All too often, your union
stewards hear about contractual violations well after our members were made aware. In many of these instances the contractual
14 day deadline to file a grievance has come and gone. This makes it extremely hard for your union representatives to
grieve the violation and make the represented employees whole.
The most important factor in all unions is its members. We need your help policing the contract. If you
witness a violation or believe you might have witnessed a violation you must request a steward from your supervisor as soon
as possible. Do not wait until your 14 day deadline has arrived and do not assume someone else has reported the violation
to the union. If management is pulling you in for a Day in Court, ask for a steward immediately and do NOT answer any questions
until a steward is present. Management is not on your side and will not look out for your best interest.
often members inform stewards of an issue while the steward is not released on official steward time. Although we appreciate
the notification, this is not the proper way to report a grievance. You must request a steward from your supervisor.
By doing so it, does two things; first management will be required to release a steward from their bid to deal with the employee's
request, second management will then be forced to release the employee to write a statement for the union. This will
leave the sections impacted short on manpower which will make it harder for management to meet their workload goal (which
we all know bothers them). If there is a penalty for violating the contract that directly affects your supervisor they
may think twice before creating a violation.
So if management wants to talk with you in private or you see a contractual
violation or think you may have witnessed a violation, don't tell a steward in passing, don't leave a note on a steward's
ASK YOUR SUPERVISOR FOR A
Have you ever used FMLA?
What is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
FMLA is a type of protected leave that allows eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of a leave of your choice during
any 12-month period to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, his or her parent, spouse or child, or for
pregnancy or care of a newborn child, for adoption or foster care of a child and two types of military family leave; qualifying
exigency leave and military caregiver leave.
FMLA is a Federal law that is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Postal Service
is required to abide by FMLA law, and has incorporated its requirements into the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM)
and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the APWU and USPS.
To be eligible for FMLA leave,
an employee must have been employed by the Postal Service at least 12 months, and worked at least 1,250 hours over the past
12 months. Eligible employees may use up to 26 workweeks in a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave.
A "single 12-month period" begins with the first day of leave; it is not the same as a "leave year."
Military caregiver leave may be combined with FMLA leave up to a maximum of 26 workweeks of leave in a single 12-month period.
• If the leave qualifies for both military caregiver leave and FMLA leave, the USPS must designate
it as military caregiver leave first.
- If the leave qualifies for both, the USPS cannot count it against both
the 26-week military caregiver leave and the 12-week FMLA leave for other FMLA-qualifying reasons, except that, as explained
above, a maximum of 26 workweeks of combined leave may be taken in any 12-month period.
Leave Be Taken?
- The leave can be taken in a single block of time.
- The leave can be taken in multiple,
smaller blocks of time if medically necessary. (This is
Known as "intermittent leave.")
The leave can be taken on a part-time basis if medically necessary.
-Employees must schedule intermittent leave
at a time that minimizes the disruption to the employer, where possible.
-Unused leave cannot be carried over into
the next leave period or 12-month period.
What Constitutes a
‘Serious Health Condition?'
"Serious health condition" means illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves any
of the following:
- Pregnancy (includes prenatal medical appointments, incapacity due to morning sickness, and
medically-required bed rest). If the employee is unable to report to work because of morning sickness, the leave can be covered
even though she is not treated by doctor during absence.
- Overnight stay in a hospital or other medical care facility.
Incapacity (unable to work or attend school) for more than 3 consecutive days
or more treatments by health care provider within 30 days of first day of incapacity
OR One treatment by health
care provider and follow-up care such as prescription medication.
- First (or only) treatment must be within 7 days
of the first day of incapacity.
- Chronic condition that requires treatment at least twice a year, continues over
extended period of time, and causes occasional periods of incapacitation. Employees who are unable to report to work because
of a chronic condition may be covered even if they are not treated by a doctor during their absence.
of incapacity that is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective; person must be under
continuing supervision of health care provider, but not necessarily under active treatment.
- Period of absence to
receive multiple treatments (and period of recovery afterward) for restorative surgery after an accident or injury or for
a condition that would likely result in incapacity of more than 3 consecutive days if not treat
Procedure for Requesting FMLA Leave
- Employees must give the USPS notice
advance notice if you know you will need time in advance (pregnancy, surgery, etc.).
-If you can't give
30 days' notice, you must give as much notice as soon as possible.
- If the need for leave is unforeseeable,
you must use the usual notice and call-in procedures unless you are unable to do so.
- For qualifying exigency leave, the USPS has the right to require documentation of the need for
- For FMLA leave, the USPS has the right to require certification of the medical condition.
must provide enough information so that the USPS can tell the leave may be covered by the FMLA.
-The ELM requires
employees to submit Form 3971 (to your supervisor) and the medical provider to submit a completed FMLA form to the FMLA Coordinator,
NOT your supervisor!
-Employees and their doctors are not required to complete any specific form, but per the
ELM, the USPS automatically sends employees DOL forms when requested. The APWU has also created FMLA forms that meet
the requirements under the law (you can get them in the stewards office or at apwu.org) which we recommend you use.
You do not have to tell USPS your diagnosis, but you must provide information indicating that leave is required for an FMLA-protected
(Example: Doctors do not have to say on the certification form that the employee has a sinus infection;
a doctor need only say that she has prescribed antibiotics and told the employee to stay home for 4 days).
USPS may require you to correct deficiencies in the certification; you have 7 days to do so (unless it is not practicable
to do so using good faith and diligence). The USPS must send you written notice of the deficiencies.
Management's Response to
FMLA Leave Requests
- The USPS must notify you within 5 business days
of your request for leave whether it is approved.
- The notification must include a notice of your rights and responsibilities
-For FMLA Leave, the USPS cannot require recertification more frequently than every 30
days. Additionally, recertification has to at minimum match the duration of the condition in the original certification.
In short there is a lot of valuable information employees need to be aware of as to their rights under FMLA leave.
If you have any questions please ask to speak with a steward.
Hello Sisters and Brothers of the St. Paul Minnesota Local;
A heart-felt thank you, to each of you who entrusted
me as a delegate on your behalf to attend Pre-Convention Workshops, Clerk Division Conference, and the 24th Biennial National
Convention held in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania from August 16-24 201 There were over 2,000 delegates in attendance
from all states at the Convention. It was evident that "Fighting Today for a Better Tomorrow" is going
to take all Union Members, not just Stewards and Officers. We can help each other every single day. Do not allow
management to take your job away. Do not let Management do Clerk, Maintenance, or Motor Vehicle work.
Any time you witness anyone in Management performing bargaining unit work, take note of what they were doing and how
long they were doing the work. Ask for a Union Steward and let the Steward fight for your job by filing a grievance on your
behalf. If you do not receive a Steward, call the Steward Office and we will file a grievance for you not receiving
a Steward on top of what you ask for a Steward for in the beginning. This is happening too much everywhere, including
the Stations. Remember, if not you, then who will do it? It is a collective fight, we all need to stand together.
HOW TO FILE A GRIEVANCE
the September 2018 Postmark
If you think management has violated the contract ask to see a union steward.
Then you want to write a statement on the situation. Do you have the Who? What? When? Where? Why? The date
and the time frame are important to keep track of and to make sure that's in your statement. When you're done
writing your statement print and sign your name with your Employee ID number and date that you wrote this statement.
Then the Steward will investigate the possible grievance. It's best to file close to the date that the situation
from the March 2018 Postmark
For calling in for weather related absence you need to call-in for EMERGENCY ANNUAL LEAVE (EAL) only.
It clearly stated in the ELM (519.21)under Acts of God involve community disasters such as fire, flood, or
storms. The disaster situation must be general rather than personal in scope and impact. It must prevent groups
of employees from working or reporting to work.
How to Call In for Weather Related Absence
Also, Employees on Annual Leave, Sick Leave, or LWOP remain in such status. They are not entitled to administrative
leave. There were a number of employees that didn't call in correctly. Not just the newer employees but the
employees that have worked here for years.
There is certain percentage of employees that need
to call-in EMERGENCY ANNUAL LEAVE to be eligible for 8 hours of administrative leave pay.
From the February 2018 Postmark
Make your moves on the time clock under the correct operation.
This helps for grievances and to establish that there are work hours in your section.
The 5 minute
leeway is only for congestion at the time clock and time. Daily assignments are given at the start of the shift.
If your time card is not working, you will need to fill out a PS Form 1260. Please... Make a copy before you hand
it into management
Tour 1 steward
January 2018 Postmark Dianne Richardson
The New Year brings everyone new advanced annual leave.
The annual leave can be used at the start of PP 2 2018, January 6, 2018 to PP 1-2019, January 4, 2019. Just remember if you
plan to retire or separation happens. You will owe the USPS for annual that was used and not earned. If you separate
or retire on a day that is not the last day of the pay period, you will not earn leave for the time beyond your last full
pay period. (ELM 512.731 b).
from the January 20218 Postmark
I Hope that you have had a good Holiday season.
Over the years I have learned to take the Postal crazy time in stride. It comes every year and it doesn't seem to
change. Its like its their first Xmas each time. One would think they would have it down to a science. Maybe Weird
science:) There are a lot of issues that we are dealing with. Reversions, excess jobs, and there will be more as the
contract will expire September 30 2018. Your union will be there to address every one of them. The strength of
the union depends on its membership. To those of you that are retiring in the near future, Happy trails to all of you
and I hope that this time next year I will be on one of those trails too.
