What are the Requirements to Remain as a Chartered Local?
(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell
Under the provisions of Article 16.4 of the APWU Constitution, the Secretary-Treasurer’s Department must notify locals in writing that their charter will be revoked if they fail to meet their requirements listed below:
Filing annual financial reports with both the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as required by federal law.
Announcing nominations and conducting an election of officers at least every three years.
Maintaining a fidelity bond covering at least 10 percent of its assets if the local collects more than $5,000 a year in dues.
Abiding by a properly-adopted local constitution.
Secretary-Treasurer’s “To Do” List!
The Secretary-Treasurer’s department asks local unions to provide a copy of their DOL reports and IRS forms to us after submitting them to the appropriate federal agencies. Local unions are also asked to provide a copy of local election results and amendments to local constitutions to the Secretary-Treasurer’s department.
Retiring Local/State Officers
The Secretary-Treasurer’s Department has received manyinquiries regarding the status of local union officers/members who will be retiring or have already retired.
If the President or other elected officer(s) retire from the Postal Service, they may continue to hold local union office, with all the rights of membership, by continuing to pay full local and national dues. Any elected or appointed officer who retires and does not pay full dues to the local and national union must be removed from office and their former position filled in accordance with the local constitution. If the local constitution does not have provisions for filling a vacant position or for succession of officers, local elections should be held in accordance with Department of Labor regulations.
Every retiring APWU local officer/member has the option of continuing to pay full local and national dues to retain their current positions. Local officers choosing this option would become cash pay members of their respective locals and have the option to:
Pay the total of their local and national dues in accordance with their local constitution, or no less than quarterly, to their local treasurer. The local treasurer would then forward the national dues to the APWU Accounting Department.
Split payments. One payment(s) for the local dues, in accordance with the local constitution; in addition, no less than quarterly payments of their national dues, to the APWU National Office.
The local treasurer should provide a receipt for any dues payments, and the national APWU will mail a quarterly notice of national dues that have been paid or are due to the national union.
Article 3 sec. 4 (d) of the Constitution and Bylaws of the APWU has provisions for retirees whose full dues/per capita payments have lapsed due to extenuating circumstances.
It is important to remember retired officers are not postal employees and any compensation for union work should not be documented as lost time or reimbursement for leave without pay. Local and state unions should amend their constitutions, or adopt a motion, to authorize a pay rate for retired officers performing authorized duties for the union. Compensation for any union official who performs authorized union duties outside of their work schedule is also not considered lost time and is only compensable if constitutional language authorizes payment or a motion is adopted to authorize a pay rate.
Any compensation under these two circumstances should be identified as “Other Compensation” and annotated on the local vouchers when submitted for payment.
(This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Vice President Debby Szeredy
Power is in the vote. We need each and every one of our postal workers to register to vote in every state, city and town in our country. We have over 153,000 members in the APWU. We would be more powerful if everyone registers and votes for issues and candidates that can save the public Postal Service.
In 2019, APWU locals and members can mobilize other members to register to vote, and non-members to join APWU and register to vote at the same time. Multiple states around the country have purged voters from their registrars, so you should make sure you’re still on the rolls and re-register if necessary. People died for us to have the right to vote; we must use it to vote for representatives that will support our working interests. Voting can save our livelihood and can make the difference in stopping the destruction of the public Postal Service.
Privatization destroys our good wage jobs, cost of living adjustments (COLAs), health benefits, pensions, no-layoff rights, rights to secure and safe working conditions, and the right to have collective bargaining. We have to vote for the right representatives in Congress that will protect the Postal Service from a takeover or sale by a private corporation, and we need voters across the country to help us win the majority vote when our issues are being debated on the congressional floor.
Winning our fights in Congress requires a strategy plan that includes all postal workers, their family members, and their community. First, we must register to vote, and utilize absentee and vote-by-mail ballots when we can. Then, we need to help get voting rights legislation in our states to include vote-by-mail ballots and ease access to absentee ballots without requiring an excuse. Michigan passed such legislation in 2018.
Advocate for Vote-by-Mail and Absentee Systems
Now is the time to consider registering for and utilizing vote-by-mail best practices. All postal workers can help protect their job by supporting the right to request an absentee or vote-by-mail ballot without a required excuse. Using vote-by-mail ballots helps ensure the public Postal Service as a necessity, through the method of a paper election process, delivered by a public service that can’t be hacked.
Another important activity is getting involved in passing initiatives on the ballot that protect voting rights and make voting easier, including vote-by-mail and Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) referendums. Washington, Oregon, and Colorado have full vote-by-mail systems, proving their trust in the public Postal Service to make sure everyone’s vote counts. These three states ranked among the top six states in the 2018 mid-term elections in voter turnout. In vote-by-mail states, you can also track your ballot from the time it is mailed to you through when it is received by election officials.
Did You Know?
