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As the President of the Citrus Center Area Local and the Florida State Business Agent for District 7, I am honored to be appointed the new Organizing Director for the State of Florida. I have already been in contact with Frank Romero, our National Organizing Director and have attended an organizing drive in Orlando with some of our National Officers.

Over the past several months, I have noticed a trend developing in that America's workforce is losing jobs at an alarming rate which is in turn depleting the rolls of unions nationwide. Let me give you some facts:

1. One of the largest unions in our country, the UAW (United Auto Workers), has lost 73,500 members since this time last year.

2. Since 2001, automakers and suppliers have cut jobs and closed factories to be more competitive and as a result there are 237, 000 fewer jobs.

The APWU is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, a federation of 66 national unions with a combined 13 million members. There are many reasons to be a member of our union and we have to get the message to non-members that TODAY is the day to join our ranks as we strive to become stronger together. We are one of the few remaining long-standing unions with our over 250,000 members and we need to continue that tradition into the future. Our current contract has given us some of the largest pay increases (including our cost of living adjustments) that we have ever seen. There has never been a better time to tell non-members what the APWU has done for all of us, including:

bullet Wages - Regular pay increases, cost of living adjustments, Sunday premium pay, night differential pay, and double time for excessive overtime.

bullet Benefits - 84 % of premiums paid by USPS, basic life insurance fully paid by the USPS, ten paid holidays, generous sick leave and vacation benefits.

bullet Job Security - Jobs awarded by seniority, training programs to upgrade skills and opportunities, and a negotiated no lay-off clause.

bullet Representation - Outstanding representation in contract negotiations, effective grievance procedure, and an active legislation program to fight for postal workers on Capitol Hill.

bullet Union Democracy - Direct elections of all union offices, membership ratification of contracts, opportunities to participate at all levels of the organization.

bullet Members Only Privileges - APWU MasterCard (with no annual fee, low balance transfer rate, and competitive interest rate), Union Plus discounts (college scholarships, mortgage program, entertainment and theme park discounts, car buying services, etc.), APWU Health Plan, Voluntary Benefits Plan, Accident Benefit Association, and APWU magazine. In 2009, we will be working towards boosting our Union membership in Florida. As most everyone is aware, we are experiencing some of the most difficult issues that we have ever had including the Tour 2 to Tour 3 compression, the excessing at installations all over the state, and the AMP (Area Mail Processing) consolidation of Plants.

With a larger and more unified membership we can speak louder and have the power to thwart oncoming issues. In the next couple of months I will outline a plan on how and what we will be do to try to boost our ranks. I will meet with the State Executive Board and stay in touch with your National Director of Organization. Working together, I believe we can make a difference.

In Solidarity,
Joe Paul