When Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) began
speaking at the July 19 opening session, delegates didn't
have to wait a second before they got his message: "Aloha!
What I want to know is "Are we going to win this November
for working people in this country, or not?"
The answer was resounding applause that
filled the Hawaii Convention Center.
Abercrombie, who has given spell-binding
speeches to several previous conventions and NALC events,
said for the next 100 days he is going to be traveling the
country "taking the word out that the working middle
class of this country is going to take America back for
working people and put us back in charge."
Abercrombie said what is needed is loyalty
in the voting booth for people on your side.
"What I'm asking you
and every working person in this country: be loyal to
those that are on your side and vote for the people that
are going to stick with you," he said. "All
for one and one for all. An injury to one is an injury
to all. That's the kind of loyalty we're looking for."
"If the Bush administration
comes back, the first thing they are going to do is to
try to undermine collective bargaining across this country
and they are going to try to outsource every job and let
me tell you they will come at the Postal Service first
and foremost," Abercrombie warned. "They are
coming for you."
Abercrombie urged the delegates to "translate
whatever energy we can muster together in this union to
see to it that people who are loyal to you are put back
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) a former postal
clerk in Chicago and currently the ranking Democrat ion
a special congressional panel on the Postal Service, said
NALC advocacy and leadership made sure that post reform
legislation contained collective bargaining, universal service
and six-day mail delivery.
"The bill goes a long
way toward achieving accountability, reliability, flexibility
and the viability of the Postal Service," Davis said.
"We're still working through some of the tough nitty-gritty
issues, but we do believe that we are very close to a
bill that the President of the United States can and will
in fact sign once it is put on his desk."
Davis said he goes back to Washington
knowing that are those who want to weaken what letter carriers
do, trying to come up with other schemes, "to privatize,
to downsize, to outsource."
Like Abercrombie, Davis said he also will use to next 100
days to work in the election, saying he plans to go on a
new version of the "no carb" diet "no
Bush, no Cheney, no Ashcroft."