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Jun 08, 2017

APWU Wins Another National Level Arbitration Award

Arbitrator Goldberg found USPS violated ‘POStPlan’ MOU
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #

57-2017

06/07/2017 - The APWU scores another victory today, defending postal employees in the union’s bargaining unit. Arbitrator Goldberg issued an award in a national-level case over what remedy was due for the Postal Service’s failure to staff ‘POStPlan’ offices following an original award on September 5, 2014 and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiated afterward.

The APWU and the Postal Service agreed that after December 22, 2014, the ‘POStPlan’ Remotely-Managed Post Offices (RMPOs) open 4 or 6 hours a day would be staffed with bargaining unit clerks, as well as replace Postal Support Employees (PSEs) in Level 18 offices with career employees. Long after the agreement, Postmaster Reliefs (PMRs) were still working in 4 or 6 hour RMPOs across the country and Level 18 offices reported still using PSEs instead of career employees.

The Postal Service admitted to their widespread violations of the ‘POStPlan’ MOU. Arbitrator Goldberg held that the USPS owed the bargaining unit for all the hours improperly worked by PMRs and PSEs.

“This is an important award for the protection and expansion of Clerk Craft work,” said President Dimondstein. “This keeps management’s feet to the fire, holding them to the agreements they make with the APWU.”

“Although it was another great win for the APWU, the Postal Service’s continual willingness to blatantly violate the contract indicates a serious problem with the integrity of Postal Service management that together we must continue to address” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson.

Arbitrator Goldberg held that the Postal Service must make whole all postal employees in the Clerk Craft bargaining unit who were denied craft work as a result of the USPS’ failure to follow the POStPlan MOU. 

“Much thanks goes to Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas Barber, who served as the case officer for the grievance,” Burleson stated. “Also to Assistant Craft Director Lamont Brooks, Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman and attorneys Mindy Holmes and Jason Veny.”


Jun 05, 2017

White House 2018 Budget Proposal Targets Postal Workers and Postal Services

WEB NEWS ARTICLE #: 
53-2017

05/26/2017 - This week the White House released their budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, as they do every fiscal year. There are a number of disturbing provisions which will directly affect postal workers and postal services for the American people.

The White House’s budget proposes $46 billion in “savings” to the Postal Service by a reduction in the methods of delivery. This could include cutting the number of delivery days and a further reduction in service standards.

The budget further calls for an increase of 6% employee pension contributions into the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) - 1% a year for each of the next six years. This would result in a pay-cut of thousands of dollars a year for each FERS postal employee.

The budget also proposes eliminating Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) on FERS retirement benefits, reducing COLA on current civil service retirees and a change in calculating future retirement benefits from the current “high three” average to a “high five” year formula. In addition, the proposal advocates doing away with the social security supplement currently covering the gap in FERS benefits for those who retire before they are eligible for social security benefits.

Each of these proposals would be to the severe detriment of hard working postal employees, both active and retired.

Will Devastate Working Families

Contrary to President Trump’s campaign promises to elevate workers and protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, the proposed budget contains a number of extreme cuts which will deeply affect tens of millions of working families. These include massive cuts to social security disability benefits, Medicaid coverage, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the student loan program. The budget proposal shrinks all these essential programs while lowering the taxes for corporate America and the wealthy elite.

“This budget proposal is Robin Hood in reverse,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It robs from the workers to give more and more to the wealthy. Taken in their entirety, these are draconian attacks on hard working postal workers and our families.”

Ultimately, Congress sets the federal government’s budget. However, the White House’s budget proposal is a reflection of the spending priorities of the Trump administration. The APWU, working with our sister unions and many allies, will vigorously oppose actions by Congress to allow these cuts to vital government programs as well as any attempts to undermine postal services and the well-being of postal workers and postal retirees.

“No postal worker cast a vote in the last presidential election to cut postal services and worker benefits,” Dimondstein continued. “I am confident, that our members of all political persuasions will stand up and fight back against these new assaults on postal workers and all working folks.”


Jun 05, 2017

Postal Reform Scored by Congressional Budget Office

Reports a Positive Financial Impact of H.R. 756 on Federal Budget
WEB NEWS ARTICLE #: 
54-2017

06/02/2017 - Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published its report on Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756). It is standard practice for the CBO to “score” pending legislation introduced into Congress in order to report its impact on the federal budget. They estimate that H.R. 756 would result in a savings of $6.2 billion over the next ten years.

These savings are technically “off-budget” because the USPS’ cash flow is recorded in the federal budget (in the Postal Service Fund) is classified as “off-budget.” The cash flow for the Postal Service Retirement Health Benefit Fund (PSRHBF) is classified as “on-budget.” The net “on-budget” cost of the legislation is only $0.2 billion.

