Legislative update: May 15, 2015

Roundtable: Challenges and opportunities for USPS in a digital age
Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) hosted a roundtable discussion on Tuesday with key postal stakeholders about challenges and opportunities in a digital age.
The roundtable was the second in a planned series of three to explore the challenges and opportunities to innovate the structure and services of USPS. The series comes as the House and Senate prepare to draft postal reform bills.
NALC participated in the roundtable and was joined by representatives from Hallmark, the Government Accountability Office, Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, and the Postal Service. Click here to read more.

State battles: Illinois rejects ‘right to work’ proposal
The Illinois State House of Representatives voted unanimously to reject Gov. Bruce Rauner’s (R) proposal to create local (and so-called) “right-to-work” zones in the state as a part of his so-called “Turnaround Agenda.”
If passed, these measures—which are being promoted in states nationwide—would allow workers to pay nothing and still get all the benefits of union membership.
“So-called ‘right-to-work’ proposals are clear attacks on workers’ rights,” NALC President Fredri Rolando said. “It’s encouraging to see pro-union states such as Illinois reject these policies.” Click here to read more.

Congressional bill tracker
As the 114th Congress continues to consider various legislative proposals, NALC is keeping an eye on it all—the good, the bad and the ugly. While some of these bills benefit the Postal Service and NALC members, many are unfortunately detrimental to all federal employees. Click here to check out our online bill tracker.

Fast Track update
Following lots of twists and turns in the debate over how to consider Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)—better known as Fast Track—and related bills, it seems that the Senate is off and running in how it will consider TPA and what it will take to get it across the finish line in the Senate. Click here to read more.

In budget news…
For the first time in five years, the House and Senate agreed to a joint budget resolution. On May 5, the Senate gave final approval to the deal (S. Con. Res. 11) with a 51-to-46 vote, mostly along party lines. Click here to read more.

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Commentary: Stop fast-track trade agreement bill in its tracks

“Whenever a president — Democrat or Republican — negotiates a foreign trade agreement, he promises more exports and more jobs. Time after time the result has been fewer U.S. jobs, lower wages and a larger trade deficit.”

By  Dan Lipinski
Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski represents the 3rd District of Illinois.

Read the entire commentary here.


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Fast Track is heating up THIS WEEK on Capitol Hill

From NALC News and Updates
When Congress comes back to Washington this week after its spring recess, both the House and the Senate are expected to begin consideration of Fast Track legislation.

As the issue of Fast Track begins to heat up, it’s critical that you respond and make your voice heard! On Saturday, April 18, the AFL-CIO and its coalition of partners are holding a nationwide day of action. Click here to find events in your area and check back often as more events are announced.

Any trade deal is going to have a huge impact on America’s workers. Fast Track legislation allows power brokers to shape trade deals to their advantage and to shield the details from the public and policy experts alike. Fast Track legislation is undemocratic and almost always ends in trade deals that benefit corporations and the rich, that eliminate jobs, and that cut wages and benefits for millions of hardworking families across America. Trade deals should not be crafted behind closed doors.

Trade deals ought to lift up the standards of working people across this nation. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal would mean more jobs will be sent overseas. TPP gives special rights and benefits to companies that offshore investment and jobs.

Fast Track would not just allow for a quick vote on the TPP—which could include a ban on postal banking—but also on a number of other trade agreements under negotiation as well. For example, the World Trade Organization is sponsoring the negotiation of a trade in services agreement (TISA) among dozens of countries, and the U.S. government is in talks with the European Union on a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), which would cover our economic interaction with the EU’s 27 countries.

In both of these negotiations, the Europeans are calling for the United States to phase out the Postal Service’s monopoly on the delivery of letter mail—a policy adopted by the EU between 1992 and 2011. So in other words, allowing T-TIP and TISA to be fast-tracked could pose a direct threat to our jobs and our system of affordable universal service.

To learn more about the negative impact of Fast Track legislation on America’s working families, visit www.nofasttrack.com.

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2015 MSALC State Convention Details Announced

The details of the 2015 MSALC State Convention have been announced. It will be hosted by NALC Branch 2394 on May 16-17, 2015 at the Northeastland Hotel, 436 Main Street, Presque Isle, Maine. For more details, click here.