Yours in Solidarity
As winter is upon us
once again, I thought I would take a minute to remind folks of some winter safety precautions one can take while at work.
Every winter there are numerous postal at fault accidents right here in our own backyard. Some of these accidents are avoidable
and some aren't. For some Postal employees driving in bad weather is just part of the job. With the
push by USPS management to get more work done with fewer employees, we some times find ourselves sacrificing safety to get
the job done. And what happens if we get in an accident while performing our jobs? You are almost guaranteed to
get disciplined or even fired for working unsafe!
As such, I would like to remind employees that they can not be forced
into situations that pose a safety risk for themselves our others. You must adjust your driving habits to match the
current weather conditions. If you are driving down the road and conditions get so bad that your safety and others
is in jeopardy (snow, ice, visibility), find a safe place to pull over and stop the vehicle. Immediately call your supervisor
and inform them of the weather conditions and that you have pulled over and are waiting for conditions to improve to proceed
with your assigned duties. Even if management gives you a direct order to continue with the unsafe act, you may refuse
and restate the safety concern and that you will continue your duties once the conditions improve. It is your right
to work in a safe environment.
Another safety issue that pops up each year is snow accumulation in the
parking lots at postal owned facilities. As you have all seen the snow piles up quickly. As it does, the piles
of snow slowly encroach into the lanes of traffic. This results in less clearance and greatly increases the chance of
an accident. If snow piles up in the parking lot and restricts the flow of traffic, report this to a station manager/supervisor
or fill out a PS Form 1767. The Postal Service has Maintenance employees and/or contracts with local companies to deal
with the clearing of snow at all Postal owned facilities. I have personally seen several of these written contracts
and it is clear that there isn't to be any snow stored on postal property. It is the duty of the contractor to transport
this snow off the property to a location secured by them. Also, each of these contractors are supposed to salt/sand
each time they clear the parking lot of snow and are required to do so as requested by postal management within 2 hours of
a call (icy conditions). If the parking lots and sidewalks are icy report it to a supervisor immediately so a bargaining
unit employee and/or contractor is notified to spread some sand or salt.
So this winter do not let the winter weather
get the best of you. Use all of the avenues at your disposal to ensure you do not put yourself in an unsafe situation.
As management always tells us, safety starts with you.
from the November 2017 postmark
As the weather
cools down once again it is clear the Christmas Mailing Season is once again fast approaching. The penalty overtime
exclusion period has been set and will start PP 25 WK 2 (December 2nd) thru PP 1 Wk 1 (December 29th).
We have been notified that the Christmas Annex will be near the MN State Fair Grounds this year and as such will fall under
the jurisdiction of St Paul. The facility is currently being staged and set-up. We have requested a meeting
with management on the Christmas Annex and overall operational plans for the Christmas season and have yet to be given a set
date. Once we have our meeting we will be sure to notify our members of the impacts this mailing Season will have and
the Postal Services intended plans. As usual I am sure there will be plenty of overtime available so get your rest now!
In the end the Service will rely on our seasoned career employees to get thru the peek mailing season. Remember to work
safely and protect your self.
What Does it Mean to be Part of
from the October 2017 Postmark
Brothers and Sisters,
It was recently pointed out to me that some of our newer and younger
members may not know what being part of a union really entails. Sure you all know that Union dues are taken out of your
paychecks, but what do those dues get you?
Your dues aid your Local and your National Union in the continued fight
to maintain the level of benefits, medical, retirement, leave and pay that you currently enjoy. Your dues help provide
representation and fund the grievance procedure at the Local and National level; which is the single most important mechanisms
utilized to uphold our contract and your rights.
There however are far more important reasons to be a dues paying
member of your Union. Being a member gives you the right to vote in your Local and National elections. You help
decide who represents you and your interests. This is one of the single most important rights you have as a member.
Yet only approximately 20% of our members vote in elections.
As a member you also have a right to attend your Local
Union meeting. This is your opportunity to question your Local representative face to face. This is your opportunity
to hear the issues affecting our members on the work room floor. Your opportunity to let us hear your voice as to what
direction you want YOUR Union to go in and what local expenses we are approved to spend. Unfortunately we struggle monthly
to get a quorum of 20 members present at our General Membership Meeting. Without a quorum we cannot do the business
of the local.
In short, YOU are the most important part of this Union. We need you to get involved. We
need you to voice your concerns.
Also, I would like to hear from you the new and younger members on what we can do
to try and get more members involved in our Local. What would it take to get our newest generation of Postal Workers
invested in the St Paul Area Local? Please call me at 651-224-2639 come to a GMM or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with
any ideas or feedback.
Anatomy of a grievance
the October 2017 Postmark
A GRIEVANCE includes,
but is not limited to, the complaint of an employee or of the Union which involves the interpretation, application of or compliance
with the provision of the APWU Agreement or any local Memorandum of Understanding. When an employee or the Union believes
their rights under the Agreement have been violated, then the grievance procedure begins.
To file a grievance,
the process starts with a statement from the employee (APWU member). The employee will request to speak
with a steward. The employee should note the time they asked and when management provides them time to speak with a
steward. The time should be no later than 1- 3 hours, unless there is no steward available. If it takes longer
than 3 hours, that is a grievance under Article 17. Remember - ask for Union Representation for a Day In Court
and any disciplinary meetings with management and if a Postal Inspector, OIC wants to talk with you. It's
The APWU Union Member requests a steward and meets with them and then writes a statement of what
the issue is. The steward will ask the member questions: what happened, who was involved, when it happened and where
it took place. The steward will then start researching the issue and figure out what aspect of the contract that is
violated by management. Stewards have the National Bargaining Contract (CBA), Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM)
and the Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU) which have separate Articles that they use to file grievances against management.
For example, Article 17 is used when management fails to provide the Member(s) with a steward. The Contracts
have special Articles for the Maintenance Craft - Article's 38 and 32 and Motor Vehicles Craft - Article 39 and 32.
APWU members all use Article 10 Leave; annual and sick (FMLA) and there are many more all craft articles.
Things the steward needs to file a grievance.
The steward will need to get your clock rings for the date
the violation took place, a daily roster, seniority list and daily duties of the job the preferenced.
may need to get statements from other witnesses. Article 37 - Preferred Duty violation. It is very important for the Clerk(s),
Article 32: Maintenance employees - subcontracting personnel in the building, over scheduling duties for daily work hours.
Motor Vehicle employees - management delivering mail to stations, mechanical work performed at other facilities not at the
VMF, It is very important to be on right operation number for the date of the violation. The operation numbers are very important
when filing a grievance to prove the grievant(s) were there working and on the clock and the location. Maintenance custodians
have assigned PM routes; Technicians have PRM's schedules daily. Motor vehicle have their routes and time tables
and mechanics have PRM's and truck break downs out in the field.
Once the grievant has written
their statement, your steward has a total of 14 day (from the violation date) to research - what aspect of the contract is
violated by management and collect information and write a step one grievance and have a step 1 meeting with management.
PLEASE! I must impress upon you that Stewards and Directors need time to plan, prepare and set
a meeting date and time with management. The steward will need to figure in management's days off and steward's
days off and employee's days off too. (And that could total 6 days out of the 14 days). The steward
gives a RFI - (request for information), it is sent to management and sometimes it takes a few more days to receive the information
back. Please help your steward; by giving them the opportunity to make your grievance solid and use all relied
information for your grievance. IF, you are not sure you have A GRIEVANCE still ask for a STEWARD to explain what you
saw happen. WE, your stewards need to file a grievances when management Violates: Article 1.6 : performing
bargaining work; Article 37- management is changing clerk hours, abolishing bids, preferred duty , seniority, 204-B
issues; Article 8 - ALL Crafts: pay issues and hours worked, overtime by passes, clerks are working
alone on DBCS, Article 17- Steward denial -requesting to speak with stewards; just to name a few. WE, APWU
members need to band together and the KEEP UNION STRONG. . DO NOT WAIT TILL THE LAST DAY to request
a steward. The APWU is fighting for the violations/causes against the Contract..
Dianne Richardson, IRD
APWU is Working United
All Craft Report
the October 2017 Postmark
I would like
to thank the membership for sending me to the All Craft Conference in Las Vegas Nevada. It was fun, emotional, inspiring,
educational and all together a great time. Of course the first day was a little unsettling as the worse mass shooting in US
history happened on that day.
I had already gone to bed when it happened and did not become aware of it until
4:00 am when an alarm came on over the intercom in the room that stated "All guests are allowed in their rooms, all non-guests
must now leave the hotel". I thought something must have happened so I turned on the news and became aware of the tragedy.
I then called home to let my family know I was safe.
Every class I went to we started by bowing our heads in
silence, for the people that were killed or injured. At the classes I went to it became very apparent that
the problems we are dealing with in St Paul are occurring around the entire country. It is a full attack
on postal duty assignments. Each Local is dealing with reposts, reversions and excessing.
The National Union
officers are taking these issues up at their level with National level grievances and helping out the locals to develop the
cases at the lowest levels. As the Clerk Trustee, all the classes I signed up for were dealing with reposting,
reversions and excessing. I learned a lot to make the strongest defenses to save each and every job Management tries to take
Again I would like to thank the membership for sending me to this conference,
May 2017 Postmark
1st month Completed as the IRD .
