Illinois Bucks GOP Trend; Eases Voter Registration

At a time when 33 states have already enacted strict voter ID requirements for elections, Illinois decided this week to make it easier, not harder, for its citizens to vote. On Monday, August 28, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a law Monday authorizing different state agencies to automatically register voters when they interact with them.

Illinois is the 10th state to adopt automatic voter registration, which can significantly strengthen voting rights. Activists are fighting relentlessly for these types of reforms as voter suppression becomes more and more commonplace. For example, this past year’s presidential election was the first in 50 years to be without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

In Wisconsin alone, the state’s voter-ID law suppressed 300,000 registered voters who lacked the proper identification. Multiple studies have shown that laws like these, enacted mostly by Republican legislators, led to a significant reduction in voter turnout in 2016, with a disproportionate impact on African-American and Democratic-leaning voters.

It is important for advocates to stay engaged after victories like the one in Illinois. Agencies must be held accountable and activists must push to make sure guidelines for implementation are created with voters’ protection in mind.

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Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work