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NALC Legislative Update: Jan. 12, 2015 114th Congress convenes

Last Tuesday, the 114th Congress convened and all 535 members of the House and Senate were sworn in. In the house, there are 247 Republicans and 188 Democrats; in the Senate, 54 Republicans and 44 Democrats, plus two Independents who will continue caucusing with the Democrats.

With 74 new members of Congress coming in, letter carriers have a lot of work to do as we prepare for this session and the proposals that are sure to come quickly. With regard to letter carrier issues, our continued emphasis will be on addressing the pre-funding burden, the importance of maintaining services such as six-day mail delivery and door delivery, and fighting against operational cuts while promoting initiatives that would allow the Postal Service to innovate to serve the needs of residential and business customers. If your member of Congress is new, we encourage you to make contact and apprise him or her about the importance of the U.S. Postal Service in your district. Click here to read more about these issues.

As you know, House and Senate recesses and district work periods provide an ideal opportunity for you to engage with members of Congress while they are at home, and we encourage all letter carriers to use those opportunities during these in-district dates. Click hereto view the 114th congressional calendar for the House and Senate.

Please contact the NALC Department of Government Affairs if you have any questions.

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NALC Legislative Update, December 19, 2014

The NALC has issued the December 19, 2014 Legislative Update. Click here to read more about the 113th Congress, FY 2015 government funding, Senate committee assignments, Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act, and House hearings on pension processing.

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The MSALC will hold the 2015 State Convention the weekend of May 16-17, 2015 in Presque Isle, Maine. Click here or on the link above for more information as it becomes available.

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NALC 69th Biennial Convention Held in Philadelphia

Letter carriers from Maine and across the country gathered in Philadelphia July 21-25 for the 69th Biennial Convention of the NALC. Despite all the activities going on, members of the Maine State Association managed to gather for a photo at the convention center. For information and video of the convention activities, click here.

MSALC Convention photo_6012_small

From Left to Right: Branch 92 Secretary Treasurer Mark Seitz, Branch 92 Trustee John MacGregor, Branch 92 Retiree Representative Larry Woods, Branch 92 Sergeant at Arms Bill Devine, MSALC President Mitch Bowman, Tim White-Branch 391, Tim Cameron-Branch 391, Branch 1448 President Jon Brackett, Branch 2394 President Matt Callnan, Branch 92 President Lisa Gashlin, Branch 92 Scribe Mike Hatem, Branch 92 Assistant Secretary Treasurer Bridget Cervisi DeRoche, Branch 92 Trustee Glen Swett.

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Bangor Daily News Publishes Letter Urging Support for FairPoint Workers

The Bangor Daily News published the following letter from retired (but still active!) letter carrier John Curtis:

Fair deal

Stable and thriving communities are anchored in jobs that pay decent wages and benefits. The 71 percent of Americans who support raising the minimum wage, according to a new CNN Money poll, understand this. But the situation unfolding at FairPoint Communications shows that, if we want our communities to flourish, it’s not enough to support a pay boost for low-wage workers. We should also oppose corporations that try to slash the pay and benefits of workers who already have achieved a decent standard of living through unionization and hard-fought struggles engaged in over many years.

It often seems like the nation’s corporate elite, the 1 percent, will never be happy until most workers have been reduced to the lowest wages. The hedge fund companies that own the bulk of FairPoint are trying to achieve this low goal right now. If they succeed, our communities will lose not only good service from well-trained and dedicated communication workers, they will also lose jobs that pay decent wages that are spent in our local businesses.

If members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communications Workers of America in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are forced to strike or are locked out as a result of FairPoint’s job-killing ultimatums at the bargaining table, community members should support the workers by joining them on their picket lines, by contacting legislators and legislative candidates for support and by flooding the company with demands for a fair deal at FairPoint.

John Curtis


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H.R. 2291 Signed Into Law

From the NALC e-Activist Network:

H.R. 2291 is a done deal.

Last Friday, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 2291, a bill to designate New York City’s Grand Central Station post office in honor of former NALC President Vincent R. Sombrotto.

Now that this great honor to Vince is official, the Postal Service will work with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the bill’s original sponsor, to prepare a dedication ceremony.

It is gratifying to see this simple yet profound honor bestowed on our cherished former president. A heartfelt “thank you” to all NALC activists whose hard work helped make this possible.

In solidarity,

Fredric Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers

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Maine AFL-CIO Update

Boots on the Ground

The time is now to take action to make sure that our union brother Mike Michaud is Maine’s next Governor.