The IRD tracks all the step 2 grievances (Clerk, Maintenance and Motor
vehicle Craft). When a Step 1 grievance is denied by SDO's, MMO's; they give their reason(s) for the denial
to the steward and then the step 1 grievance goes up Step 2 for further negations.
Steward is responsible to type up a Nature (report) of what the grievance (situation) is and what happened, when, where and
why the situation happened and the remedy for the grievance.
Then as the IRD, I read over the Nature (report)
to make sure all information relied upon is in the Nature (report). The Union steward applies the National Collective
Bargaining Agreement's Articles to provide and prove the Contract violations that were incurred by the Union Member.
The Step 2 Grievance is clocked in with Plant Manager and then the Clerk Craft Director, Bruce Gutzke meets with Labor to
discuss and negotiate the grievance violation.
FYI - It is very important when a craft employee writes
a statement concerning the violation(s) --The Statement has When it happened, Where it happened , How it happened and
Who was involved (SDO, MDO, SMO, MMO).
The Union tracks the grievance pay for the Union Member,
which involves Management giving the Union what we call "GATS" proof of the pay to the grievant - Member.
It can take a few pay periods for management to credit the members with pay. So be patient. The Union; the
Officers and Stewards work hard for their members in many ways. Please ask for a steward when a violation
happens and give all the details about the situation. The Union Steward is your first line to communicate any and all
violations. The Union is here for you the Members. Please help us to help you.
Industrial Relations Director
May 2017 Trustee Postmark Report
Hello Brothers and Sisters
This will be my first article as the trustee chair. We conducted
our first audit on April 25. All the books seem to be in order. There is a lot of paper work to go through, as
I want to thank Jason Stevens for all his help conducting the audit and the other trustees for their
patience. I am looking forward to working with the trustees in the future.
Also, I want to thank the
membership for sending me to the National Convention next year. I have been to 2 previous conventions and it has always
been an honor and privilege to represent the St. Paul Area Local.
Yours in solidarity,
From the April Postmark, Secretary's Report
Brother and Sisters,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you that voted during this
last election. It is one of the ways that we are allowed to voice our opinion. For those that voted for me as Secretary, Thank
I would like to congratulate Jerry Jacobson on his retirement!!
Shelley R. Fleming
From the April Postmark,
I want to take this opportunity to say "Thank You" to the Membership for my newly elected position with
the Union as the IRD (Industrial Relations Director). I will be working with for All Clerks, Motor Vehicle (Drivers
and Mechanics) and Maintenance (mechanics, custodial and technicians).
I will be helping all crafts with Grievances,
contracts and information pertaining to the crux of the case. The definition of the word crux is 1) A puzzling or difficult
problem: an unsolved question. 2) An essential point requiring resolution or resolving an outcome. 3) a main or central feature
(as of an argument)
Industrial Relations Director: Our Constitution states "Shall
assist the President by performing such duties as may be assigned to the Industrial Relations Director by the President. In
the absence of the President and Vice President, the Industrial Relations Director shall be vested with the same powers as
the President and shall perform the duties of the President. The Industrial Relations Director shall, by virtue of the
office, be a delegate to all State and National Conventions."
Please stop in or call with any questions
or concerns. The Union Office number is 651-224-2639.
The Union is here for you - The Members.
are Union Strong.
Thank you to the members who voted in this election.
Industrial Relations Director
From the March 2017 Postmark
I want to
thank the membership for again allowing me to serve you for another 2 years as your Clerk Craft Director. The past 6 years
have gone so fast and there still remains a lot of work to do. I would like to thank the membership for all the notes, phone
calls, E-mails letting me and all the stewards know when there is a violation so we can file a grievance on your behalf.
I need to remind all of you - if the PI's or the OIG ask to see you or they come to your house,
ask for a Steward, even if you think it is about someone else. They do not have your best interests at heart, the Union
PSE's - if you are being converted, ask to see a steward so we can answer your question before you bid
and or after you make regular. There are too many rules for you to know so let us help you.
slips need to be passed out in March for the plant and stations. For the AO's, call the Union and we will let
you know when it is at each office, it is a little different than the plant and stations. Also at some of the
AO's that have contract cleaners, the Union will be filing grievances to give that type of work to the clerks to give
you more hours. I know some people will be happy and some may not like it, but that is what the contract says
and it gets some PSE or PFT more hours.
Yours in solidarity
St. Paul APWU
Eagan, MN 55121
From the March
Recently we have had a steady flow of employees reporting shortages on their pay stubs.
These issues relate to management not inputting work hours correctly, improper leave category entered and even management
purposely changing the type of leave requested by the employee. The only way to minimize these types of pay issues is
for the employee to take control of your PS Form 3971's (leave request) and PS Form 1260's (non-transactor card).
When requesting any type of leave (A/L, S/L, LWOP), the employee should be submitting their own PS Form 3971. Far too
often management will print off a 3971 from the ERMS system and bring them to the employee for signature. Many employees
sign the employer created 3971 without verifying the information on it is correct! The 3971 is the employees request
for leave and as such you can not be forced to sign a 3971 completed by management. If you notice an issue with your
pay stub please request a steward as soon as possible so an investigation can be started and a grievance filed if necessary.
The sooner issues are addressed the better. Remember the following:
-Check your pay stub closely every pay period
(work hours, overtime hours and leave usage)
-Fill out your own PS Form 3971's (do not sign management created
-Make a copy of all documents submitted to management (3971, 1260) for your own records
a steward if you think there are any issues with your pay
FROM THE FEBRUARY POSTMARK
those of you at Stations and Branches under the guidelines of the St Paul Area Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU), it
is once again time to bid your choice vacation for the summer months. Below are some contractual guidelines from the
E: Periods for requesting choice vacation will commence no later than March 1st of each year.
Employees must submit their Form 1547 to management no later than March 21st. Normally, management will complete
and return Form 1547 to employee no later than March 31st of each year.
If Management does not provide
you a PS Form 1547 by March 1st, ask for a steward. Likewise, if you do not receive your completed PS Form 1547 by March
31, request a steward. We can then address the issue with the Station Manager.
C. From May 22nd
and inclinding June, July and August, and from the 1st Saturday in November and continuing for a total of 21 calendar
days, 14% of the complement will be scheduled on annual leave in each section or unit.
G. It is agreed that all employees
shall be granted 2 (two) selections as their first choice during the choice vacation periods. If an eligible employee
requests 15 (fifteen) continuous days of annual leave, such request will be counted as 2 (two ) selections.
H. The same method for choice vacation leave scheduling shall be used in all sections. Management shall furnish
official written notice to each employee of his/her approved vacation in addition to the schedule posted on the bulletin board.
A calendar and a duplicate Form 1547 shall be utilized. The duplicate Form 1547 shall be returned by Management to the
employee as his/her officially approved vacation record.
I. The complement in a section or unit on a Quarterly
basis shall be used to determine the number of employees off on the guarantee of 5 (five) days or more and choice vacation.
If you are at an associate office, your vacation bidding procedures are laid out in your station's
MOU or the National CBA. If you are not sure what your vacation bidding procedure entails, request a steward or contact
us at 651-224-2639 and we would be more than happy to look it up for you. Do NOT take managements word as to how the
bidding should work! All too often we see bargaining unit employees misled as to the intent of the contractual language.
Dave Cook, IRD
FROM THE FEBRUARY POSTMARK
I am writing
this article to remind the members of some of your rights.
First of all please keep in mind that if you are
ever approached by a postal inspector or if they call on the phone, it is YOUR responsibility to ask for union
representation. . Which I would advise you to do, and not say anything until you speak with your union steward,
and I do mean don't say anything. Just simply say "I want a steward". Then end the conversation.
The other issue I want to speak with you about is window training. Lately management has
been making window clerks in St. Paul do the perfect transaction training. I am currently a window clerk myself.
Management can train me to do my job. But you never have to sign any papers or initial any papers agreeing
that you have received that particular training. Management only does this to use this against you if you ever
get discipline. This also includes safety/service talks. It's management's job to train you!
It's not your responsibility to sign off on it. If the person that's doing the training tells you that
you have to sign or initial, ask for a steward and don't sign or initial anything until you speak with your union steward.
Please keep these rights in mind.
Yours in solidarity
from the January 2017 Postmark
Obey Now, Grieve Later
Submitted by Willie Mellen, NBA Clerk Division
this well-established rule, an employee must obey supervision even when he or she disagrees with an order. The reason for
the rule was best explained long ago by Dean Shulman in Ford Motor Co., 3 LA 779, 781: "An industrial plant is not a
debating society. Its object is production. When a controversy arises, production cannot wait." Disobedience to this
very fundamental principle warrants discipline, often including summary discharge.
There are certain narrow and limited
exceptions to the "obey now, grieve later" principle. One such exception is when employees have cause to believe
that their safety or health would be endangered by complying with the order. However, when an employee is capable of performing
the supervisory directive without risk to his health or safety and refuses to do so, he is, in effect taking the enforcement
of his contractual rights into his own hands, thereby violating the "obey now, grieve later" rule."
above quotation is from a recent arbitration award written by Arbitrator Ann Kenis. In the past few weeks our office has fielded
several calls from employees, stewards and officers on this subject. I am familiar with this "rule" as I have been
a steward or officer at some level since 1987; however, it appears many of our members are not familiar with such a rule.
