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My name is Sam Wood, President of the Southwest Florida Area Local. I am running for the position of APWU Executive Vice President. I have been local President for over 19 years. Over the years, I have witnessed a decline in wages and benefits, working conditions, and poor treatment of APWU represented employees. I feel it is time that I step up and try to make a difference.
During the last several years I have seen: PTF’s being overlooked or ignored, Retiree’s benefits being under constant attack, and management refusing timely conversions of PSE’s. Our workroom floor has developed into a battleground. Supervisors are doing whatever they desire with zero accountability. Bullying and harassment from management has intensified, and other crafts are performing APWU bargaining unit work on a daily basis. Employees from the other Postal Unions are earning more at lower levels than APWU employees working at a higher level. Rising health care costs with little or no pay increases are continuing, and it must stop! Rather than finding other progressive ways to fight to take our work back in RI-399, a deal was cut with a significantly smaller union that received an equal monetary settlement. Some locals will lose jobs because of this RI-399 deal, and some of our brothers and sisters are starting to give up hope. When will this chaos cease? Simple reality is that locals have been left to fend for themselves. The APWU has become a shell of itself and the focus has been shifted away from workers and Retirees.
These are some of the reasons why I have decided to run for the office of APWU Executive Vice President. I feel that we need to move in a different and positive direction and fight back to do more to assist our membership. Members need to be able to look to our National Officers to support them in every way possible. The “go it alone” approach has clearly not worked. Former APWU Presidents Moe Biller and William “Bill” Burrus were known as leaders who never forgot where they came from. I respected them as they always cared about those they represented. They always fought for better pay, benefits, and working conditions for our members. During the past two contracts, our health plan givebacks have resulted in a decrease in members pay and this bleeding must end.
Six years ago, my local finally heard an RI-399 arbitration case that was thirteen years old. It was the APWU versus the USPS and Mail Handlers (two versus one). Not one APWU National Officer thought we would triumph, but our local believed we would, and we did! Management then refused to negotiate a payment to our members. I went to APWU’s lawyer and he said they could not, and would not, do anything for us. I immediately began a search for a law firm that would take our local’s case to Federal Court. Our local overwhelmingly supported my choice in a law firm. After a lengthy court battle, our local, along with our attorneys, forced management to negotiate a settlement. We negotiated a $5.2 million settlement and paid over 600 employees who were either still working, retired, transferred, and deceased members families were compensated.
I have always been a fighter and have stood up to those wanting to harm our members. I have worked well with others but have never remained silent when our members were not well represented. If you want someone to fight back, I am that candidate. If you want someone as Executive Vice President that will allow himself/herself to be disrespected, to stay quiet, or to be a blank check for the President, that is not me. I am about change to the status quo. I am someone who will stand up and fight for all members regardless of their status in our great Union.
Working together we can make positive change, and I humbly ask for your support and vote for APWU Executive Vice President.
• Current Postal Employee and APWU Member (28 years)
• Southwest Florida Area Local Editor (1993-1994)
• APWU National Convention Delegate (1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
• Southwest Florida Area Local Vice President from (1997-1998)
• Southwest Florida Area Local President from (2001 to Present)
• APWU of Florida – Clerk Craft Director (2004-2006)
• National Clerk Craft Committee Member (2008)
• Community service work
• Chairman of the Minnesota Twins Golf Tournament as SWFAL-APWU President (2004-2010)
• Helped Lee Cancer Care raise $5 million for SW Florida local cancer center as Local President
• Middle and High School Coach – Variety of Sports (26+ years)
• Fought against the “Lights Out Facility’ (Fort Myers P&DC) and was successful (1996-2001)
• Researched and created the SWFAL-APWU local’s website (www.swfloridaapwu.org in 2009) with over 14 million hits
• Brought media attention to abusive managers disrespectful actions towards employees
• Fought the closure of the Fort Myers P&DC and was successful (2012)
• Was the last local to win backpay for employees in Level 4/Level 5 upgrades for Mail Processing Clerks
• Won one of the first settlements on progressive discipline for Postal Support Employees (PSE’s)
• Won major payouts, including a $1.6 million settlement locally for Casuals in Lieu of Career Employees
• Won the first case on Holiday Annuitant Supervisors (Christmas) which settled backpay for employees
• Only local to win 2 vs 1 against management and another Union in arbitration (RI-399 Flats Prep Case)
• Hired our own Law Firm to represent the Southwest Florida Area Local when National wouldn’t or couldn’t
• Took the USPS to Federal Court multiple times (and prevailed) forcing the USPS to negotiate with local Union
• Negotiated a $5.2 million settlement in a RI-399 case for the Southwest Florida Area Local
• In 2017, paid out settlements to everyone that worked from 2000-2006 (Retirees, Transfers & the Deceased’s family members)
• Created yearly Health Plan Comparison Sheets (2008-2019)
• Distributed detailed notes for National Conventions, President’s Conferences, and other significant events
• Submitted articles regarding members being sold out due to poorly negotiated settlements (Contracts, RI-399, etc.)