Delivering Hope

Delivering Hope

Every second Saturday in May, letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive — the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO), with help from rural letter carriers, other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered more than one billion pounds of food the past 24 years. Carriers collect non-perishable food donations left next to mailboxes and in post offices and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters. Nearly 1,500 NALC branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands are involved. The United States Postal Service, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, AFL-CIO, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), United Way, Valassis and Valpak Direct Marketing Systems are all supporting this year’s Stamp Out Hunger food drive. To donate, just place a box or can of non-perishable food next to your mailbox before your letter carrier delivers mail on the second Saturday in May. The carrier will do the rest. The food is sorted, and delivered to an area food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families. With 49 million people facing hunger every day in America, including nearly 16 million children, this drive is one way you can help those in your own city or town who need...

Water is a Human Right

If health care is a human right, then clean water is no less so. The two are closely intertwined. Yet, from Flint, Michigan, to Hoosick Falls, New York, to Fresno, California and hundreds more cities and towns nationally, water supplies are polluted and dangerous. The resultant harm to health in children and adults is well documented. Yet, it takes a health and safety catastrophe, such as occurred in Flint’s lead poisoning of children, to bring more than handwringing. In other cities and towns, inadequate water supply systems threaten to cause health problems, raise the cost of water to homeowners and waste vast quantities of water through deteriorating antiquated pipes. One example of this problem is Washington, DC, which still utilizes some wooden water pipes and suffers significant water waste. What can be done. If we recognize the criticality of clean water and the means to provide it, why are we not doing more to resolve the problem. This part of our infrastructure, if repaired or replaced, would bring immediate benefits to health, job growth and  property values. Members of the UA in Flint are working to help homeowners whose pipes have been damaged by the bad water a misguided emergency manager inflicted upon the city. These members should be honored for their public service, but the installation of faucets and filters is only a temporary band aid. The city of Flint will need to replace its aged lead and galvanized pipes that lead the water to area homes. Main lines will need to be replaced. An issue that extends far beyond the city of Flint and the state of...
Spotlight the Label–National Association of Letter Carriers

Spotlight the Label–National Association of Letter Carriers

The National Association of Letter Carriers is the sole representative of city delivery letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service. Since it was founded in Milwaukee in 1889, the NALC has had a long and distinguished history of defending the rights of letter carriers before abusive supervisors, unfair presidential administrations and indifferent Congresses. NALC is the only force that fights to protect the interests of city letter carriers. The NALC is governed both by a constitution and by the will of delegates to NALC’s biennial national conventions. For day-to-day operations, NALC’s Executive Council leads the union. The Council is made up of 10 resident national officers: president, executive vice president, vice president, secretary-treasurer, assistant secretary-treasurer, director of city delivery, director of safety and health, director of retired members, director of life insurance and director of the NALC Health Benefit Plan. Three trustees are also on the Council, as are the national business agents who represent the union’s 15 geographic regions. But NALC’s real strength, power and representation start at the local level with members belonging to more than 2,000 locals, known as branches, throughout the country. ...
Americans Depend on Clean Water

Americans Depend on Clean Water

Some 25 percent of all Americans depend on a for-profit source for their water supplies making the debacle in Flint a very repeatable possibility. March 22 is “World Water Day,” a day created by the United Nations to inspire people to take action and work toward ensuring all people have access to safe water and sanitation systems. Water is a basic human right, but right now, the United States water infrastructure is failing and access to clean water, what has been thought of as a third-world problem, is now a crisis in our nation. Flint, Mich., and its highly publicized public health crisis stemming from its contaminated water system is just another example of the U.S.’s failing infrastructure and how private companies are using these tragedies to their advantage. When the Flint’s emergency manager used his power to switch the city from Detroit’s water system to the polluted Flint River, the move had a negative impact on Detroit as well. Since 2004, according to city records, the Detroit water system has operated with budget deficits that averaged $57 million a year. Pulling Flint off its system – which was its biggest customer – exacerbated Detroit’s problems and forced Detroit to raise its own customers’ rates. The city began cutting off water to residents with unpaid bills while leaving bigger customers alone. It wasn’t until national outcry and growing public scrutiny that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) was forced to stop the shutoffs. It was then recommended that the DWSD be privatized – creating a public-private partnership (P3) right out of the playbook of the American Legislative Exchange...

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