Postal Workers: Now is the Time to Get Involved!

(This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Debby Szeredy, Executive Vice President

For many years most of our membership has left too much of the fighting for jobs, better wages and our rights and benefits to stewards and officers. It’s not enough. We all have to do more.

Times have changed. We have fought off privatization for years. We have come up against a government that has caved in to large corporations, bankers, and large discount mailers. The Postal Board of Governors, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Republican-controlled House with Privatizer-in-Chief Rep. Issa (R-CA) and even the Democratic-controlled Senate, with Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R- OK) paving the way for the same privatizers, have to be held accountable. We even have the president of the United States compromising government employees, including postal workers.

We are at a critical time in our history, where the survival of the Postal Service and our very jobs and futures are at stake. That is why we are calling out to you, the members, to get involved now. Writing letters to your legislators is important, but it is not enough. You need to attend your union meetings. You need to sign up non-union members who work side-by-side with you. There are 42,000 of them, and they need to do their share in this fight, too.

How to Do It

We must save the Postal Service and to do so we must reach out to our community groups, families, friends and neighbors. We need to help our local, state and national union at pickets, protests, and actions that will help save America’s Postal Service. We must help people see that an attack on their public mail service is an attack aimed at the poor, veterans, seniors, the disabled, low-wage workers, union workers, small business owners, and people who live in rural and urban areas. All of the United States will suffer if there is no Postal Service. We must build a powerful movement with the people of this country to save the Postal Service.

We need to rebuild service by reopening facilities that were consolidated or closed. We need to stop the Staples privatization ploy, and assign postal workers to do postal work. We must fight to add postal banking, notary, licenses, and broadband access to the services the USPS offers. The Postal Service must restore and expand business hours. Our customers need affordable, efficient and prompt service as outlined in the Postal Reorganization Act. They need post offices, which were established by the Constitution of the United States.

Want to get active? Here are a dozen things you can choose from:

  1. Get involved in your local union. Attend union meetings to stay informed.
  2. Check out for the latest updates and actions.
  3. Visit the Stop Staples website at
  4. File a complaint about delayed mail with the Postal Regulatory Commission. (See the Vice President’s page at for more information.)
  5. Write letters to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Go to the “Contact Your Legislators” shortcut at
  6. Join organizing committees and coalitions to save the Postal Service.
  7. Sign up new members to join the union.
  8. Ask your local union if you can help spread the word by becoming involved in your central labor council.
  9. Ask your local union if you can help spread the word by writing letters to the editor.
  10. Ask your faith group and/or community organization to become involved with the movement to Save America’s Postal Service.
  11. Participate in petition drives, rallies, protests, press conference, visits to elected officials, town hall meetings, and on social media to advance the cause of saving the Postal Service.
  12. Educate your children, friends and families on the importance to them of having a vibrant public Postal Service.

This is a fight for our very survival. It doesn’t matter if you are near retirement age or a PSE hoping to be converted to career; everything is on the line. If we let them privatize the Postal Service, none of us are safe. It is up to each of us to do our share to build a successful movement to save the Postal Service, to turn it around, and provide the American people with the postal services they deserve.

It is time for all of us to “Ask not what your union can do for you; ask what you can do for your union and the American people.”

We need you now!

College Offers Discounts

(This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Joyce B. Robinson, Research & Education Director

Excelsior College is an accredited, nonprofit, distance-learning institution that caters to working adults. The Postal Service’s partnership with Excelsior College enables USPS employees and their spouses or domestic partners to pursue an online degree with reduced tuition and fees. Associates, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs are available in the schools of Business and Technology, Public Service, Liberal Arts, Health Sciences, and Nursing.

The online business degrees emphasize practical skills and knowledge and focus on accounting, finance, global business and management of human resources, operations management, risk management, and marketing information systems.

Excelsior offers transfer terms for credits that students have earned at other accredited colleges; awards academic credit for prior military service, professional training courses, and other real-world experience; grants credit by exam, so students can earn full credit for subjects they’ve already mastered, and conducts degree classes online, so students can adapt them to their schedule and budget.

