The Clerk Division General Session Closed Out the 2023 All-Craft Conference
October 7, 2023
On Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, the Clerk Division General Session closed out the APWU 2023 All-Craft Conference in Las Vegas, NV.
As members entered the event center, a slideshow in remembrance of our APWU sisters and brothers who have passed away this year displayed on the screens, followed by a video tribute recognizing U.S. veterans in the APWU.
Clerk Division Director Lamont Brooks officially opened the session and called the meeting to order. Brooks introduced Western Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez, who welcomed delegates to the western region and reminded them that “the history of the clerk craft is a history of struggle.” Gonzalez concluded his remarks and Director Brooks introduced National Business Agents (NBAs) Peter Coradi and Tom O’Brian who said, who said a prayer, and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Clerk Division Assistant Director (B) Lynn Pallas-Barber led the roll call of NBAs, then turned to session over to NBA Linda Turney who recognized and honored the hard work and dedication of recently retired Central Regional Coordinator Sharyn Stone. Former Clerk Division Assistant Director Dr. Pat Williams took to the podium to remember the life and work of the recently departed former Clerk Division Director James P. McCarthy.
Clerk Division Assistant Director (A), Sam Lisenbe, began his Officer Report to the delegates. He spoke about recent Memorandums of Understandings (MOUs) signed by the craft recently, such as the Jobs Audit MOU, as well as the Clerk Craft Jobs MOU Remedy rollout. The Clerk Craft Jobs MOU created 362 new duty assignments with a “trickle down” remedy. The payments to affected members are almost complete.
Clerk Division Officer Reports
Lisenbe also spoke about the Retail Training Taskforce, which is focused on the creation of additional work and jobs for the craft; the expansion of the Smart Lockers program; the Enterprise Payment System; as well as the ongoing Letter of Demand and Letter of Indebtedness issues where the Postal Service has allowed the Department of Treasury to force deductions from retirees checks when they have valid and timely grievances.
Lisenbe concluded report by updating delegates on recent Step 4 activity at the APWU and discussions with management. The Clerk Division has worked diligently to close out older disputes to minimize the backlog and are encouraging NBAs to pre-arbitrate and settle disputes as well. Current Step 4 discussions with management include: Dispatch Coordinator and New Employee Orientation. The Division leadership has also sent a notification on Arrow Key Accountability.
All-Craft NBA Rufina Pagaduan requested a point of personal order on the floor. She requested to allow Maui Area Local President Ofaloto Satoafaiga and Vice President Robert Robinson, to address the delegates to express her heartfelt appreciation for the prayers and donations to the members, friends, and families of those affected by the recent devastating wildfires in Lahaina on the island of Maui, HI.
A motion was requested and passed by the delegates on the floor to allow for a collection of donations. In an astounding show of support from within our union family, a staggering $30,000 was collected, which included a match from APWU Headquarters. The Maui delegation asked that the officers from the National Executive Board take to the stage so that they could present gift baskets to the officers for their unwavering support in recent months.
President Mark Dimondstein Urged Members to Forge Ahead
APWU President Mark Dimondstein addressed delegates, spoke about the issues members are facing today. From voter rights to worker rights, Dimondstein urged members to forge ahead with the hard work and difficult issues facing workers in general as well as in the clerk craft. Vice President Debby Szeredy followed with a brief address to members.
General Session Returned to Clerk Division Officer Reports
Assistant Director Pallas-Barber began her Officer Report. She updated members on her recent National Disputes, such as: the new curriculum for the “Welcome to USPS (W2USPS)” onboarding for non-career employees, and unilateral changes to the Cybersafe training program.
Other ongoing issues that Pallas-Barber is working on is ADRP, the MOU on Filling Residual Vacancies, PSE Compliance, Small Office Complement Report, Human Resources Shared Service Center contract officer, Wounded Warrior Leave, RI-399 Committee meetings, as well as preparing for the 2024 contract negotiations.
Director Brooks began his officer report by speaking about the young members and his optimism about their futures in the union. Brooks said that times are changing and it’s time to adapt to that future. He talked about a mentorship program he’s been organizing for almost two years and urged delegates to return to their locals and to find and mentor young members to create relationships and prepare them for the future of the APWU, and the continued struggle to protect the craft’s work. “We will do everything we can to protect jobs and the Clerk Division,” said Brooks. “While there may be a situation where there's excessing, our first priority is to the Clerk Division.”
Brooks then spoke about the ongoing initiative to protect current clerk work and to create new work and jobs for the craft “to keep the post office alive and viable,” he said. Brooks provided a few examples of how to expand the craft, such as: providing notary services, issuing fishing licenses, property permits, and transportation passes, as well as registering the public to vote. Brooks concluded his report and switched gears to speaking about the 2023 Clerk Division Resolutions, which included subjects such as PSE opting on scheduled absences of five or more days, and rules on reassignment and excessing.
Brooks concluded the 2023 Clerk Division General Session
“I hope you enjoyed all the classes given by the NBAs and our assistant directors,” said Brooks. “I want to thank them for all they do. I deeply appreciate everything [they] do. So, with all that, I want to thank all the NBAs, the regional coordinators and the national officers. And I want to thank all of you [the delegates] because you're the ones that make it all possible.”