(This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of the American Postal Worker)
New Year’s greetings to our Support Services and entire APWU family. I hope this article finds you and your family well.
Our APWU election has concluded and we have two new officers leading our division. Before I introduce our new officers, we must say farewell to our retiring officers, brother Steve Brooks and sister Judy McCann. They have both served our division with productive hard work and dedication over their tenures in office. We wish them both the best in retirement and thank them for their service to the division.
I am humbled and honored to have been elected Support Services Division Director. My name is Arrion Brown, and I was the Support Services craft director for the Nation’s Capital Southern Maryland Area Local. I will be serving our division along with our newly elected Support Services National Business Agent, brother Orlando Anderson of the St. Louis Gateway local. Brother Orlando has served as both the St. Louis Gateway Local and Missouri state Support Services craft director. Combined, we have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to continue serving our members with the hard work and dedication that we have become accustomed to by our retiring officers. We both look forward to representing our members and keeping our division strong.
In terms of occupations, the Support Services Division is the most diverse and complex division of the APWU. Our division represents Information Technology and Accounting Services Specialists (IT/AS) who work at four data centers in Eagan, MN; San Mateo, CA; St. Louis, MO; and Wilkes-Barre, PA. We represent private-sector truck drivers from Dallas, Ft. Worth, and El Paso, TX; Little Rock, AK; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK; Memphis, TN; Shreveport, LA; Des Moines, IA; Kansas City, MO; Kalamazoo, MI and our newly formed unit in Harrisburg, PA. Our division represents postal nurses across the country and in U.S. territories; Human Relations Shared Services Center workers in Greensboro, NC; mail-transport equipment service center workers in Temperance, MI; Operating Services workers in Washington, DC and Merrifield, VA; and Material Support Craft workers in Topeka, KS.
Nearly all of the occupational groups in our division are covered by separate bargaining unit agreements, except for our private-sector truck drivers who are covered under three different agreements. We are currently in negotiations for our new private-sector trucking unit in Harrisburg, PA, which would become our fourth contract for our division’s truck drivers.
Brother Orlando and I look forward to the responsibility of contract enforcement for all of the groups in our division. We will also communicate extensively with local leaders and members prior to contract negotiations for each group to determine how our contracts can be improved. We are committed to providing a level of service that will keep our members proud.
In closing, a unique aspect of our division is the possibility for expansion. The Support Services Division can organize unions in any occupation or industry that has a relationship to the logistics of the Postal Service. At this moment, non-unionized workers have been galvanized, by both the pandemic and historic inflation, to organize themselves into unions that will fight for safe workplaces and secure wages. Successful grassroots union organizing initiatives have taken place at Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and many other previously non-unionized companies, due to the pandemic and inflation. Our division will play a role in organizing the unorganized, as written in Article 2 section 5 of our APWU National Constitution and Bylaws, because we believe all workers should be fairly represented by a strong union when dealing with their employers.