CANDIDATES

Clint Burelson

Clint Burelson

Clerk Division Director

I was born and raised in Hawaii by loving and supportive parents and my grandmother who was a pastry chef and union steward. I have had a good life and would like others to have one as well.

Prior to working at the Post Office, I worked in a pineapple cannery on Maui, a fish processing barge in Alaska, and a Christmas tree farm in Washington State.

I was hired at the Post Office in Olympia, Washington in October 1985. I was very appreciative to have a good paying union job with excellent benefits and I knew who to thank.

When I became a new steward towards the end of 1986, I believed in working as hard for the union as I did for the Postal Service.  

While working at the Post Office, I graduated with a degree in Labor Studies and Political Science from the Evergreen State College. I was the first person in my family on both sides to graduate from college. Union wages helped put me, my wife, and all three daughters through college.

I first became president of the Olympia Local in 1990. I served one term and then voluntarily stepped down to rotate leadership. I remained as Chief Steward throughout my time in the Local.  I served as president again after a few years, until elected to national position. I also served at the Local union newsletter editor off and on over the years. 

In 2005, I worked with others to stop the consolidation of the Olympia Plant and helped provide resources that other locals utilized for their anti-consolidation efforts. We showed that the APWU should and could fight against consolidations, which many said was not “grievable,” or winnable.  

In 2011, I wrote several in-depth web articles providing reasons to oppose the 2010 APWU contract that among other things, created a three-tier pay scale. The new career pay scale was $5,000 less per year than the old career pay scale. In addition, new employees now had to start as non-career employees and were paid significantly lower wages and did not receive health care or retirement. With this new contract, twenty percent of Clerk Craft employees could be non-career PSEs. Prior to the 2010 contract less than 6% of the Clerk Craft was non-career. 

Postal workers in 1970 risked their jobs for better wages in the Great Postal Strike of 1970.  I could not believe that in the 2010 contract we were giving away something previous postal workers had fought so hard for and we had no right to give away. 

Since I was first elected Director of the Clerk Division in 2013, the Clerk Craft has made significant progress. The Clerk Craft notably won $56 million in the 1.6.b settlement, $49.9 million for POStPlan Staffing violations, and $36 million for the Sales Retention Team settlement, as well as numerous favorable arbitrator decisions, Step 4 agreements and MOUs.  These same settlements, and the Jobs MOU arbitration award, also won a substantial number of sit-down jobs.   

The successful Staples fight stopped a large Fortune 500 corporation and subsequent corporations from taking postal work from the Clerk Craft. This victory, which preserved window jobs, was made possible by the collective action of thousands of postal workers, retirees, and their families and friends who stood in front of Staples stores and encouraged others to boycott Staples.

In the 2015 national negotiations, the Clerk Craft negotiated an updated MOU to fill residual vacancies and established new contract language in Article 37.5.D, which provides for the conversion of PSEs within the installation after the conversion of any PTFs.  This provision converts PSEs much faster and will go into effect once the MOU on Filling Residual Vacancies expires. As it stands, over 62,000 PSEs to date have been converted to career. 

In addition, significant progress was made in protecting PTFs through the 1.6.b and POStPlan staffing settlements, accelerating the conversion of PTFs to full-time, and establishing a favorable pecking order for PTFs regarding assignments to other installations, including selecting not to work in other installations. 

In part, the Clerk Craft has functioned well because as director, I value the input and talents of both Assistant Clerk Craft Directors.  I utilize a democratic style of leadership in order to facilitate the Clerk Craft team working together effectively for the greatest benefit of the union.  

However, there is still much more we can do.  Significant goals include getting management to honor the contract without requiring a grievance. Goals include getting rid of the three-tier pay scales by eliminating the lower pay scale for career employees and the even lower pay scale for PSEs.  We must continue to work to convert PSEs to career as quickly as possible.  It is a strong priority to accelerate the conversion of PTFs to full-time, continue the effort to take back work currently performed by management, and to increase wages and benefits for all.   

In order to protect the future of the Clerk Craft and the USPS, we must eliminate or reduce corporate discounts that siphon work away from the craft. The business model of USPS management has been one of dismantling the USPS while giving economic advantages to large corporations. We must persuade the USPS to re-think this approach and embolden them to have a growth mindset and democratic vision for our public Postal Service. We must encourage them to bring in new work, valuable community service, and revenue through implementing postal banking and internet services.  

Moving forward, we need a balanced strategy which utilizes the grievance procedure, political activism, and collective action to fight management and the large mailers who seek to shape the public Postal Service to serve private corporate interests at the expense of postal workers and the public interest. We must encourage the USPS to remember their mission is to, “bind the nation together,” and to pursue the “achievement of worthwhile and satisfying careers in the service of the United States.”

The Together We Win team led by President Mark Dimondstein provides the most effective candidates capable of mobilizing the potential power of the APWU to lead us into a bright future together.  I ask for your vote and your support for myself and all the candidates of the Together We Win team. For more information, visit https://apwutogetherwewin.org

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