Did you know that in the Employee Labor Relations Manual (ELM section 519.32), the Postal Service states that they encourage employees to exercise their voting rights? In certain circumstances, they will even excuse and pay administrative leave to vote or register to vote in elections when certain conditions are met (except for temporary workers).
05/21/2019 - It is that time of the year when the Postal Service wants to take your pulse! Like previous years, the 2018 Postal Pulse survey showed the USPS what we already knew: Your work environment is not good; your supervisors treat you poorly and morale is low. The mean score changed by less than one-tenth of a point—suggesting nothing has changed at the Post Office. One statistic that trended in the right direction in the APWU’s opinion, was employee participation in the survey. It went down from 46% in 2017 to 42% in 2018. The APWU’s goal is a zero-participation rate.
The APWU implores you once again: Do not participate in the 2019 Postal Pulse Survey. You are probably being flooded with emails, postcards to your home, stand-up talks, posters on time clocks, and other tactics to try to get you to take the survey.
So, what has the Postal Service done in the last year? Have things improved since the survey was first put out and found that the USPS ranked low in every category? The reality is, the steps the Postal Service took to make the workplace “more engaging” are meaningless. You still have difficult supervisors and you are having more demanded of you, putting your health and safety at risk. Staff is being reduced, people are being excessed and morale is being decimated.
And now, in 2019, the survey is being pushed immediately before the APWU will begin interest arbitration with the Postal Service to establish a contract. There is more than a good chance that the results of this survey will be utilized, as has been done previously, in interest arbitration against you.
The Postal Pulse and any initiatives to get you to participate are not in your best interest. Participation in these programs will not fix the issues. Postal management has not listened to your direct pleas to your supervisors, either in your grievances or in meetings at the local, area and national level. Only collectively, demanding compliance of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and speaking in one voice, will we force management to change their ways. Stand united – and do not be fooled by these "wolves in sheep’s clothing" initiatives created to divide us.
Management may also ask people to join focus groups and participate in management-initiated events to make the work place more “engaging” or more “efficient.” These are not sanctioned nor approved by the union. They were not negotiated and use of them violates the union’s right as the sole representative of the bargaining unit employees under Article 1. Don’t do it!
We have a negotiated grievance process and a negotiated labor-management cooperation process to address workplace issues. Management needs to start following our contract, dealing with the grievances already filed and making sure the hostile frontline supervisors are dealt with. Your union knows the “pulse” of those we represent. If a local supervisor or manager cannot see the problems without a survey, then they are part of the problem.
Passing of ATU's International President
Web News Article
05/09/2019 - The American Postal Workers Union is mourning the sudden loss of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President Larry Hanley. We extend our deep condolences to his immediate family and his extended ATU family.
Brother Hanley, who rose from bus driver in Staten Island to the top leadership of the union, always remained a “man of the people” and was known as an honest and passionate fighter for the transit workers, transit riders, the labor movement and the working class as a whole.
Under his leadership, the ATU rose to become a powerful advocate for public transit services. He led in forging alliances and coalitions between workers and the riding public to defend and expand public services, and keep fares low, while, at the same time, battling and winning better pay and benefits for transit workers.
“This is a sad day. The APWU family has lost a great friend”, shared APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Brother Hanley stood with us in the Stop Staples fight, led his union to become a member of the Grand Alliance to Save the Public Postal Service and led the ATU as a union that fought for social justice everywhere. We had common cause in opposition to privatization of public services, whether postal or transit. We stood shoulder to shoulder in many fights and I am proud to have worked and struggled together with Brother Hanley and the ATU.”
Brother Larry Hanley will be missed. His life’s work in the cause of justice for working people has bettered the lives of countless workers and his example of bold leadership will inspire working people for generations to come.
05/02/2019 - A change has been made to page number 43 of the 2019 Rules and Regulations printed in the March/April magazine by deleting the paragraph referencing five (5) regional Election magazines. To receive an updated copy, please contact email@example.com.
House Committee Looks for Solutions for the Postal Service’s Finances
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05/02/2019 - In an Apr. 30 hearing, The House Committee on Oversight & Reform (COR) examined the financial conditions of the United States Postal Service. The committee invited Postmaster General Megan Brennan, Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) Director of the Office of Accountability and Compliance Margaret Cigno, President and CEO of Quad/Graphics Joel Quadracci, National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando, and Cato Institute Director of Tax Policy Studies Chris Edwards to testify.
Ahead of the hearing, APWU President Mark Dimondstein submitted a statement for the record, calling for four common sense solutions. These include: repealing the prefunding mandate in full; allowing investment options for the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund to boost investment returns; expanding on new products and services; and restoring the 2013 exigency rate surcharge permanently.
“Congress should not let another legislative session pass while the Postal Service is held back from regaining financial sustainability and fulfilling the best promises of Universal Service,” President Dimondstein commented.
