Since the establishment of “Collective Bargaining” which was a result of
the postal strike of 1970, the NALC has not given anything back. Meaning that
the benefits negotiated for letter carriers since 1970 have remained the same or
have gotten better.
The NALC was founded in Milwaukee in 1889 with the purpose of defending letter carriers around the country. But it wasn’t until the strike that the rights and benefits achieved could now be enforced through language found in the National Agreement.
However, the union has to lobby Congress on a yearly basis to keep those benefits. Every year subjects like six-day delivery, door to door service and no subcontracting, to name a few, have to be part of a Congressional Bill. The bill(s) then must be passed in order to maintain those items as part of the day-to-day business of the postal service. The NALC in Washington, D.C., has a political department that handles a majority of the work on Capitol Hill and each branch also has political liaisons who have established personal relationships with their local congressional representatives; but there is still so much more that can be done.
In the mid 1970’s, the NALC established a Political Activist Committee (PAC) that became known as the Committee on Letter Carrier Political Education (COLCPE). Through that body the union would keep the membership informed of legislative issues important to letter carriers and began to collect voluntary funds. Those funds were used in part to keep our friends in Washington in office and to help new friends get elected. Our job in the Postal Service has always been connected to politics through Congress.
The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 (PRA) established the USPS and mandated that only one organization could represent all employees for purposes of collective bargaining in respect to wages, hours of employment or other conditions of employment. For letter carriers that organization is the NALC. I cannot stress hard enough that what Congress giveth, Congress can taketh away.
Now let’s fast forward to the beginning of 2021. On March 8, 2021 the cur- rent National Agreement (contract) was ratified. Within the contract is a clause that states that any CCA who has a minimum of 24 months of service with the Postal Service in the same installation will be converted to career status. Periodic wage increases and Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) are also included in the contract.
On February 27, 2021 there was a COLA of $416; on August 28, 2021 there was a COLA of $1,934; on November 20, 2021 there was a wage increase of 1.3% and the CCAs received a 2.3% increase. All of this came out of a negotiated contract that can go away with a strike of the proverbial pen. The current PAC is now called the Letter Carrier Political Fund (LCPF) and with your voluntary contributions we stand an excellent chance to keep those who would support these and many other benefits that we enjoy at bay. The branch is asking for a voluntary minimum contribution of $26 from our members. Personally, I don’t feel that it’s too much to ask for given just the COLAs, not to mention the raise we received so far this year. I am available to answer any questions involving automatic payroll deductions into the fund.
I wish you all the very best of this holiday season and ask each of us treat each other with kindness and respect.