Can you join us for one door to door canvass this month to talk to voters about Mike and our other endorsed candidates?
SIGN UP TODAY by clicking here:

  • Wednesday, August 13th in Orono

  • Wednesday, August 20th in Scarborough, Lewiston, Ellsworth and Damariscotta.

Can we count you in? Call us at 622-9675 for more information and to sign-up to help out.

FairPoint Actions – Tuesday the 12th

Our Brothers and Sisters at IBEW 2327 and CWA 1400 who work at FairPoint are now working without a contract, since their contract expired at midnight on August 2nd.

The workers are asking supporters like us to stand with them for informational picketing on the early morning of Tuesday, August 12th. Locations and exact times are being finalized and we will get those to you ASAP.

FairPoint has made it clear they want massive, unacceptable concessions. The unions put forward proposals that would save the company $180 million dollars, and the company flat out refused the package as a “non-starter” because they are looking for many times that in concessions.

FairPoint is not interested in anything other than making money for the Wall Street hedge funds that control it.

Above: IBEW and CWA members and supporters holding a vigil last Saturday in Portland to mark the expiration of the contract.

Join us in Orono– Summer Institute

It is not too late to register for the Summer Institute, happening the 13th and 14th in Orono! Register today by clicking here.

The Maine AFL-CIO Labor Summer Institute is a 2-day solidarity school, held in conjunction with the Maine Bureau of Labor Education, where union members come together to meet each other, learn new skills and build our power.

This year we have three great guest speakers lined up: Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute, artist Robert Shetterly of Americans Who Tell the Truth, and Mike Prokosch, dynamic labor educator. All three have inspired us at past Summer Institutes and been favorites on the evaluations– so don’t miss them!

The Summer Institute will be held on August 13 & 14 at the University of Maine in Orono. Is someone from your local attending? Register today by clicking here.

Labor Summer Institute
 August 13 & 14
University of Maine in Orono

Click here for more information and to register or call us directly.

We hope to see you there! Please email with any questions, or call 207 622 9675.

Labor Day Events Statewide

Don’t miss these exciting and fun events across Maine to celebrate Labor’s Day!

Sunday, August 31st
Central Maine Labor Council BBQ and Rally; 12-3 pm
Capitol Park, Augusta
Free food, games, speakers, pie eating contest
RSVP to centralmainelabor@yahoo.com

Monday, September 1
Southern Maine Labor Council Labor Day Breakfast 8- 10 am (Doors open at 7 am)
Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray Street, Portland
$25 tickets (student, family, low-income rates available)
RSVP to Wayne Poland at 892-4067
Local unions encouraged to bring banners for a short march at the end

Western Maine Labor Council Free BBQs in 3 locations; 1-3:30 pm
Lewiston: IBEW 567 Hall, 238 Goddard Road
Jay: USW 14 Hall, 16 Intervale Rd
Rumford: USW 900 Hall, 232 Rt 108
(Free food, drinks and desserts provided. Optional lobsters for sale at Lewiston for $10)

Eastern Maine Labor Council BBQ and Chili Cook-off; 5-7 pm
Solidarity Center, 20 Ivers Street, Brewer
$10 Suggested donation at the door
989-4141 for more info

Heath Care is a Human Right!

Our allies at the Southern Maine Workers’ Center are hosting a Health Care is a Human Right event in Portland on Saturday, August 16th.

All Summer long volunteers with the Southern Maine Workers’ Center have been knocking on doors, going to county fairs, talking to folks at farmers’ markets and more, in order to build the power of the Maine Health Care is a Human Right campaign as part of our Strangers into Neighbors project. On August 16th they are getting their neighbors together to celebrate!

Saturday, August 16th
Noon-4pm at Deering Oaks Park, Portland
(rain date is the 17th)

Health Care is a Human Right Rally- 1-2pm
•Health Screening Clinic (Staffed by volunteers from Maine State Nurses Association) Noon-4pm
•Arts and activities
•Connecting the dots- Human Rights Teach-Ins 2-4pm
*Food served from Noon-3pm (or as long as it lasts)
•Childcare will be provided

Learn more about Strangers into Neighbors by visiting our website: http://www.maineworkers.org/strangers-to-neighbors/

To RSVP, join the Strangers into Neighbors Challenge, or volunteer on the 16th please contact Cait: cait@maineworkers.org or calling 603-897-9676

Please DO NOT park inside the park. The Farmers’ Market uses parking in the park on Saturdays. Thanks!