In his opening statement, COR Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD-07) commented that while “the Postal Service is one of our most essential and recognizable institutions in the country”, its financial condition is deteriorating due to “a decline in first class mail, which has been the Postal Service’s most profitable product…the Postal Service’s expenses have been increasing more quickly than its revenues… Congress put in place requirements in 2006 the Postal Service to make billions of dollars of payments each year to pre fund retiree health benefits.”
He concluded his opening statement by saying, “If major changes are not made soon there will come a time when the Postal Service will run out of cash and its ability to provide the services Americans rely on will be in jeopardy. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that day never comes.” Chairman Cummings also noted later in the hearing that in moving forward on postal reform, the committee will have to address the prefunding mandate, and, creating a sustainable future for the Postal Service cannot be done on the backs of the dedicated employees.
In her opening statement to the committee, PMG Brennan commented that “absent legislative and regulatory reforms we are likely to run out of cash in 2024.”
APWU Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard, who attended the hearing, stated after, “Throughout the hearing, I was very disappointed in answers given by Postmaster General Brennan. She seemed to lack a positive direction for moving forward. She also made disturbing statements about reducing delivery days that will hurt postal workers and the people we serve. We want legislation that will improve service to the American people and protect the hard earned and deserved salaries and benefits of our workers.”
Several members of the committee brought up the President’s Postal Task Force report, which called for privatization of some elements of the Postal Service. Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, agreed with the report, and not only called for privatization, but also for closures of postal facilities, lowering postal salaries and benefits, and reducing postal service obligations.
The majority of the committee members, however, addressed their opposition to postal privatization and its negative effects on the Universal Service obligation. Representative Steve Lynch (D-MA-08) commented that in European countries that privatized their postal services, rates increased by 30-40 percent. Representatives Carol Miller (R-WV-03) and James Comer (R-KY-01) both addressed the need for service in the rural districts they represent and expressed concern that the Postal Service needs to ensure delivery standards for every American, regardless of where they live.
The most positive aspect was Chairman Cummings’s promise of a hearing in the near future on Postal Safety issues. Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz raised the question of whether new and improved safety procedures have been put into place after last year’s dangerous pipe-bomb mailings, which impacted her office directly. Chairman Cummings added his concern over the dangerous possible exposure employees face as a result of the ongoing opioid and fentanyl crisis. APWU will follow up Congress on this issue, and we appreciate that Congress is addressing it.
During the hearing, it was announced that new legislation was introduced on Apr. 29. H.R. 2382, the USPS Fairness Act, sponsored by Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23), calls for a full repeal of the prefunding mandate. APWU fully supports this legislation, and asks our members to contact their representatives and ask them to cosponsor this vital bill.
05/02/2019 - On Monday, Apr. 29, members of Congress introduced H.R. 2382, the USPS Fairness Act. This legislation would repeal, in full, the onerous prefunding of retiree health care benefits mandate Congress put in place in 2006. The mandate requires the Postal Service to prefund its retiree health care benefits 75 years in advance, paying for retirement health care for individuals who haven’t been born yet, let alone enter the workforce. The mandate is accountable for 92 percent of the Postal Service’s net losses since 2007 and is a constant threat to the financial sustainability of the Postal Service.
Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04), Tom Reed (R-NY-23), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-03), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) sponsored the bill.
APWU fully supports this legislation. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), which created the congressionally manufactured prefunding burden, has not only drained the Postal Service’s funds, but also limits its ability to make vital innovations and expand services.
“This legislation is a necessary step to solving the disastrous prefunding mandate that is dragging down the Postal Service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
H.R. 2382 would return the Postal Service to the procedures in place prior to the PAEA, utilizing a pay-as-you-go method for retiree benefits, the standard practice across federal agencies and private businesses. “Ending the prefunding mandate is essential to postal jobs and benefits,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. “We are asking our members to contact their Representatives to cosponsor this important bill.”
Call 844-402-1001 to contact your member of Congress and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 2382, the USPS Fairness Act. Be sure to also promote H.R. 2382 on social media using #repealprefunding #HR2382#peoplebeforeprofit and/or #unfairburden.
Reach out to your family, friends, and neighbors and ask them to call their representatives as well. This legislation affects every American household.
APWU Launches New Ad - "We Deliver Almost Anything"
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04/12/2019 - The APWU continues our offensive against the White House proposals to sell the Postal Service to private corporations.
The lighthearted video below makes a crucial point – of all the many things the Postal Service will accept from the public, tax dollars are not one of them. The video advertisement release is in coordination with Tax Day actions all over the country on Monday, April 15.
“This Tax Day weekend, the APWU is breaking through the false narrative that the public Postal Service is a burden to taxpayers,” said President Dimondstein. “With this false narrative, privatizers were able to push through the disastrous 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. Now, the White House is using it to sell off our national treasure.”
Watch and share the video with your friends and family.