“The score for H.R.756 has improved since the last version of the bill in the 114thCongress,” said Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard. “We are encouraged by the positive changes that have been made in the legislation and will seek continued improvements as the bill moves forward.”

The bill is now off to two House of Representatives’ committees: Ways & Means, chaired by Kevin Brady (R–TX-8) with ranking member Richard Neal (D-MA-1) and Energy & Commerce, chaired by Fred Upton (R-MI-6) with ranking member Bobby Rush (D-IL-2).

In both committees the bill must be approved in order to be voted on by the full House of Representatives. Then the legislation will move to the Senate for a similar process.

The APWU continues to support H.R. 756 in its present form and is working with legislators to make improvements. This legislation is crucial to ensuring a robust future for America’s public Postal Service.

Be sure to check the Postal Reform Legislation page on apwu.org regularly for updates and information about of H.R. 756 and H.R. 760.


May 08, 2017

Be Part of Our Democracy – Support ‘Vote by Mail’

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

By Executive Vice President Debby Szeredy

Voter registration in our country is in a sorry state. in the 2016 general election, not all eligible voters were registered (only 79 percent) – and nearly half of those registered voters did not vote.

Lack of voter turnout has consequences. What can your family lose by not voting? Pretty much everything – bills can be passed to change or end items that are important to you, including wages, health benefits, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, sick and family medical leave, vacation time, lunch breaks, right to organize, health and safety protections at work, pensions, and retirement benefits.  

Legislation could also affect issues like your ability to take out bank loans, leaving you more susceptible to payday loan sharks. You may find more proposals to put nuclear sites in your backyard or pipelines near your water supply. There may be fewer government programs to help you when environmental disasters strike, to obtain affordable housing, to keep national parks open and to create climate change solutions.

One way we can prevent legislation and regulations that hurt our communities is increasing voter turnout. We can help our sisters and brothers by actively campaigning for “Vote by Mail” initiatives.

Once a person is registered, “Vote by Mail” makes it easier to cast a ballot. The three states that have “Vote by Mail” as a state law, Washington (since 2011), Oregon (since 2000) and Colorado (since 2013), were among the highest in voter turnout for the 2016 Election and had a very high percentage of registered voters who voted.

Now, let’s take a look at a state that does not have “Vote by Mail” - New York. New York has no early voting and absentee ballots must have an excuse. Even though the state still saw a high voter turnout percentage, there is a still clear difference with the “Vote by Mail” states in regard to the percentage of registered voters who actually cast a ballot.

Take a Stand

Are you willing to take a stand and make sure that more Americans “Vote by Mail” in the next election? Enhance your postal job by having millions of ballots mailed by the USPS. Do your part to bring about democracy by joining us in our effort to bring “Vote by Mail” to every state.

What can every APWU member do now to protect the mail service while combating voter suppression and apathy?

One easy option APWU members may wish to consider is to sign up, with their family members, to vote by absentee ballot for the next election (if no excuse absentee voting is an option in their state). This helps support our jobs. An additional benefit is the members would not have to wait in lines. We could be an example for people to utilize mail service, and at the same time bring about more democracy in America.

If your state has a “no excuse absentee ballot” system, help get your community to sign up to receive their ballot by mail. How about co-workers, too? If your state does not have “no excuse required absentee ballots” or mandatory “Vote by Mail,” help get them passed in your state.

There are 27 states which offer no-excuse absentee voting. Do not forget to check if your state has a one-time request to receive a mail ballot for every election.

You can also get involved in the Democracy Initiative, which APWU has partnered with, to help fight voter suppression. Find more information at www.democracyinitiative.org.

Resources

The following websites can help you find out what your state voting laws are. You can also check with your Secretary of State’s website. If you are not registered to vote, you can go on the following websites:

The League of Women Voters has sites in many states and provides updates on what initiatives and laws are being worked on or are being fought to keep. Visit www.lwv.org to find out more information about what is going on in your state.

To better ensure delivery and return of ballots, voters should know the deadline to request and return a ballot, as well as investigate all options in returning the ballot. Voters can request the return ballots be hand-canceled with a round stamp at any post office to ensure the ballot meets state postmarking requirements. Be certain to follow instructions, provide a signature, add postage (if required) and contact your local election office for assistance.

Overseas military and civilian voters can obtain much more information at www.fvap.gov.

There are many compelling reasons to “Vote by Mail,” including no more long lines and no difficulty getting time off from work. You can take your time reviewing the ballot to learn about the candidates and measures. It lowers costs for your state and causes fewer problems with voter IDs. All in all it creates better informed voters. You do not have to worry about where your polling place is. “Vote by Mail” also leads to guaranteed security of ballots, since they are handled by trained postal workers.

It is up to us as postal workers to be an example at work, support our jobs and take pride in the fact that we help make democracy happen! So let us all pledge to start today. Make that call or go online and do your part. Everything you need is in this article to get started. Let us be a part of the democracy movement.


