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Brothers and Sisters,
Hello, my name is Thomas Benson and I am running for the office of APWU Legislative/Political Director during this year’s APWU National election. As you are aware, these are trying times for all the Postal Unions and the members. We must approach the political process differently… No more politics as usual. The time has come to not just look at party affiliation but to those in Congress who are willing to fight to save the United States Postal Service. It’s not about “left “or “right “is about those in congress willing to help us move forward. This is the first necessary step for the Legislative Department in the crucial goal of saving the United States Postal Service.
As Legislative Director I will mobilize union members at the State and Local levels for direct action with lawmakers. The APWU needs the State and Local Organizations to take our concerns to lawmakers locally. This process was very successful under other Legislative Directors. The current Administration and Legislative Director has walked away from a process that was undeniably successful and proven to work.
The Legislative Department must, MOTIVATE, ACTIVATE, and EDUCATE the members on the political process. I will work on a training programs that all members and officers can understand. I will then work with the locals on setting up Town Hall meetings, reaching out to State Legislators and educating the public on our fight. The verbiage is true…” MORE POWER IN NUMBERS”. I will work with Congress on repealing the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provisions.The two provisions have created steep hardships for those who have met the requirements for Social Security benefits but are penalized for previous employment under the CSRS.
As you may recall I ran for Legislative and Political Director of the APWU last election. I did so because of my love for the Union and wanted to better the lives of the members through good and positive legislation. Although I was not successful in that election, I never stopped doing what I could here in Ohio to better the lives of the members.
Now we see efforts to privatize the USPS. I was very open last election, that support for bad legislation would open the door to even worse attacks against the postal worker. The Legislative department cannot be short sited, they must look 5, 10 and 20 years down the road. The Legislative department of the APWU has become reactive rather than proactive. We must change the direction the APWU is headed or we will not recognize the USPS and the APWU in 5 years. The members must come first.
After careful consideration and seeing an obvious decline in the Legislative department, I am proud to run for Legislative and Political Director of the APWU. I will bring back respect, dignity and core union values back to the Legislative Department. It’s not about the salary, it’s about the reality of the fights ahead of us. As a current employee of the USPS, with at least 20 years left in my career, every choice and decision I make will have the members best interest at hand. I will not have the option to support bad legislation and just retire and not face the consequences of my choices. The fact is, I’m one of you. I’m an active member, who works the on the workroom daily and the currently on my fourth term as President of Local 1204. I will have every member and every retirees best interest in mind in every decision I make.
I am asking for your support and your help to make the APWU’s Legislative Department strong again.
Yours in Union Solidarity,
Candidate for Legislative/Political Director
From my time in the U.S. Army till now as Local 1204 President, I have always been fighting for what’s right. I will take this same fighting spirit to Washington D.C. where I will work with both sides of the isle. My priority as Legislative Director will be you the members and retirees. If legislation isn’t beneficial for the members and retirees, I will not endorse it.
Who I am
• 43 years old
• Married for 19 years
• Father of 3 boys ( ages 8, 14 and 18)
• U.S. Army Veteran ( 1st Cavalry Division, M1A1 Tanker )
• Freemason ( Temple Lodge 28, Painesville, Ohio )
• Resident of Roaming Shores, Ohio for 12 years
• 19 year member of Lake Geauga Area Local 1204, American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO
• Part time City Carrier for the Mentor Post Office 1999 thru 2000
• Full Time Custodian for the Painesville Post Office 2000-2001
• Part Time Flex Clerk 2001 – 2013
• Alternate Steward 2003 Painesville Post Office
• Chief Steward 2004 Painesville Post Office
• Maintenance Craft Director 2006 thru 2008
• Vice President 2009 thru 2012
• Associate Editor for Local #1204 newsletter, “ The Newsroom” 2013 to present
• President 2013 to present
• Organized and facilitated a merger with Geneva Local # 1471 in 2013
• Organized and facilitated a merger with North East Ohio Local # 872 in 2015
• Advanced the local from 21 offices to 32 offices 2013 – 2016
• Liaison to Congressman Dave Joyce and APWU Legislative Director on postal issues 2014 to present. (This began a strong relationship with a republican Congressman (one of very few ) who has truly worked for the Labor movement.)
• Recognized in The Postal Worker (APWU Magazine) by the American Postal Workers Union on 3 different occasions for my legislative work.
• Increased training for Stewards and Officers in Local 1204.
• Instructor for Union steward class held by Akron Local # 120.
• Organizer and Instructor for the Lake Geauga Area Local #1204 annual Step 1 and Step 2 Shop Steward classes.
• 2015 Awarded the John Duka Legacy Award for Officer of the Year
• 2016 Nominated for President of the Ashtabula County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council
- 2016 Ohio Postal Worker Union ( OPWU ) Member of the Year
- 2016 Former Candidate for APWU Legislative and Political Director
- 2017 Awarded the John Duka Legacy Award for Officer of the Year
- 2018 Appointed to Director of Veteran Affairs, OPWU
Through my experience and dedication, I have accomplished many goals for my Local as well as for the APWU National Union. I have the drive, the desire and the experience to be your next APWU Legislative/Political Director.