The status quo is no longer acceptable. We need leadership that will bring change immediately. We need leaders that will hold the Postal Service accountable for their actions. Brothers and Sisters, my name is Gwen Lane. I am the Delaware State President. I am running for the position of Eastern Region Coordinator.
For 33 of my 34 years, I have been a dedicated union official for the APWU serving in many positions from a local advocate to national advocate. Locally, I have served as President, Vice-President, Director of Industrial Relations, and Trustee of the Wilmington De Malcolm T. Smith Area Local 152. I have served as the State President since 1992. I started my training through the APWU Research and Education Department, studying arbitration. I expanded my knowledge in Arbitration and Labor Studies by attending George Meany Labor Institute. I am a trained advocate in Arbitration and Mediation. I am also trained in OWCP and EEO, always looking to be better at serving our membership. In 2014, I was selected to be the Executive Assistant to the Director of Industrial Relations. In my role as the assistant, I was an overseer of many of the programs under the DIR’s responsibilities, including but not limited to, safety, FMLA, the JAZZ arbitration process and Grievance-Arbitration System. One of the programs I am most proud of is the non-compliance process that was put in place to assist locals in getting their settlements processed and finalized. This position required direct contact with the national officers and the Postal Service. Being a part of the national negotiations team during the 2016 contract was the highest achievement of my postal career. We were successful in negotiating a contract!
My training and union leadership background led me to leadership opportunities in my community. I am presently a volunteer mediator for the State of Delaware Criminal Justice System for First Offenders. I am the President of my civic association, a member of CBTU, a member of Post Office Women for Equal Rights (POWER), and founder of the Delaware Alliance of Postal Unions (Carriers and Mailhandlers). I just recently relinquished my position the chair-person on the State Congressional Committee which I had the pleasure of leading from 2005-2018. I also relinquished my position on the Delaware United Way Board of Directors to pursue other avenues of interest. The Eastern Region Coordinator is my interest right now, where I can be of service to our APWU President and our membership.
Being a community activist, I have developed strong relationships with the leaders in my community that have helped me to fight for the rights of our postal brothers and sisters. In 2006, and 2012 we were faced with the possibility of a plant closure. Because of the relationship with a State Legislator in my district, the Delaware Alliance of Postal Unions was able to save our service on both occasions. If you recall 2012-2013 was the most tumultuous year for closures around the country. We were all in panic mode. But thanks to relationships, we were able to bring all of our Congressional leadership to the town hall meeting with the Postal Service on that cold, snowy night of January 10, 2013. As Regional Coordinator, my goal is to assist our leaders and members in building these types of relationships with their community.
Right now, our membership is fighting for job security. Recently as State President, I have been successful at preparing winning grievances regarding Article 1.6 (management performing bargaining unit work). I have also resolved cases on Article 7 grievances on carriers performing clerk work. The results have been so lucrative that it has cost the USPS in just 2 post offices, at least $80,000 in one year. And they say the postal service is broke! I am not running for Eastern Region Coordinator to win grievances, I am running to stop the violations, so that we have a Postal Service for our future generation of Postal Workers.
My goal as Eastern Region Coordinator, is to bring unity to the Eastern Region among our leaders and members. From our national officers, the state and local executive boards, and our shop stewards, we all must be on the same page; sharing the same message focusing on the same results. My plan of action is to improve our line of communication by utilizing technology, training, and by sharing information by mail via our own United States Postal Service. Violations of the contract that affect our members daily cannot just sit on the back burner and wait until a union leader decides to act. Our members are suffering, and other crafts are walking across bargaining unit lines doing our work and calling it their work. We must stop the sexual abuse, the verbal abuse and the cross-craft violations, the bargaining unit work and the list goes on. I have been successful at all of the above and more in Delaware.
I am prepared to take those fights and many more to Washington. With the right leaders in office, we can take back our union, take back our jobs, and get a contract. Only then we will begin to regain the respect locally and nationally that we deserve and were accustomed to. Through our leadership, commitment and information sharing, we will make it happen!