Louisville, KY, Site of First UPMA National ConventionPosted by Frank Augustosky on 08/08/17
The 2017 UPMA National Convention got underway Monday morning, Aug. 7, in Louisville, KY. Co-Presidents Sean Acord and Tony Leonardi welcomed members. “This convention has been a long time coming,” Leonardi said, “but it’s finally here.” Despite NAPUS and the League finally merging and becoming one organization, he pointed out, the challenge now is to continue building trust and adjusting to change.
“We’ve come together and we’re staying together,” Leonardi declared. “Let’s keep working together.”
UPMA Director of Government Relations Bob Levi stressed to members the importance of acting now to prevent draconian cuts to the benefits of postal employees and retirees. He assured convention attendees UPMA would be looking for any attempts by Congress to move a bill that would adversely affect UPMA members.
Levi said he still is optimistic that postal reform legislation could be passed this year. He outlined the key elements of H.R. 756; most importantly, the bill addresses the punitive retiree health prefunding issue. The bill also would provide the agency opportunities to innovate and bring new products to market, as well as provide flexibility in creating and establishing rates.
“Our goal,” he said, “is to get H.R. 756 moved to the House floor for a vote, then to the Senate.” UPMA has been working with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and his staff to help bring them up to speed and be strong promoters of postal reform legislation.
UPMA Executive Director Dave Ravenelle told members that the UPMA brand is in its infancy. “Our values today will define us tomorrow,” he said. “We must never fail to represent and advocate for all our members.” Ravenelle presented the first-ever Star Chapter Awards that recognize chapters for behaviors that lead to success: recognition, communication and training, membership, legislative activity and chapter administration. The Alabama Chapter was the national winner.
Postmaster General Megan Brennan is scheduled to address the convention Tuesday morning.