Based on that I thought I would put out an article on the subject. I generally have been hesitant to write on subjects like
this as these types of articles seem to find a way into an arbitration hearing or two. But the recent influx of questions
related to this subject has prompted me to write.
Please note that the employee who was the subject of the Kenis award
had no previous discipline, yet the Arbitrator upheld the removal issued by the USPS. It should have come as no surprise to
the Grievant or the Advocate as Arbitrator Kenis has removed others on their first offense of this nature. I have been speaking
for years on how several arbitrators view the refusal of a directive, order, instruction, or whatever you want to refer to
it as, to be a removable offense. I recently had a person say to me that Management had to call it a "direct order"
otherwise the employee did not have to obey the directive. That simply is not true! There are no magic words that Management
has to utter to make it something the employee needs to do. It really does come back to obey now and grieve later. Request
your steward, it may very well be a violation of our contract to comply with the direction, but let the steward deal with
Those that know me have heard me say for years these two words on almost any subject: "It depends".
While the fact circumstances might bear out a different result, most do not. Not obeying or complying with an "order"
can get you fired and most certainly disciple at some level. I recently brought to a District Manager's attention that
a Postmaster was ordering clerks out in the field to do the opposite of one of his directives. The clerks in the office complied
with the directive as it did not put them in harm's way. The clerk asked for a steward to question the directive, and
it went from there. I know there are dozens, if not hundreds, of stories (I have a few myself) where two different supervisors
told someone to do something totally opposite of what the other supervisor told them. There are ways to handle that such as
telling the supervisor I can do that but you might want to check with other supervisor so I do not get in trouble with them
for doing what you said.
One thing that might have changed the outcome before Arbitrator Kenis would be some level
of remorse. A simple "I'm sorry" goes a long way in an arbitrator's view. Being defiant could cost you your
postal career. Being apologetic for your actions could still result in some level of discipline but at least you should not
be looking at a removal notice.
From the January 2017 Postmark
winter is upon us, I thought I would take a minute to remind folks of some winter safety precautions one can take while at
work. Every winter there are numerous postal at fault accidents right here in our own backyard. Some of these accidents
are avoidable and some aren't. For some Postal employees driving in bad weather is just part of the job.
With the push by USPS management to get more work done with fewer employees we some times find ourselves sacrificing safety
to get the job done. And what happens if we get in an accident while performing our jobs? You are almost guaranteed
to get disciplined or even fired for working unsafe!
As such, I would like to remind employees that they can not
be forced into situations that pose a safety risk for themselves our others. You must adjust your driving habits to
match the current weather conditions. If you driving down the road and conditions get so bad that your safety
and others is in jeopardy (snow, ice, visibility), find a safe place to pull over and stop the vehicle. Immediately
call your supervisor and inform them of the weather conditions and that you have pulled over and are waiting for conditions
to improve to proceed with your assigned duties. Even if management gives you a direct order to continue with the unsafe
act, you may refuse and restate the safety concern and that you will continue your duties once the conditions improve.
It is your right to work in a safe environment.
Another safety issue that pops up each year is snow
accumulation in the parking lots at postal owned facilities. As you have all seen the snow pile up quickly. As
it does, the piles of snow slowly encroach into the lanes of traffic. This results in less clearance and greatly increases
the chance of an accident. If snow piles up in the parking lot and restricts the flow of traffic, report this to a station
manager/supervisor or fill out a PS Form 1767. The postal service has contracts with local companies to deal with the
clearing of snow at all Postal owned facilities. I have personally seen several of these written contracts and it is
clear that there isn't to be any snow stored on postal property. It is the duty of the contractor to transport this snow
off the property to a location secured by them. Also, each of these contracts is supposed to salt/sand each time
they clear the parking lot of snow and are required to do so as requested by postal management within 2 hours of a call (icy
conditions). If the parking lots and sidewalks are icy report it to a supervisor immediately so a bargaining unit employee
and/or contractor is notified to spread some sand or salt.
So this winter do not let the winter weather get the best
of you. Use all of the avenues at your disposal to ensure you do not put yourself in an unsafe situation. As management
always tells us, safety starts with you.
Industrial Relations Director
NEWLY CONVERTED REGULARS & REGULARS
Newly converted regulars, you can't use
your annual in your first 90 days as a regular and the system doesn't allow it if you try to put it in. Management
may allow you to take LWOP (Leave without Pay) if yo need time off, but they don't have to allow this. FYI:
Too many LWOP hours DOES effect your retirement. Also, for every 80 hours of LWOP; you lose 4 hours of annual leave.
Another option is coming to the Union Office and filling out a COS FORM (Change of Schedule) to change your days, hours
or both. The COS is up to management for approval.
FILLING OUT A CHANGE OF
filling out your change of schedule, the left side is what your current bid reads and the right side is nights off,
hours or both. Then you will need a Steward signature. The Steward will take a copy. Then you will take
the original to your supervisor for approval. ***Ask if you need help filling out a change of schedule.
If you don't have a plastic time card; you need to fill out a PS FORM 1260. Start with BT (Begin
Tour), OL (Out to Lunch), IL (In from Lunch), ET (End Tour) and MV (Making a move for the operation you are working.)
Since, there is no carbon for copies make sure you make a COPY and keep it for documentation of your hours worked. Remember
to check your paycheck for that week to see if you were paid right. See a supervisor and ask for a steward if there's
LET THE UNION WORK FOR YOU! THE UNION HAS FOUGHT AND IS FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHTS!
Tour 1 Steward
from the May 2016 Postmark
Whose Job Is It
As bargaining unit employees, we are often
told to perform duties that are not in our specific job description. These duties may be those of another APWU represented
craft or another postal bargaining unit (mail handlers, carrier, etc.). Unfortunately, if you are instructed to perform
work by a Supervisor you must follow that direction and do as told (unless it is unsafe or illegal). However, you may
request a steward and we can protest on your behalf. If it is the work of an APWU represented employee, we can file
an Article 7 cross craft/occupational group grievance. This will result in a monetary remedy for the occupational group
whose work was performed. If it is the work of another postal bargaining unit, you can write a statement for our brother/sister
unions and they can initiate a grievance. The only way to stop these violations are grievances that cost the Postal
Service money $$.
Also, stations &
branches are still transporting mail that misses the final station dispatches in the evening to the P&DC on a daily basis
(or another station that bring it to P&DC). This work is mostly being assigned to station carriers and supervisors.
The transportation of mail between postal facilities is strictly that of the MVS Tractor Trailer Operators (when being performed
by Postal employee). The APWU has been actively filing grievances (when made aware) on this since 2006. Management
has recently become creative at hiding this violation from the APWU. We need your help! If you are aware of mail
at your station that didn't make the final truck, chances are it was brought down to the P&DC by a non MVS employee.
Please ask for a steward or call the union office at 651-224-2639 to report it (who transported it, quantity and type of mail).
Remember, united we stand divided we fall!
Industrial Relations Director
I would like all the Union Brother and Sisters to GOOGLE: APWU, Just once
time and you will be hooked. You will find many interesting facts and information. The APWU National Website is there
for all APWU members to find answers to a lot of questions. All you need to do is GOOGLE: APWU. There are
7 categories on the main page and the # 1 Category is Pay & Benefit Issues: The most Common Question(s) asked
from newly converted Regulars; is about annual and sick leave. You can find them under the Pay& Benefit Issues.
There is "Regulars that have questions about retirement CSRS and FERS". Questions about our national contract
in arbitration and new contract language, while waiting for the contract to be signed.
and Sick Leave:
Leave Category 4 is less than 3 years will receive 4 hours for each full biweekly pay period.
04 hours (13 days) per 26 period leave year.
Leave category 6 is 3 years but less than 15 years will receive 6 hours
for each full bi weekly pay period plus 4 hours In last full pay period in calendar year; i.e., 16 hours(20 days)
per 26 period leave year. .
Leave category 8 is 15 years or more will receive 8 hours for each full biweekly pay period;
i.e. 208 hours (26 days) per 26 period leave year.
Sick Leave for all career employees is accrued as follows:
full-time employees time accrued 4 hours for each full biweekly pay period - i.e., 13 days (104 hours) per 26 period leave
year; Part-time employees 1 hour for each unit of 20 hours in pay status up to 104 hours (13 days) per 26 -period
I would like to challenge our Union Members to GOOGLE the APWU National website and our local
website: St. Paul APWU. You will find articles from past Postmarks. You can find charts for pay charts for all
levels and Benefits and many featured news article. Please give us Union Stewards and Officers ideas on what you would
like to see in future articles and/or on the locals website.
Clerk Craft Trustee, Steward
for Plant and Stations.
Have you lost a personal item?
There are two lost and found locations at Eagan P& DC. Check with the maintenance
window and ring the bell. It is located close to the main breakroom. They may have some
items that you lost or misplaced. Another place could be the General Clerk office located at the entry
of the building before the turn styles.
Kim Richardson Tour 1 Steward
DO YOU FIT IN ONE OR MORE OF THE CATEGORIES BELOW?
- Are you a new PSE employee
and are you unware that you have a right to attend the Union meetings?
- Are you
an employee that is going to retire with in the next 3 years?
