National Postal Mail Handlers Union - Unity · Democracy · Strength - Division of LIUNA - AFL-CIO

National Postal Mail Handlers Union A Division of LIUNA (AFL-CIO)

Media Center / News

Aug 8

Tuesday, August 7, 2012: Day 2 of the Convention

                  The Convention reconvened this morning for the second day of the NPMHU’s centennial celebration.  The day started with a brief message from Rep. Peter Defazio (D-OR), in which the Congressman shared some motivational words, encouraging Mail Handlers to continue to fight for their collective bargaining rights.  Rep. Defazio also gave a special thanks to David Jarvis, President of Local 315 in Portland, Oregon, for playing an integral role in assisting the Congressman in developing “a thoughtful, sustainable bill for the Postal Service.”

Invocation delivered by Brother Reggie Riggins, Treasurer of Local 310

                 Following Congressman DeFazio was an inspiring Invocation, delivered by Brother Reggie Riggins, Treasurer of Local 310.  President Hegarty then delivered an emotional tribute to our veterans and to all American troops.  A gripping video portraying the heroic acts of our Service Members was played, and then, with great respect and admiration for our troops, President Hegarty asked those delegates who have served in the military to rise and be recognized, proclaiming that “Because of brave Americans like you, we live our lives in freedom.  We salute you!” 

Delegates who served in the military rose and were recognized by their fellow Mail Handlers.

                  The first order of official business for Tuesday morning was the presentation of the Second Supplemental Report of the Credentials Committee, once again delivered by Chairwoman Madelyn Puricelli of Local 320.  The purpose of this report was to inform the delegates that the number of registered delegates in attendance had increased by one, resulting in a total of 278 certified delegates to the Convention. 

                  Sister June Harris, Vice President of Local 306 and Chairwoman of the Elections Committee, delivered the much anticipated results of the Election for National Judges of Election, the balloting for which took place following yesterday’s proceedings.   Coming in first place was Susanna Paniagua of Local 320, with Kevin Tabarus of Local 300 coming in second, and Michael Rembelinsky of Local 308 coming in third.  These newly elected Judges of Election will have the important duty of supervising the forthcoming election for National Officers.  Brother Kevin Tabarus was appointed as Chair of the Judges of Election, and he took the podium to accept nominations for National Officers for the 2012 election.

National Judges of Election (l-r) Mike Rembelinsky, Local 308, Susanna Paniagua, Local 320, Chair Kevin Tabarus, Local 300

Chair, Judges of National Elections, Kevin Tabarus, receives nominations for national union offices.

                  National President John Hegarty and National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner were both nominated, without opposition, and both were declared duly re-elected by acclamation to the thunderous roar of the delegates.  Incumbent Vice Presidents Jefferson C. Peppers, III from the Central Region and Paul Hogrogian from the Northeastern Region were also duly elected by acclamation to their respective offices, and both received jubilant applause from the delegates.  The other three Regional Vice President positions will be the subject of upcoming elections.  For Western Regional Vice President, incumbent Rudy Santos of Local 320 will square off against Kimberly Rojas of Local 302.  In addition, because of the upcoming retirements of Sam D’Ambrosio, Eastern Region Vice President, and Bruce Z. Miller, Southern Region Vice President, there were several nominations for those positions.  In the Southern Region, Brothers Lawrence Sapp of Local 318, Pervous “Andy B” Badilishimwalimu of Local 310, and John R. Macon of Local 329 will face off in a primary election on Wednesday, August 8, in accordance with the provisions governing elections in the National Constitution, so that the field of candidates will be narrowed down to two, both of whom will appear on a mail-ballot election in the fall.   Likewise, In the Eastern Region, five candidates will be subject to Wednesday’s primary election:  John Gibson of Local 308; Eugene Horton of Local 305; James Bell of Local 304; Kevin Fletcher of Local 305; and Clyde Patterson of Local 304.


National President John Hegarty was nominated without opposition and declared duly re-elected by acclamation.

National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner was also re-elected by acclamation.

Incumbent Vice-President Jefferson C. Peppers, III, Central Region, was duly re-elected by acclamation.

Incumbent Vice-President Paul Hogrogian, Northeastern Region, was also was duly re-elected by acclamation.

                  Following the nominations for National Officers, the delegates had the pleasure of receiving special guest, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).  Congressman Grijalva shared his thoughts on possible avenues toward amelioration of the Postal Service’s current crisis, and he also provided the delegates with a look into his own past, explaining how his father’s membership in a labor union shaped his own convictions regarding the role of the labor movement in America.  The Congressman’s father told him as a young boy, “I work with my hands, a shovel and a drill.  Sometimes, they work you like a dog.  But with the Union, they have to treat you like a man.”  This resonated deeply with the Brothers and Sisters of NPMHU, and Congressman Grijalva left the stage telling the delegates that Americans have a beautiful dream which the Union must defend. 

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

                  The delegates also heard an insightful speech by Billy Hayes of the Communication Workers Union of the United Kingdom, which highlighted the perspective of the labor movement from our union brothers and sisters abroad.

Billy Hayes, General President, Communication Workers Union of the United Kingdom.

                  It was then time for President Hegarty to deliver his National Officer’s Report.  The report highlighted the strength of the National Union and the progress that it has made over the last four years.  As part of that speech, Hegary promised to continue to fight for the rights and interests of all Mail Handlers across the country:

Our common goals can be simply stated:  on this, the 100th anniversary of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, our Union pledges not only to Honor the Past, but also to use the lessons learned from our past to Shape our Future.  We will dedicate whatever time and effort is needed; we will expend whatever resources are demanded; we will implement whatever strategies are justified; and together we will do whatever it takes to ensure our Union’s continued success, and the continued success of all Mail Handlers.

National President John Hegarty delivered his National Officer's Report.

                  Following President Hegarty’s address, National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner spoke to the delegates, informing them of the state of the National Union’s internal operations, including its membership and finances. 

Ever since I first took office in 1992, the National Union has expended a lot of time and energy on efforts to improve itself.  That emphasis has continued unabated for the past four years, and those efforts continue to bear fruit.  Today, the Mail Handlers Union is a well-run labor organization, second to none in overall financial management, membership recruitment and maintenance, and internal communications.

National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner presents the state of the National Union's internal operations.

Wrapping up the day’s proceedings, the delegates offered a warm welcome to labor historian and professor Greg Giebel.  Dr. Giebel delivered the first part of his four-part history lesson, highlighting the achievements of the trade union movement in the 19th century, and the role that our Union’s forebears played in the workers’ struggles at the turn of the century, just prior to the founding of our own great Union.  Over the next three days, he will delve into the founding of the NPMHU and chart its development over the course of the last 100 years.   It was with great enthusiasm that the delegates welcomed Dr. Giebel as the Centennial Historian for the NPMHU 2012 Convention.    

Labor Historian and Professor, Dr. Greg Giebel

Finally, the delegates enjoyed a video about the Mail Handler Benefit Plan and a speech by Stewart Lavelle from Coventry Health Care, the administrator and underwriter of the MHBP.  Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the MHBP, which remains one of the largest health plans available to all federal and postal employees and retirees.

Stewart Lavelle, Coventry Health Care

Tomorrow, National Officer primary elections will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at which point the Convention will reconvene.  An update will be provided tomorrow, and the primary election results will then be announced on this website.  Stay tuned!


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