H. Merlin Shelley, President of Local 42, of the United Federation of Postal Clerks, AFL-CIO
New Postal Union Into Existence The new American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, becomes a reality here July 1, the same day that the new U.S. Postal Service comes into existence. The APWU will be the largest postal trade union in the world embracing more than 300,000 members of five existing unions in the Post Office Department. H. Merlin Shelley, President, Local 42, of the United Federation of Postal Clerks, AFL-CIO, said creation of One Big Postal Union was ratified by nearly 96 percent of the members of the five unions in a nationwide referendum last month. The 65-year-old United Federation of Postal Clerks spearheaded the merger during a campaign that started more than a decade ago, Shelley said. But the upcoming changes in postal management clearly spurred union members into final action. "The management revolution setting up a semi-corporate postal service," he added, "required a union revolution to match it. For organized postal employees, the status quo would have been economic suicide. "Five or six fragmented postal unions working at cross purposes could not begin to meet the challenge of change — and voted accordingly." In the Federation ranks alone, Shelley said, more than 95 percent voted in favor of merger and more than 70 percent of the total membership actually mailed in ballots. Shelley said that merger discussions in Washington are continuing with the National Association of Letter Carriers, the |argest of the remaining postal unions still retaining their old craft identity.'