APWU Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lyle Krueth retired on Jan. 3, ending a career that spanned more than three decades.
Before becoming assistant director in 2010, he served as a Central Region National Business Agent (beginning in 1995), Minnesota state president (1994), Minneapolis Area Local president (1989) and a variety of other local positions.
“Lyle is a living APWU encyclopedia,” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson. “He imparted information in a calm, rational, clear and concise manner. Lyle enjoyed discussing the different angles of a situation.”
Krueth began his career in 1980 in Minneapolis, where he worked as a Postage Due Clerk. Six months later, when he called in sick for the first time, his supervisor told him that all part-time flexibles had to provide medical documentation. Krueth brought in a doctor’s note, but co-workers urged him to file a grievance. He did.
Nine months later, when he inquired about the status of his grievance, he couldn’t get a straight answer. One person said it was denied and closed at Step 2; another said it was still pending at Step 2. He went to the union office, where he learned no grievance had been filed. He complained to Local President Frosty Newman, who asked him to become a steward.
“I didn’t plan to become a union steward when I went to office that day,” Krueth recalled, “but I figured I couldn’t do any worse.”
Newman also gave him a job organizing and filing the local’s arbitration awards. “To file them, I had to read them,” Krueth recalls. He credits that experience with giving him an initial understanding of the contract.
Prior to his postal career, in 1970, Krueth was drafted into the army and served two years, including 14 months in Vietnam. He attended the University of Minnesota Law School on the G.I. bill and passed the bar, but never practiced law. He applied the lessons he learned in law school to benefit the members of the APWU.
In parting, Krueth said, “I’d encourage anyone who’s ever thought about getting involved to do so, because ultimately it is rewarding,” he said. “It’s been a learning experience since the very beginning. I don’t regret it one bit.”
President Mark Dimondstein praised Krueth’s contribution to the union and said, “Thanks, Brother Lyle, for your years of service to the APWU. We wish you a long, healthy and productive retirement.”
Assistant Director Lamont Brooks said, “I would like to thank my friend and colleague for his many years of service to the APWU membership. While he may be retired I will from time to time tap into his source of knowledge. He was truly a hard working and dedicated union officer who refused to celebrate his retirement with any sort of recognition or fanfare.”