Students pursuing an Associate Degree in Business will learn:

  • Effective communication skills;
  • Principles of accounting, business law, computers, management, and marketing;
  • Principles of macroeconomics, microeconomics, and statistics;
  • Business problem solving;
  • About diverse cultural heritage, interpersonal relationships, the relationship between business and society, and personal values to make intelligent and discerning judgments, and
  • Computer applications used in business.

A total of 60 credits are required to graduate, including 33 in arts and sciences, 21 business component credits, and 6 electives, including a mandatory 1-credit information literacy course.

Tuition, Deadlines

A one-time application fee of $80 and enrollment fee of $130 are required to cover the processing of an application, evaluation of transferred credits, academic advisement, and academic program planning for the first year. Tuition is $360 per credit for course work. A Student Service Annual Fee is not required, provided the student completes a minimum of six course credits within the one-year period. If the student does not complete six course credits within the one-year period, a Student Service Annual Fee of $225 will be applied the subsequent year.

The Graduation Fee is $130 for program partners but reverts to the Standard Rate of $495 if the student does not complete a minimum of 12 course credits prior to the completion of his or her degree program. In the event the Graduation Fee reverts to the Standard Rate, this fee will be reduced by $15 per academic credit for each undergraduate course successfully completed. This fee reduction does not apply to academic credits transferred to Excelsior College.

There is no deadline for enrollment for the 8- and 15- week terms. Students may enroll as soon as they receive the results of their preliminary review, which shows how prior credits may apply toward a degree. Immediately upon beginning the application process, tell Excelsior’s admissions teams that you are with the United States Postal Service’s partnership in order to receive the partnership tuition and fee pricing.

Financial aid is available regardless of income, with low interest rates and flexible payment options. The best place to start is by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You can find the form and additional information by visiting or call 1-855-323-9235.

Excelsior College offers more than 20 scholarships for a wide variety of programs. For more information, visit the scholarship programs page on the college’s website at

For more information, including specifics on discounts, visit or call 1-888-647-2388 ext. 21.

Beware of Candidates’ Misleading Appeals

(This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Judy Beard, Retirees Director

The Nov. 4 midterm elections are quickly approaching. Our vote is critical and can affect the outcome of the election.

Don’t be fooled by candidates with attractive campaign literature and broad statements painting themselves as a savior to seniors in order to lure our vote. You know the ads I’m talking about.

Also, beware of people who knock on your door or address community meetings speaking half-truths about their positions. Many candidates will be seeking retirees’ votes, when in fact their voting record proved that they do not support seniors.

A Case in Point

I remember too well when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, proposed a budget plan that would end Medicare as we know it. His 2011 proposal included what is best described as a voucher system for future seniors.

Votes on Rep. Ryan’s 2011 budget fell strictly along party lines: Republicans supported the measure; Democrats opposed it.

Today, Congressman Ryan is at it again. On April 1 he circulated a new budget proposal that would replace Medicare with a voucher system. It also would raise the age of eligibility to receive Medicare, and it would re-open the donut hole in coverage for prescription drugs.

The Ryan budget plan would impact people age 56 and younger. We all have family members and former co-workers under the age of 55. There is no justification for cutting their benefits. We know that as we age, we need our medical benefits more than ever.

Let’s tell Congress that they can fix the national deficit by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

We thank Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who said, “Medicare and Medicaid are not the drivers of health care costs.” She further stated:

“They are growing more slowly than the rest of the health care sector overall. That’s been true for decades. Since the Affordable Care Act, they are growing much more slowly than private-sector spending.”

Today, as Congress debates reducing the deficit, in addition to taxing the wealthy, the legislature could find significant savings in drug costs. However, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which created the Medicare part D drug program, explicitly prohibits the government from negotiating lower prices under Medicare.

Don’t Be a Victim

Are you at risk of being scammed? Do you know how to protect your savings? is a free resource designed to help people make informed financial decisions; it is empowered by the federal government to ensure that investors are protected. The Alliance for Retired Americans supports its efforts. The company’s literature includes helpful hints to avoid fraud. If you believe that you have been defrauded or treated unfairly – or if you suspect that someone you know has been taken in by a scam – be sure to send a written complaint to a securities regulator.
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