I promised in two prior posts to refrain from editorializing on union issues. On each occasion, things arose on which I had an opinion and I reneged on that promise, but hope is eternal so here we go again. Having served as a postal union official for 53 years, old habits die hard because representing postal employees was my calling. But the more I wrote, the more intrusive my opinions and that became a distraction to the goal of representation; that was not my intent. Addicts enroll in a twelve step program, but retired union officials must withdraw on the fly.
As I exit the arena, let me explain the dilema. For illustrative purposes let us pretend that you were me and it was your decision. For starters, I do not personally know many of the millions of postal employees I have been privileged to represent. We have never shared photos of children or a cold beer at the local pub. I cannot separate you from the employee hired ten years before you, ten years after you, or even on November 22, 2010. You are all postal employees whom I swore to represent. We were joined because I represented your interest and I was sworn to make it my priority.
Now to immerse yourself into the world of “what if” I ask that you pretend that your salary was reduced by 40%. The postmaster general, Congress or the president had arbitrarily reduced your wages and your retirement annuity by the whopping sum of 40% and you had no legal or contractual means of contesting the decision. Can you imagine how your life would have changed if your bi weekly salary was reduced in the amount of $1,000 each by weekly period or $25,000 per year? (This is not an exact amount, but when including night differential, premiums, your specific Grade and Step and your reduced annuity it is ball park math.) Let say you went to work one day and were informed that your new salary would be in this amount and your choice was to take it or leave it.
In this hypothetical, it was Congress, the PMG or the president who reduced your salary. Would you refuse to engage in appeal to the initiator, closing ranks because a decision had been made and it was in the national’s interest? We pretend that the culprit was Chairman Issa and your salary was reduced, would you expect that dissent would be stifled in the name of solidarity? Or would you expect that all voices including former union officials join in the chorus to oppose you being singled out for serious wage cuts in which you were denied voice and vote? If Congress, the PMG or the president imposed such serious wage reductions on you, while excluding others would you understand? Furthermore, would you resent an ex union official speaking on your behalf?
This was the scenario, but it wasn’t you it was someone else and it wasn’t Congress, the PMG or the president but the union. Does that change the equation? I think not, and my postings were the voice of millions of future employees. Done!