Hard to believe, but summer is upon us.  This month my article is not on the front page as a tribute to the first St. Paul, MN Area Local President Jim Bryan who passed away on May 2, 2018 at the age of 93. I tell everyone as the President of the St. Paul Area Local, I stand on the shoulders of the Giants who came before me.  President Bryan was one of those Giants I refer to.  President Bryan as the first president was required to form a Local Union which comprised the clerks, maintenance, motor vehicle, and special delivery crafts, along with the NPU who represented the majority of the union members in St. Paul.  Through the work of many and with his leadership, he was able to get this group together and fighting for all the crafts.  President Bryan negotiated our first Local Memorandum’s of Understanding which to this day had many of the provisions they agreed to.  The St. Paul Area Local members continue to benefit from his contributions and this is his legacy.  I know I am a better person and leader from his sage advice over the years.  I will truly miss him and his counsel.

On the heels of President Bryan’s passing came word on May 19th, 2018 Former National APWU President William Burrus passed away at the age of 81.  Mr. Burris also leaves a legacy of working hard on behalf of the members and serving with dignity for many years as a National Officer.

With the passing of these two individuals, I am reminded of the importance of a good Union negotiated contract and the benefits it provides working people.  This month the National APWU opens negotiations with the USPS with hope of negotiating an agreement prior to the expiration of the National Collective Bargaining Agreement on September 18, 2018.  Every contract negotiation is difficult and great efforts will be made to protect our advancements.  However, the Postal Service’s financial condition will make this round especially tough.  Add to this the attacks the current President is making on our pensions and income structure, there is a large storm brewing.  While I do not want to be Chicken Little running around saying the sky is falling, because I have hope the members can find solidarity and stand strong with our negotiators to protect us.  This process can not be done alone, it will take us all standing together.

The St. Paul Area Local will be working hard this summer to protect our jobs.  We will also be sending 11 delegates to Pittsburgh, PA in August to participate in this years National Convention.  By the time of the National APWU Convention the negotiators will have a pretty good feeling on where negotiations are headed.  We will commit to getting our members up to date information concerning these negotiations through our Flash Bulletins.

I want to wish each and everyone of you a great summer.  It is always humbling to be your leader and rest assured I take it seriously.

Todd Elkerton