an hour with a college degree in my back pocket,” he said.  “Anyone working in [fast food or in] barbeque pits definitely needs to make $15.00 an hour.  They need to make $15.00 a minute.”

Davis also talked about the large strides made by women and minorities, and how crucial diversity is to progress.  When the Declaration of Independence was drafted “there were no women in the room, there were no African-Americans in the room.”  Since then, we have made strides, “but we have a tendency to take two steps forward and then two steps back,” Davis said.  It is imperative for the Union to keep fighting its fight in the face of its critics, as progress is never certain.

“You are a society of united mail handlers.  You are a society of brothers and sisters who have come together.  There are those who are trying to take that away from you,” he said.  “We have to make use of what we have which is the power to decide, the power to vote.”

Mail Handlers exercised that power this morning as they re-elected four members of the National Executive Board, and nominated several more delegates for future union elections.  The overwhelming energy and investment in the room was really something to see.