May 08, 2017

‘In Order to Form a More Perfect Union’

(This article first appeared in the May-June 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

By President Mark Dimondstein 

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution includes the well-known and eloquent words, “in order to form a more perfect union.” The “union” here refers to the young country, born of the American Revolution – and wisely acknowledges that there should always be an effort to strive for improvement.

This sentiment applies to our “union” as well, for no organization or society can be perfect.

I recently sent a centennial celebration greeting to the San Antonio Area Local as their local of the National Federation of Postal Clerks (a forerunner of the APWU) was founded 100 years ago. Many other locals around the country have celebrated, or will soon be celebrating, their first century as well.

APWU Gains

With the many frustrations of working in an understaffed postal environment, frequently facing tyrannical managers and a grievance process that is too slow, it is easy to lose sight of the wonderful accomplishments of the APWU, and what postal workers gained over many decades of sacrifice and struggle.

Think about some of these highlights:

  • Collective Bargaining: The right of postal workers through their union to negotiate with management over wages, hours and working conditions. Wow, talk about a true voice at work that has resulted in a wide array of union-won rights and benefits.
  • A Grievance Procedure: The right of unionized postal workers to protest management actions that violate the union contract, meet with union representatives “on the clock” to address concerns and to file grievances when necessary.
  • Just Cause Protection: Workers can only be disciplined or terminated for “just cause” – only for a legitimate reason – rather than at the whim of the boss. Now that is job security!
  • No Lay-Off Protection: No lay-off protections for career employees with six years of seniority. In addition, those career employees on the rolls as of July 8, 2016, who did not yet have six years of employment, have no lay-off protection as well for the life of the contract.
  • Seniority and Bidding: Career postal workers have the right to bid for jobs, hours and off-days based on years of service, rather than be subject to the favoritism of postal management.
  • Negotiated Wage Increases: All career postal workers receive regular negotiated wage increases, Step Increases and Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs). APWU-represented non-career postal workers also receive regular negotiated wage increases.
  • Conversion to Career: A negotiated path for non-career to career positions resulting in over 45,000 conversions since 2014.
  • A Democratic Union: The right of APWU members to elect officers at the local, state and national level, vote on proposed union contracts, run for union office and have full voice and vote at union meetings and functions.

These rights and benefits, and so much more, were won through the power and activism of the workers – most notably in the outstanding and historic Great Postal Strike of 1970.

All workers deserve real power in the workplace and a say over our working conditions. I am sure each of you has family members, neighbors and friends who do not work in a union shop, and lack the kind of rights and benefits unionized postal workers secured.

Wall Street, corporate America and far too many politicians would like to see unions, including the APWU, destroyed and with them our many gains over the last century. So, never take our union, or its future existence, for granted.

You are the Union

Our “imperfect” union belongs to you. It is up to all orious Stop Staples fight and our successful grassroots Good Service! Good Jobs! Good Contract! campaign that helped win such positive results in our last round of contract negotiations with the USPS.

Come to local union meetings; join a local union committee (such as safety, legislative, education or any other that interests you); share your views, suggestions and talents (writing, music, art, social media, etc.); step up and serve as shop stewards; wear your union gear; visit/call your political representatives; sign-up non-members at your worksite; stand in solidarity with all workers; and talk to your families about what the union means for the betterment of our lives and communities.

I hope all of you are as prof us to work together and make it the best it can be. It is great that so many of you are already union active, but we need much more participation, for “In Our Unity, Lies Our Strength!”

We witnessed what union activism can achieve in our victoud as I am to be part of the American Postal Workers Union family as the struggle for justice continues into another century! 


Apr 28, 2017

Arbitration Advocacy Training July 30-Aug. 6

Web News Article 38-2017

04/26/2017 - Arbitration Advocacy Training will take place from Sunday, July 30 through Sunday, Aug. 6 at the Hilton Albany Hotel in Albany, NY.

The program is designed to provide an in-depth knowledge of the techniques needed to effectively prepare a case for arbitration. APWU members must provide a letter from their local or state president (on local or state letterhead) that authorizes their attendance. Training is provided by APWU National officers and staff.

The deadline to register is Friday, June 23.

Click here for more information and a registration form.


Mar 27, 2017

18th Biennial APWU POWER Convention is Aug 24-27

Web News Article #29-2017

03/23/2017 - The 18th Biennial APWU Post Office Women for Equal Rights (POWER) Convention will take place Thursday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug. 27 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor, 300 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.

Delegates should arrive on Wednesday, Aug. 23 and depart on Sunday, Aug. 27. Workshops will be held on Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regional Caucuses are on Thursday, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The deadline for a hotel room rate is Friday, July 14.

Click here for a full event listing and to register. 




Page Last Updated: Jun 08, 2017 (07:25:28)
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