- Are you a PSE
employee that just returned after your first year and is now eligible to join the APWU health plan?
you someone that does not know what your union dues are paying for and would like to see it first hand?
- Are you an employee that has never been to a Union meeting?
you someone that works at a station or associate office and does not get much face to face contact with stewards or officers?
- Are you a PSE employee that is going to be converted to a career employee and has questions
on how the process works and all the new benefits you are going to receive?
you someone that wants to know how the contract negotiations are going?
I could go on and on but what
you need to know is everyone (other than nonmembers and management) could benefit from going to union meetings.
as one union meeting this year would make a difference, your involvement is very important. Not to mention everything listed
above you will also hear what direction management is trying to move the Postal Service and what defenses the union poses
if they are not contractual. The meeting usually last around an hour or so and are scheduled on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
Look at the last page in this Postmark to see when the next one is scheduled.
I almost forgot they also serve
free pizza and beverages (pop, bottled water and coffee) at each meeting!!
Hello Brothers and Sisters
We need to do some house cleaning. PSE and Regulars need
to start punching the right operations throughout the day. It is very important . If you do not know talk to your Supervisor.
Management is starting to issue more discipline and members are not asking for a steward to be with
them in the day in court. Also don't wait until the 14th Day to give your disciple to the steward.
We have about 25 more Residuals so within the next two months we should convert up to 25 PSE unless we have some people transfer
in. So if you are in the next 25 PSE on the list make sure you talk to a steward or myself about the bids you will get
to preference on in the next two months.
I would like to thank the membership for sending me
to the Four State Convention up in Fargo this past week. We debated about 44 resolutions which about 40 will
be discussed at the State Convention in May. At the next union meeting in March I will go into more detail on what was brought
Bruce Gutzke, Clerk Craft Director
It appears that management once again has been instructed to curb leave usage, as evident by an increase
in discipline for leave usage. This is occurring at stations & branches and the P&DC. We are seeing this
occur in all crafts. If management wants to speak with you about your leave, request a steward. It is imperative
that you do not attend a Day in Court meeting without a steward present. Let us help ensure your rights are not violated.
Please protect yourself from unnecessary discipline. Fill out your own leave slips every time you are absent.
All too often employees blindly sign the 3971 generated by management, which often has inaccurate information on it.
The 3971 is the controlling document and as such we want it accurate. Also, if you are regularly using leave for a known
medical condition, please get FMLA protection. If your leave is protected by FMLA management can not issue you discipline.
this, remember in accordance with Article 15 of the CBA you only have 14 days from the date of violation to file a grievance.
If you are issued any discipline or believe a violation has occurred request a steward from your supervisor immediately.
The employer is then responsible to provide you a steward as soon as possible but not later than 2 hours from the time of
your request. Do not wait until the 14th day!
Dave Cook, IRD
WHAT TO DO IF A POSTAL INSPECTOR WANTS TO HAVE A FACE TO FACE MEETING, CONVERSATIONS, INTERVIEWS, and AUDITS
ANY INTERACTION WITH Postal Inspectors will cause a great deal of confusion, concerns and unease will exists.
Postal Inspection investigations have touched and affected an ever increasing number of Postal Workers from all crafts.
The Incidents of Inspection Service solicited incriminating statements which result in resignations, firings, arrests and
convictions of Postal Workers.
Article 17.3 of the national contract states: If an employee requests a steward
or Union representative to be present during the course of an interrogation by the Inspection Service, such request
will be granted.
Article 17.4 of the National Contract: WEINGARTEN RIGHTS: Federal labor law
gives each employee the right to representation during any investigatory interview which the employee reasonably believes
may lead to discipline. This right originated in NLRB V. J. Weingarten, U.S. Supreme Court 1975, and is commonly called
"Weingarten rule" or "Weingarten rights."
ASK FOR UNION REPRESENTATION
Whenever a person
identifies him or herself to you as a Postal Inspector: Do Not engage in any conversation or answer any questions without
a Union Representative Present. You MUST Request a Union Representative and absolutely refuse to speak with Postal Inspectors,
answer questions or cooperate in any way without a UNION Representative. UNDER NO circumstances are you to give any
kind of ORAL or WRITTEN statement. The Weingarten rule includes the right to pre-interview consolation with a steward.
Federal Courts have extended this right to pre-meeting consultations to cover inspection service interrogations. The
employee has the right to a steward's assistance, not just a silent presence, during an interview covered by the Weingarten
rule. An employee's Weingarten rights are violate when the union representative is not allowed to speak or is restricted
to the role of a passive observer. Employees do not answer questions or have conversation with the PI before a Union
Representative is present. Postal Inspectors may insist this is not an investigation and that he/she is just being friendly.
The Employee must neither accept not believe that. Postal Inspector often covers- up their intentions with lies and
half-truths. Postal Inspectors tells an employee that he/she is not entitled to a Union Representative because he/she
is not subject of the investigation. The Postal Inspectors explains that they must ask some questions about employee______________.
The employee must not answer any questions or discuss anything with any PI's. Employee must insist that a Union
Representative be present.
DO: ALWAYS INSIST ON UNION REP WHENEVER ANYONE IDENTIFIES HIM /HERSELF AS A PI.
EVER SPEAK TO PI WITHOUT UNION REP.
DON'T: EVER TAKE A LIE-DETECTOR TEST (POLYGRAPH) UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES;
EVER GIVE A WRITTEN OR ORAL STATEMENT WHEN REQUESTED BY POSTAL INSPECTORS.
LISTEN TO YOUR STEWARD WHEN HE/SHE ADVICES
YOU NOT TO TALK UNTIL A STEWARD IS THERE OR ANSWER QUESTIONS, AND/OR ADVICES LEGAL COUNSIL.
Richardson, Clerk Craft Trustee
Well we made it through another
busy Holiday season. Once again, you the employees made the shipping season successful. For
those of you at the St. Paul Iinstallation under the guidelines of the St Paul Area Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU),
it is once again time to bid your choice vacation for the summer months.
Below are some contractual
guidelines from the LMOU:
E. Periods for requesting choice vacation will commence no later than March 1st of each year. Employees must submit their Form 1547 to management
no later than March 21st. Normally, management will complete and return Form 1547 to employee no later
than March 31st of each year. If Management does not provide you a PS Form 1547
by March 1st, ask for a steward. Likewise, if you do not receive your completed PS Form 1547 by March 31,
request a steward. We can then address the issue with the Station Manager.
May 22nd and including June, July and
August, and from the 1st
Saturday in November and continuing for a total of 21 calendar days, 14% of the complement will be scheduled on annual leave
in each section or unit.
G. It is agreed that all employees shall be granted 2 (two) selections as their
first choice during the choice vacation periods. If an eligible employee requests 15 (fifteen) continuous
days of annual leave, such request will be counted as 2 (two) selections.
H. The same method for choice vacation leave scheduling shall
be used in all sections. Management shall furnish official written notice to each employee of his/her approved
vacation in addition to the schedule posted on the bulletin board. A calendar and a duplicate Form 1547 shall be utilized.
The duplicate Form 1547 shall be returned by Management to the employee as his/her officially approved vacation record.
The complement in a section or unit on a Quarterly basis shall be used to determine the number of employees off on
the guarantee of 5 (five) days or more and choice vacation.
If you are at an associate office, your vacation bidding
procedures are laid out in your LMOU. If you are not sure what your vacation bidding procedure entails,
request a steward or contact us at 651-224-2639 and we would be more than happy to look it up for you. Do
NOT take management’s word as to how the bidding should work! All too often we see bargaining unit
employees misled as to the intent of the contractual language.
In Solidarity, Dave Cook, IRD
The following Constitutional change was read for the second time, and voted on,
at the November 24, 2015 General Membership Meeting.
Article 5, Section 2 states in part:
The scheduled General Membership meeting of the Local shall be held on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
During the months of January, May and October, the General Membership Meeting shall be called to order at 11:00 a.m.
and the remaining scheduled General Meetings shall be called to order at 6:45 p.m.
Proposed change: Shall be called
to order at 6:00 p.m.
Amendment: Change 6:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
*Therefore the General Membership Meetings for February, March, April, June, September and November shall
begin at 6:15 p.m.
on Track with Keeping on Track of Your time!
It is a brand new year. It’s time to keep track of your postal information. In
a previous article that Steward/Trustee Dianne Richardson wrote about keeping track of your leave whether it is annual or
sick leave with confirmation number. Also, it is a good idea to keep track of your overtime in a small
pocket calendar or phone. Kim RichardsonTour 1 Steward
So what is a Non-Traditional Full Time Duty Assignment (NTFT)? I have heard a lot of confusion
lately as to what a NTFT is and what rules do/don’t apply to them.
Simply put, a NTFT is a bid not a person as often stated.
A NTFT bid can range from 30-48 hours per week. Only career bargaining unit employees hired after
the signing of the 2010-2015 CBA can be forced into a NTFT bid of less than 40 hours/week. All career bargaining
unit employees on the rolls prior to the signing of the 2010-2015 are guaranteed (can’t be forced) a traditional bid
of no less than 40 hours per week. This is the main difference between a Traditional bid and NTFT bid.
The following are some guarantees for employees in NTFT bids.
