The National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 11 recently affiliated with UWF. Below is an interview between Party Committee member Kerry Luckett and Mack I. Julion, President of Branch 11 and NALC Trustee.
Mack I. Julion, President of Branch 11 and NALC Trustee, represents over 5,000 union members in Branch 11, which encompasses active and retired Letter Carriers within Cook County. Branch 11 recently joined the UWF family. The following is a brief interview with Mr. Julion.
1. How was Branch 11 formed under the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and AFL-CIO, and what is its historical significance in Chicagoland and across the nation?
NALC was established in 1889, and Branch 11 was founded in 1891. The number comes from the tag number—“branch number 11”—which is the order in which the local office was founded. NALC has 280,000 members; it’s the largest of the four Postal unions (APWU, American Postal Workers Union is the second largest). Branch 11, with two national officers, is the fifth largest office of NALC. NALC and Branch 11 is one of the earliest unions to become part of the bedrock in the labor movement.
2. What are your most recent labor and political battles and their outcomes?
For us, it seems as if we’re always battling. Washington is intent on privatizing postal service, and the Union protects on every front, ensuring adequate, safe work conditions and that workers maintain a middle-class income. That means battles with management who sometimes do not have the best interest of the Postal Service—concerning the lack of resources and low staffing that cause “bad service.” So, we make customers aware of carriers’ long hours with fewer days off and other issues that affect their services. This takes up most of my time—and I’m still battling.
3. What is your vision for Branch 11’s future, and how will it operate under the new mayor and governor?
When I first started, we were not active and collaborations with APWU were limited. My goal is to prepare the next generation, mentoring and pulling in the younger members, to take over and leave it better than I found it. We are all still working of on labor issues left over from the Rauner and Emanuel administrations and the Janus ruling. We will hold newly elected Democrats accountable; we have laid good foundation for relationships with Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker, making sure promises are kept and members and their families are not left out.
4. Branch 11 recently affiliated with United Working Families. What are Branch 11’s goals as an affiliate organization?
Affiliating with UWF will further support our brothers and sisters in the labor movement. We can use more members and participation, work on inclusion in the trades, and grow more black and brown laborers and trade workers. New hires are 80% female, 85% African American in Chicago, and 25% African American nationwide. It’s important for African Americans to come together as a strong voice for working families.