 Maine AFL-CIO   •   21 Gabriel Drive, Augusta, Maine 04330  •   www.maineaflcio.org  • facebook.com/maineaflcio

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Labor Event in Ellsworth Includes Showing of “Salt of the Earth”

The photo and caption below were posted on the Fairness at Fairpoint Facebook page. (http://fairnessatfairpoint.com/) John Curtis, a retired letter carrier  and editor of the Branch 391, newsletter, organized the event.

Fairpoint DSCN0722

“Last night, [IBEW] 2327 members Lyn Grandmont and Todd Foster represented our unions [IBEW and CWA] at a showing of Salt of the Earth in Ellsworth, ME. The crowd was great and they did a fantastic job. A big thank you to John Curtis of the Maine State Association of Letter Carriers, who organized the event, and to Lyn and Todd for representing us so well.”

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NALC Legislative Update June 20, 2014

Click here to read the complete NALC Legislative Update by Kori Blalock Keller,
NALC Director of Legislative & Political Affairs. Issues discussed are the Highway Trust Fund—USPS offset, House subcommittee appropriations measure without six-day language, and the shakeup in House leadership.


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NALC Legislative Update: Six-day Under Attack

from Kori Blalock Keller, NALC Director of Legislative & Political Affairs

Once again, Congress is dropping the ball on postal reform. Rather than working on legislation that fixes the crisis it created with the 2006 mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, and rather than formulating smart reforms that will allow the Postal Service to innovate and thrive in the 21st century, Congress instead focuses on counterproductive service cuts. This coming week, we face two new threats to Saturday delivery. Both are distractions from what Congress should be doing to fix the Postal Service.

Click HERE to read the complete report.

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Maine AFL-CIO: Troy Jackson delivered a stirring, passionate speech at the Maine Democratic Convention in Bangor

(From the Maine AFL-CIO Weekly Update) Troy Jackson delivered a stirring, passionate speech at the Maine Democratic Convention in Bangor last weekend. It was a call for working people to stand up and stand together. Did you see it?  Take a minute to watch it. Click here to watch: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD9GAqKX53Y

Tuesday, June 10th Maine voters have a chance to nominate State Senator Troy Jackson for U.S. Congress. As you can see from the speech, Troy has the workers of Maine as his number one priority, and he will fight for us every single day in D.C.

WE NEED YOU to help elect Troy. Can you volunteer three hours of your time between now and 8 pm Tuesday when the polls close to make sure Troy’s supporters get out to vote?

Please call us at 622-9675 or email sarah@maineaflcio.org if you can take a shift to make sure our supporters don’t forget to get out to the polls Saturday.


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Rolando: House GOP plan to aid transportation fund by degrading postal services would damage economy, not achieve goals

May 31, 2014—NALC President Fredric Rolando said the proposal by House Republican leaders to temporarily fund highway construction by degrading postal services would damage the economy while failing to achieve desired transportation goals. Click here to read President Rolando’s full statement.

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Postal Unions Form Alliance

Declaration promises joint efforts

Declaring that “the U.S. Postal Service is under unprecedented attack,” the four postal unions have formed an alliance to fight back to preserve America’s postal service for the benefit of the public.

Click here to learn more on NALC.com.

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‘Highly encouraging’ report reveals $765 million USPS profit

Today, the U.S. Postal Service released its financial report for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2014, which covers the last three months of 2013. “The Postal Service figures are highly encouraging and show why the postal network must be maintained and strengthened, not degraded,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “The announced operating profit of $765 million for the first quarter is dramatic in itself—and it continues the operating profitability that began last year.” Click here to read the president’s full statement.

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S. 1486 clears Senate committee, 9 to 1

Today, the Senate committee with Postal Service oversight, the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, finished its mark-up of the modified Carper-Coburn postal bill, S. 1486, and approved the measure by a vote of 9 to 1. “Unnecessary and damaging attacks on the Postal Service’s vital networks and its employees—such as those unfortunately included in S. 1486—would only send the USPS on a downward trajectory,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. Click here to read more.

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Budget negotiators reject Saturday delivery cut, unfairly target future federal employees

Dec. 11, 2013—NALC grassroots activists and the American public scored a huge victory on Tuesday when efforts to include elimination of Saturday mail delivery in the emerging budget agreement for 2014 failed.

To read more on the NALC website, click here.

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