-An employee in a NTFT bid is guaranteed the
hours and off days of the bid unless you are a NTFT Flex (Function 4). If you are a NTF Flex (Function
4) your hours & off days can be changed with a preceding Wednesday notification.
-An employee in a NTFT bid should not work
over the daily hours of their bid. If they do, a remedy of 50% more pay for all those hours over is required
per the NTFT MOU (ask for a steward).
-An employee in a NTFT bid’s lunch will be no longer than 1 hour, unless you are in a Level 20
office or below and it is operationally necessary.-An employee in a NTFT bid is guaranteed 8 hours of pay on an off day (overtime).
-All overtime regulations and rotations apply
to employees in NTFT bids. You cannot be forced in on full tour overtime every week simply because you
are in a NTFT bid. The ODL rotation must be utilized! -If there are NTFT bids in the bid cluster, Non-ODL employees (both
Traditional and Non-Traditional bids) can not be forced in on overtime. If this happens request a steward
and a grievance will be filed (50% more pay).
-The same holiday pecking order that applies to employees in Traditional bids applies to employees in
NTFT bids.So remember, if you
are in a NTFT bid you are a career employee.
Don’t let management or your coworkers take
advantage of you.
If you have questions ask for a steward.
reprinted from the January
reprinted from the October 2015 Postmark
Fall is once again upon us. I would like to remind the members
of some important dates.
CHOICE VACATION FOR JANUARY, FEBRUARY AND MARCH, 2016:
The following applies to career
employees in the St. Paul installation:
A. The choice vacation period shall begin with the new leave
year and end on the last Friday in November.
The new leave year for 2016 begins on January 9, 2016 and ends January 8, 2017.
For those of you interesting in taking “choice vacation” during the months of January, February, or March: Periods for requesting choice vacation time
for the months of January, February and March, will commence no later than November 1st of each year.
Employees must submit their Form 1547 to management no later than November 21st. Management will
complete and return Form 1547 to employees no later than November 30, 2015.
During the months of January, February and March, the annual leave quota is 10% per
section/unit. Please make sure the A/L quota is adjusted accordingly in your section. If you have any questions,
please request a steward.For career employees in Associate Offices, refer to your LMOU. Your specific rules may be different.
If you have any questions, please request to see a steward.
LEAVE CARRY OVER
The new leave year begins January 9, 2016.
You may carry over a maximum of 440 hours of annual leave into the new leave year. If you have more than 440 hours of
annual leave as of January 9, 2016, you will lose ALL annual leave hours in excess of 440. It is your responsibility to insure you
attempt to use your excess leave. Do not wait until December and expect management to grant you time off.
If you have in excess of 440 hours and are having problems getting annual leave approved, request to see a steward.
reprinted from the October
Have you done your homework on retiring?
It is something you should plan ahead.
Everything is handled by Human Resources
(HRSS) by phone (1-877-477-3273 menu option 5). Questions to ask when completing HRSS process:
Have I been credited with all my service?
How much money will I net (take home)?
Can I carry FEHB into my retirement?
What benefit can I provide for my spouse?
Can I carry FELGI into my retirement?
When to retire, what day of the month?
There are two retirement systems: CSRS and FERS.*MRA stands for Minimum Retirement Age.
FERS – (Hired
after January 1, 1984)This
plan has 3 components:
1. Basic Annuity (defined benefit),
2. Social Security (Supplement)
3. Thrift Savings (TSP).
Eligibility to Retire with FERS-MRA with 30 years of service. Age 60 with
at least 20 years of service. Age 62 with at least 5 years of service. MRA with 10 years
of service however there is a 5% penalty for each year under the age of 62.
Benefit Calculation-Earn 1% for each year of service if retiring BEFORE
the age of 62. Plus FERS supplement. 1.1% for each year of service if at least 20 years
of service and over age 62. Plus Social Security. This percentage is then multiplied
times your High 3 calculation.
TSP Allowance-USPS matches up to 5%. Same
Annual Maximums apply.
Spousal Benefits- A 25% benefit- reduces annuity by 5%. A 50% benefit – reduces
annuity by 10%.
Best day to Retire- Last day of the month.
CSRS Eligibility to Retire with CSRS-Age 55 with at least 30 years of service. Age 60
with at least 20 years of service. Age 62 with at least 5 years of service.
Calculation – Earn 1.5% for each of the first
5 years of service. Earn 1.75% for each of the next 5 years of service. Earn 2% for
each year after the first 10. This percentage is then multiplied times your High 3 calculation.
– no matching from USPS.
$18, 000 Max for 2015. “Catch up” for over 50 is $6,000 more for a total of $24,000.
Spousal Benefits – Any amount
may be selected as a “base”, reduction in annuity is a 2.5% of 1st 3,600 of base, plus 10% of the remainder of the base amount. Provides a benefit
of 55% of the base to the surviving spouse.
Best Day to Retire – End of the month, or no later than the 3rd of the month.
How can I tell what system I’m in? What’s on your check stub?There’s a little number next to
“retire” that indicates the following:
A “1” indicates CSRS, A “5” indicates CSRS
Offset and an “8” indicates FERS.
Also an “A” indicates the switch
to FERS. Another element in Retiring is:
Can I Afford to Retire?How does my current health impact my ability to continue working?How much money do I owe? (House, car, credit cards, etc.)
will I need?
much money will I get?
How much difference will ANY incentive (VER) really make to my finances?
After Retiring I plan to do:Traveling? How often? Hobbies? What will
they cost me?Part
time job? How much can I make a year?
Figure out some of the things you plan to do.
When trying to figure out when to retire
people often feel frightened, scared, stress, anxiety, etc. You are not alone. It is
a big life altering decision. Make sure you do your homework.
APWU represented employees
may use a total of up to three workdays of annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay LWOP to make arrangements necessitated
by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member.
Authorization of leave beyond three
workdays is subject to the conditions and requirements of Article 10 of the National Collective Bargaining agreement and the
ELM section 510 Documentation. Documentation evidencing the death of the employee’s family member is required
only when the supervisor deems documentation desirable for the protection of the interest of the Postal Service.
I feel is a great benefit to our members as I know when I was dealing with the death of my father, the last thing I wanted
to worry about was what kind of leave am I supposed to use or do I just get the day of the funeral. I simply made one call
and moved on with everything else I had to deal with.
Dependent Care leave
The ELM 513.12 defines it as: A limited amount of sick leave
may also be used to provide for the medical needs of a family member. Bargaining unit employees if provided in their national
agreements, are allowed to take up to 80 hours of their accrued sick leave per leave year to give care or otherwise attend
to a family member (as defined in 515.2) with an illness, injury, or other condition that, if an employee had such a condition,
would justify the use of sick leave.
If leave for dependent care is approved, but the employee has already used
the maximum 80 hours of sick leave allowable, the difference is charged to annual leave or to LWOP at the employee’s
option. (See 515 for information about FMLA entitlement to be absent from work.)Again another great benefit that we have that helps
Basically what it means is that you are allowed to use up to 80 hours of your sick leave to care
for or assist a family member with an illness or injury. As with all leave, if it is unscheduled it may be used in discipline
if you have too many incidents.
Report, reprinted from the September Postmark
Hello members, I hope you all had a great summer and were able to spend time with family and friends. It appears that management
once again has been instructed to curb leave usage, as evident by an increase in discipline for leave usage. In
many instances this corrective action is being taken by untrained 204-B’s who seem to have created their own set of
leave regulations. If management wants to speak with you about your leave, request a steward.
Let us help ensure your rights are not violated.
The last few months have brought more of the same for our members. Management continues
to make changes in staffing as a response to the changes in mailing standards. In the P&DC on the clerk
side, we are at an all time high of PSE’s in the operation. This is resulting in a steady flow of
PSE overtime violations (bypassing overtime list) and preferred duty assignment issues. With the lifting
of the withholding in the clerk craft, we are hoping to soon see PSE conversions to career status.
At stations and branches, the APWU continues to file never ending grievances on overtime
violations, supervisors performing bargaining unit work, missed breaks and PSE’s working beyond 8 hrs./day or 40 hrs./week.
Keep your statements coming! I would like to recognize the current and new station stewards who have been
doing an amazing job of representing our members at the stations; Jim Thompson, Tim Strong, John Chulla, Terri Griner and
Jason Stevens. Keep up the good work!
One last note, the Amazon Sunday Mail Pilot has made its way to the St Paul stations and
branches. The mail is being hubbed out of the following stations: Shoreview/Vadnais Heights, Woodbury,
Roseville and Eagan P.O. These stations are being staffed on Sunday’s with PSE’s, CCA’s and management.
We are trying to keep a close eye on this and will file grievances as violations are brought to our attention.
If you hear of issues with the Amazon pilot please give us a call and/or ask for a steward.
Dave Cook, IRD
Please check your pay stub every Pay Period. There have been many problems
with the pay checks of late.
1. Check for annual leave, sick leave and LWOP hours.
2. Check for overtime hours including penalty hours.
pay and/or Holiday/AL Leave Exchange (Lv Exch. on the 3971).
I sincerely recommend everyone
should keep a separate record of all hours worked or not worked on a calendar…i.e. Call in confirmation numbers too.
