Labor News

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By Industrial Relations Director Vance Zimmerman
Recently our sisters and brothers who work for other federal agencies had their collective bargaining rights attacked. In a series of Executive Orders, President Trump forced agencies to re-write collective bargaining agreements under new guidelines. 

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By Health Plan Director John Marcotte
This year’s Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Open Season is Nov. 12–Dec. 10. Now is the time to take advantage of a union-owned health plan, staffed by union employees, whose singular focus is serving you, the member.
At the APWU Health Plan we are driven to provide comprehensive health insurance at an affordable price. Now is the time to compare your current yearly out of pocket costs and the coverage your family needs with what the APWU Health Plan has to offer. Whether you desire proactive wellness coverage, are managing current heath care conditions, or looking for peace of mind and financial security if an illness or injury strikes, the APWU Health Plan (APWUHP) is here for you.

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By Retirees Department Director Nancy Olumekor
There is still work we must do to protect our federal pension, benefits and the Postal Service on behalf of retirees. The Social Security Fairness Act (HR.1205 and S.915), along with the Social Security Expansion Act (S.427) are needed legislation. There are still millions of Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitants watching and waiting for Congress to pass legislation to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WPO) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) in order to provide us with a fair return on our investment in the Social Security system.

Court Rules Pain is a Disability
(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine) 
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans recently ruled that pain alone, without an underlying disability, may entitle veterans to compensation benefits. This decision could affect both veterans seeking service connection and those seeking increased ratings for conditions that are already considered service connected. Prior to this decision, the federal circuit held veterans had to have a diagnosed disability that rationalized the source of their pain in order to receive Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits.

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By Organization Director Anna Smith
Having a conversation with a non-member coworker can be downright intimidating. It is because of this intimidation some find it frightening and daunting to ask them to stand with us. It is important to move past our concerns and approach them.
The fact is these non-members are working against our best interest. Some non-members are loud and confrontational with anti-union rhetoric. They let everyone know why they are not a member. While we all realize the harm done by the boisterous one, understand that the silent non-member is as destructive, if not more. They are silently working against everything we fight to achieve. They are not on the same side.

(This article first appeared in the November/Decmber 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By Research & Education Department Director Joyce B. Robinson
As the cost of a college education continues to escalate, many parents do not have the funds or resources needed to assure their children receive a college education. However, there are numerous student aid programs available at the state and federal levels. For assistance contact the financial aid offices of colleges for information on the types of aid offered, the procedures, deadlines, and how and when the student will receive the aid. Inquire about each school’s satisfactory academic progress policy. Keep copies of the enrollment agreement, the school’s catalog, and all financial aid documents.

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Western Regional Coordinator Omar Gonzalez
33,400+ employees are absent daily claims management, triggering their Attendance Control Employee Availability (AC/EA) crackdown while they impose so-called “Dynamic Scheduling.”
Leave rules in CBA Article 10 and the Employee & Labor Relations Manual (ELM) Chapter 510 have existed for 40 years. ACEA can’t change those rules. ELM 665.11 requires you to be regular in attendance. However, ELM 511.1 requires management to administer leave on an equitable basis for all employees considering a) the needs of the service b) the welfare of the individual employee.
Too often management imposes discipline using select rules and dictates, such as, three (3) absences in 90 days requires discipline. This dictate violates the contract. “It is the supervisor’s review of the attendance record in light of all relevant evidence, NOT any set number of absences that determines whether corrective action is warranted.” [Article 10.1; 10.2 JCIM].

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By Support Services Division Director Steve Brooks 
I hope everyone had a good time at the 24th Annual National Convention in Pittsburgh, PA. I think it was a very good convention. As usual, the delegates came prepared to demonstrate why they felt their resolutions had merit, and articulated their arguments appropriately. Our conventions and the process of passing resolutions is a true illustration of how the democratic process should work. As is probably true for most of the delegates to the National Convention, you hit the ground running when returning home.
The same can be said for your national officers. The convention took place smack dab in the middle of contract negotiations. With the contract expiring on Sept. 20, 2018, we went into a lock-down period with the Postal Service from Sept. 14-20, where the parties met around-the-clock in attempts to come to an agreement. In the end, we did come closer together on many issues, but were unable to complete the agreement. Because the parties were making headway and still talking, they agreed to extend the...

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My name is Idowu Balogun, your New National Maintenance Division Director. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your letters, cards and emails of congratulations and condolences. Brother Raymer’s untimely departure left all of us stunned and without adequate words to describe our feelings.I am writing this open letter to you to share with you the state of the Maintenance Division within a 60-day time frame of the unexpected passing of our beloved Director Steven G. Raymer.

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 
By MVS Division Director Michael O. Foster 
As the parties reached the Sept. 20th contract deadline, the USPS proposals submitted at the Motor Vehicle Service (MVS) table were by far the most regressive demands in negotiations.
MVS Craft Officers expected the postal proposals would attempt to extract years of our bargaining history, achievements, and protections, but the Article 39 and 32 USPS demands went far beyond those expectations.