(A Separate Calendar Just for work Or put information on your phone) Dianne Richardson
from the June
Management is again issuing discipline to many of our brothers and sisters. I would like
to refresh your knowledge of your rights as a union member. Discipline starts with the Discussion – better known as the Official
Discussion.This is a discussion
between your supervisor and yourself. This discussion is held in private. You need to
make a note of this date, time and where it took place. I suggest getting a pocket calendar, just for postal
information. This calendar you may want to note any and all sick calls and confirmation numbers, annual
leave, choice vacation leave and all or any discipline. Do Not forget to note any weather situations, i.e. snow
days, tornadoes, car problems, house hold emergencies and medical situations (FLMA). First:
Ask, if this meeting will
result in any discipline action?
Second: Ask for representation, ask for a steward. Management must provide you a steward if Management tells
you this is Day In Court. If management does not offer you representation: it is a separate grievance –Denied
Representation. Remedy is a monetary amount.
Third: Discipline is invoked by management and the Union needs the 14
days to investigate the discipline. The time frame for all grievances is 14 days, I cannot stress this
enough and time starts the day you sign the Letter of Warning, 7 Day Suspension, 14 Day Suspension or Removal.
We, the stewards need time to process the grievance to keep it timely. We
need to ask management for information
about the purposed discipline action. Management can and will send you discipline in the mail.
The 14 days still applies here, so call the office or come to into the Union office.
Fourth,If a steward was not provided, notify a steward as soon as possible so the steward can start the case and negotiate
the time of your discipline. If it is not negotiated, it is on your employee file for 2 years.
We, your union stewards are here to represent you and will grieve the discipline so, it will not be on
your record for 2 years. WE will negotiate the grievance according to an existing FMLA,
medical issues or if there are other situations; and to a lesser amount of time the discipline is on the record.
Remember to ask for a
steward. This is your right as a Union Member.
Clerk Craft Trustee
PSE Salary Exceptions
For those of you who are not aware, APWU President Mark Dimondstein signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on April
3, 2015. The MOU deals with salary inequities directly related to PSE’s who have been granted salary
exceptions. In the St Paul Area Local, the only PSE’s who have been granted salary exceptions are
Tractor Trailer Operators (TTO’s) in the MVS Craft. This MOU is crucial as the pay issues that have
been created by the salary exceptions have been going on since 2012 within our local. PSE’s who have been hired with a salary exception,
cannot be paid less than that salary exception upon conversion to a career position (PSE MOU dated June 6, 2014).
The newly signed MOU states that PSEs will be placed at the salary step closest to, but not less than the
rate they were receiving as a PSE. This means that all of the TTO PSE’s in MVS should be placed at a Step 8 A ($22.40)
upon conversion to a career status. As a remedy, the parties agreed that all affected career employees
will receive $300 per month lump sum payments during the time period of July 1, 2014 through April 3, 2015, provided they
had been converted to career status prior to the above time period.Along with the pay inequities experienced by the newly converted PSE’s,
the PVS operation had career TTO’s whom were senior to those newly converted PSE’s and were making less per hour
than the junior TTO’s. This new MOU states these senior career TTO’s will now placed at the
salary step closest to, but not less than the rate the newly converted to career junior TTO PSE’s had been receiving
(Step 8 A $22.40). This is a great step in the right direction and will help resolve numerous grievances
that have been filed over the years on this issue. As a remedy, the parties agreed that all affected
career TTO’s will also receive $300 per month lump sum payments for the time period of July, 1 2014 through April 3,
2015, provided they had been converted to career status prior to the above time period.The St Paul Area Local has begun the process of identifying the TTO’s
whom were affected by the salary exceptions so the remedies can be disbursed. If you believe you were one
of the TTO’s affected, please contact a MVS Steward so we can insure you are not missed. Also, it
would be appreciated if those affected could provide a copy of their pay stubs from Jul 1, 2014 thru April 3, 2015.
If you do not have them you can obtain them by logging into: https://liteblue.usps.gov, find the e-payroll app in
the center of the page and print a copy of each pay stub during the above mentioned timeframe. This will aid in proving you
were an affected employee and speed up the payment process. Drop these copies off at the Union office with the MVS Craft Director. If
you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.
Industrial Relations Director
Well, hoping that
all of you who worked so many hours during the Christmas rush were able to relax during your holiday. It seems that we are
still so short at some of the stations that employees are still being forced to work overtime. Please remember to request
a steward so that we can file a grievance on your behalf.
On a very sad note we have lost a retired member and former clerk steward. Olga (Micki) Mersch passed away on 12/19/14,
when I first became a steward so many years ago, Micki was instrumental in helping me to learn the ropes, and she was a dedicated
steward for the APWU, deepest sympathy to her family.
Election time is soon approaching; Candidates for Office will be called for. There will
be changes to our current Executive Board as some of us are retiring or already done so. We will need some of our younger members to step up and really
consider becoming active in the fight to protect and preserve what has taken years to achieve for the membership. As Officers
and Stewards retire, with them goes years of history and knowledge that we must pass on.
Retirement:Q. Under what conditions may an employee retire optionally?
A. Age 62 with a minimum
of 5 years of service;
Age 60 with 20 years of service; or Age 55 with 30 years of service.
Q. Under what conditions may an employee retire for disability?
A. An employee must become
totally disabled for useful and efficient service in the position held and must have completed at least 5 years of civilian
Q. Who determines
whether an employee is totally disabled so as to qualify for an annuity?
A. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management makes the determination.
Q. Must application for
optional retirement be made before the employee is separated from the service?
A. No. However, it is advisable to apply about 6 weeks in advance
of the date scheduled for separation.
I am hoping that some of these Q and A’s that I write about regarding retirement help some of you,
I believe that many of our members struggle with the thought of filling out the paper work etc. any assistance you may need
please let me know, if I can’t answer the question I will find out who can.
Industrial Relations Director
Hello everyone, I hope you had a good Labor day. I had the pleasure and honor to help staff the "Stop
Staples booth" at the Minnesota state Fair this year. It was a great thing to see a combined union effort.
Branch 9 and many other Union brothers and sisters were there to spread the word to stop Staples!
Yours in solidarity
Jim Thompson APWU steward
Lauer, Industrial Relations Director
Well it’s been an interesting summer, we are finally as I write this article, in the process of converting
our first PSE’s to Career Employee. The positions are in the Clerk Craft, by the time you read this article several
PSE’s will have been converted, congratulations to all of you!Management is still working on the function 4 reviews for Customer Service and no doubt
there will be changes we don’t agree with. We will deal with those issues when we have an opportunity to review them.
It seems that we go through this process now once a year, I know this is difficult for all. We will continue to
fight on your behalf to maintain our positions at the stations and associate offices.We continue to review PSE hours for overtime violations and PSE’s
forced beyond the allowable 12 hour limit per day, I wish I could say this practice has gotten better but it has not.
Our step one settlements have not decreased.We have appealed a case to arbitration for assigning light or limited duty carriers to work at the stations
as Lobby Director or Assistant. It seems if a carrier gets injured or has restrictions, Management just decides it’s
okay to cross craft lines, and has them doing clerk work without negotiating with President Elkerton, as
required per the contract.
Always a good issue: Retirement
Todd has a tentative date to have a retirement seminar at the union office in Eagan. Judy
McCann will give the retirement session; she is one of our national representative’s that give this class. I have attended
this seminar given by Judy and she does a great job. When we get closer to that date more information will
be provided.As promised I will
end with a few retirement FAQs
How long does it take to withdraw money from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?
It may take up to eight weeks to process
a withdrawal after all properly completed withdrawal forms and separation data have been received by the TSP Service Office.
Further, the TSP Service Office cannot process a withdrawal election until they receive an Employee Data Record from your
payroll office indicating that you have separated. An unpaid TSP loan may delay disbursement of the TSP account balance.Health Insurance:
I am going to retire soon.
What are the requirements to continue health benefits into retirement?
To continue your health benefits enrollment into retirement, you must: (1) have
retired on an immediate annuity (that is, an annuity which begins to accrue no later than one month after the date of your
final separation); and (2) have been continuously enrolled (or covered as a family member) in any FEHB Program plan ( not
necessarily the same plan) for the five years of service immediately preceding retirement, or if less than five years, for
all service since your first opportunity to enroll.After I retire, can I enroll in a family plan or do I have to be enrolled in a self and family plan
for the five years before I retire in order to continue it into?No, you do not have to be enrolled in a family plan for the five years before you retire
to meet the five-year requirement. As a retiree, you can enroll in a family plan during the open season or when an event occurs
that permits a change to the family plan.
Traditional or Roth
Did you know that in 2012 they added an option to our Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) that we can choose from
traditional, Roth or both? A traditional plan is added pre taxes and a Roth is added after taxes have been withdrawn.
I myself have been going back and forth on which one should I choose or should I try a little of both. My first thought with
the Roth is you have already paid taxes on it so if you lose money, then not only did you lose money but you paid taxes on
money you lost.
Now on the other hand, the way I understand it is if you make money, when you withdraw at the
end you don’t pay taxes on the money you gained. As I was reading the information on the TSP.gov web page I became aware that you
cannot withdraw money from a Roth plan until 5 years after the inception date (the first day you started adding money to the
Roth account). With that said I made the decision to continue with the traditional plan and started adding a portion to the
At some point in the near future I will talk to a financial adviser, to see what the best direction
for my situation is. If you have been thinking about a Roth fund this information might help you also.
And last but not least, everyone
should be contributing a minimum of 5% to your TSP account. The Postal Service is matching dollar for dollar for the first
5% , there are not many investments that will get you 100% return on each dollar you contribute.
Hello Again Everyone
This will be my last article written for the next few months as the Postmark does
not come out in the months of July and August.
As promised I will touch on a few retirement issues.Requirements for Continuing Life Insurance
Coverage into Retirement:Your
Basic Life, Option A-Standard, Option B-Additional, and Option C- Family insurance coverage’s (depending on what coverage
you may have) are continued into retirement if:
You retired on an immediate annuity (one which began within a month after you separated), andYou were insured for the five years of service
immediately before your annuity commencing date or for the entire period(s) during which the coverage’s were available
to you, and you elected to continue
your coverage, and you did not
convert your life insurance to an individual policy.
Note that under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System, an immediate annuity
includes eligibility for an annuity if you separate at the minimum retirement age and have 10 years of service. If you meet
the requirements above, you may continue your life insurance as a retiree even if you choose to postpone receiving your annuity.
If you do choose to postpone receiving your annuity, your coverage stops until the date your annuity begins.The cost of your coverage will be deducted
from your annuity. Each option
for life insurance will continue to change as to cost dependent upon your age. For example under Option B- Additional Insurance,
when you elected coverage, could have selected as many as 5 multiples of your annual basic rate. At the age of 50 the cost
for this type of insurance will change and continue to change every 5 years after reaching age 50. The cost of Option B becomes
very costly and is something to look at as you get past age 50. Many employees, when considering retirement or who have reached
age 50, see what the premium costs outside of the Postal Service for personal life insurance are.
Many times you can find a policy that is cheaper if you are in good health than what is offered through
the P.O.There are so many issues
to consider prior to making the decision to retire and it is never to soon to educate yourself on retirement. Following are
a few places to look at that explain many of the issues to consider. On Liteblue a current employee may go to eRetire to watch
retirement videos that explain some of the process. Also available under eRetire are calculators to estimate your annuity.
While looking at Liteblue consider looking at the eOPF site to look at your file. Once retired you will not have
access to this file, and once hired many of us don’t look into what our files have in them.Maybe there is old discipline
that should not be there, maybe your beneficiaries have changed and you never changed it. Take the time to look into that
file. Most of the things I have learned over the years is just through reading what has been provide to me through Liteblue
,OPM, and the HRSSC websites.
Lastly I hope that everyone enjoys the summer months ahead, and will write again in September.
Cindy Lauer, Industrial Relations
It’s never too soon to start planning
for your future when it comes to retirement. I have been thinking about this from the day I started.
I would just like to touch on a few items that I think are of great importance.
Have you begun to save or carry over your annual leave?
Regular work force employees
may carry over 440 hours of accumulated annual leave.
Why should I save my leave?
That saved annual leave will be paid out on your last check from the Postal Service after retirement,
if you are under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). This will help financially until the Office
of Personnel Management (OPM) finalizes your case. For those employees under FERS, OPM handles your case
differently than those under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) which ended in December of 1983. The difference is
due to the fact that for those of us under FERS, part of our annuity comes from social security that we can’t access
until age 62.
the FERS annuity supplement?
FERS annuity benefits are designated to supplement Social Security retirement benefits. However, FERS annuitants are
not eligible to receive social security benefits until they reach 62. In order to compensate annuitants
who are less than 62 for their inability to collect social security benefits, the FERS Basic Benefit Plan provides a temporary
annuity supplement to FERS employees who retired with unreduced annuity benefits. When OPM is finalizing
your case under FERS it requires collecting information from social security to figure out the amount. Those
under the old retirement system (CSRS) receive approximately 80% of what their annuity will be on their first check and don’t
have to wait because they are not entitled to the special supplement.
How is the amount of FERS annuity supplement calculated?
The supplement is computed as if the retiring employee were age
62 and fully insured for a social security benefit when the supplement begins. By law, OPM first estimates
what the employee’s full career (40 years) social security benefit would be. Then OPM calculates
the amount of his or her civil service under FERS and reduces the estimated full career social security
accordingly. For example, if the employee’s estimated full career social security benefit would be
$1000.00 and he worked 30 years under FERS, OPM would divide 30 by 40 (.75) and multiply ($1000 x .75 = $750).
The result would be the employee’s supplement, prior to any deductions. The amount for each
individual will depend on what your individual social security earnings are. Also, with this supplement
would be the basic benefit plan and your thrift savings plan.
How is the amount of an employee’s FERS or CSRS annuity
depends on an employee’s length of service and his or her “high-3” average salary. My intent is to periodically give information on retirement. There are so many issues to
cover and to understand prior to taking that step and making sure that employees understand the process. Please
call or stop in at the union office if you have questions regarding the information or other questions.President Todd Elkerton is working to get a retirement class put
on locally through the National APWU.
The Fight Continues - from February 2014
Hello everyone! Well, how
time flies. It’s only January 2014 as I write this article and by the time you receive this article,
my 30 year anniversary will have come and gone. It truly is hard to believe how quickly time goes by.
I look at the seniority roster and see so many postal employees so close to retirement or past the eligibility date.
I am hoping that those of you who have a number of years before retirement will step up and get involved with the Union.
A number of our current officers are considering retirement in the next year or two. Now is the time that
we need those of you willing to help out to come forward, before those of us that plan to retire do so. With
the changes that occurred at the national level, and soon our local level, we would like to get members involved to continue
the fight when we are gone.
Finally, all those clerks that were part of the $89,500.00 settlement out
of Industrial Station have been paid! The battle was won, but the war continues. Grievances out of Industrial
are as high as ever, even with paying out 1.75% at the overtime rate for supervisors doing our work. I
guess we need to start requesting more money as a remedy, as there seems to be an open checkbook for management.Currently we are
attacking the 204b issue. We have been successful at winning those cases at step 3, however the remedy
has been to pay the section involved, and only the difference between a level 6 position and a level 7 position for all hours
the 204b’s have worked beyond the time provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We will
now seek a higher remedy as this too has not stopped management from violating the contract.The newly established 30 hour bids
(15) that were created went residual.
The membership has made it clear
that they want 40 hour jobs. Those bids will now be offered to unassigned regulars and then go out to eReassign.
Most likely they will get no takers as has been the case with a lot of our residual bids. I have
heard a lot of talk of converting PSE’s into regular, so my guess is that will occur in the near future and at that
point the new hires would be assigned into those residuals. All of those split day off positions at the
stations that were reposted have now been awarded and I’m happy to see that most of those clerks that were abolished
got their job back.
It seems just as we are starting to get close to resolving the case load at step 2, we
get pounded with several more grievances. Our stewards do a great job at step 1 with settling grievances, but it seems there
are always those grievances that are denied and sent to step 2. We have had success at step 2 in settling
cases, however, we still have a number of cases that go to step three, and each step requires more work and takes time.
Currently, Bruce Gutzke and I do the step 2s for all clerks including the plant, stations
and AO’s and we rely on both Todd Elkerton and Jerry Jacobson for assistance with denials, etc. There
is never a lack of work for anyone in this office. The phone rings pretty much most of the day or we are
on the phone settling cases, speaking with members, etc.
I am not complaining, rather trying to give a look into the day in the union office. With that I will
end this Article until next time as the phone is ringing again!
Industrial Relations Director.
FERS Accrued Unused Sick Leave now at 100%.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2010 allowed the use of accrued
unused sick leave hours to be added to total service in computing the retirement annuity of Federal Employees Retirement System
(FERS) employees. Now that we have passed December 31, 2013, 100 percent of FERS employees’ accrued unused sick leave
hours will be added in the computing of their retirement annuity. This new rule permits the counting of accrued unused sick leave only to calculate
a FERS employee’s annuity. Sick leave may not be counted in determining eligibility to retire. The final computation
will be made by the Office of Personnel Management.
Did you know that there are a lot of opportunities
to participate with the union without being a steward or officer? Listed below are just a few chances for those of you that
might want to get more involved.
Joint labor/management safety & health committee
- the Union has a representative that meets with management once a Month (usually the
2nd Tuesday) to discuss safety and health issues. This person also goes on safety walk through once a quarter at the Eagan
P&DC and the LDC (airport) to find and abate safety issues.
Social & Rec committee - the Union has a representative that
meets once a Month (usually the 3rd Thursday) to represent the APWU crafts on how the money will be spent that was collected
from the video games and other machines that are part of the program.
Ergonomic Risk Reduction Process or ERRP
- the Union has at least 2 representatives
on each tour that meets each week to discuss and come up with resolution to reduce Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) injuries.
General membership meetings – this is a great place to get involved, not only are you participating in the direction of
the Union by voting on resolutions, amendments, constitutional changes and how revenue collected from dues will be spent.
There are several opportunities that are brought forward at the meetings. Some are very easy and fun tasks like carrying the
APWU banner in parades, picketing at other union rallies in solidarity or during election season, working a phone bank, calling
other Union members to encourage them to vote for candidates that support the postal legislation that is in our favor.
Regional Labor Federation Delegate - Meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month. Delegates work with other AFL-CIO unions
on issues that affect all working families.
If any of these tasks or
position interest you please contact the president and if or when one becomes vacant he may contact you for a chance to fill
Tour 1 Union Steward