St Paul, MN APWU

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IRD Report

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.   

 Your Union 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. 


Dianne  Richardson

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 expected. 

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,


Jim Thompson

Trustee Chair


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 You! 
I would like to congratulate Jerry Jacobson on his retirement!!

Shelley R. Fleming


From the April Postmark, 

 IRD Report

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.

We are Union Strong. 

Thank you to the members who voted in this election.


Dianne Richardson

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 does.

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.
   Choice Vacation 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

  Bruce Gutzke
Clerk Craft Director
St. Paul APWU
Eagan, MN 55121
651-291-8886 (fax)


From the March 2017 Postmark 


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 leave slip)

-Make a copy of all documents submitted to management (3971, 1260) for your own records

-Ask for a steward if you think there are any issues with your pay

In Solidarity,

Dave Cook






For 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 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.

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.

In Solidarity,

Dave Cook, IRD




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  


Jim Thompson  


 from the January 2017 Postmark


Obey Now, Grieve Later

Submitted by Willie Mellen, NBA Clerk Division


"Under 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."

The 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 that.

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 Safety 


As 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.

Dave Cook

Industrial Relations Director




 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.



 When 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 a problem.


Kim Richardson

Tour 1 Steward

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from the May 2016 Postmark

Whose Job Is It   Anyways?

            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!

Dave Cook

Industrial Relations Director

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APWU Website

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. 

Annual Leave 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 leave year. 

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. 

Dianne Richardson

Clerk Craft Trustee, Steward for Plant and Stations.

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  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 

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  • 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?

  • Are 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?

  • Are 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?

  • Are 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 little 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!!

Jason Stevens

APWU Trustee Chair

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 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 up. 

Bruce Gutzke, Clerk Craft Director

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  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.

With 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!

In solidarity,

Dave Cook, IRD  

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 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." 


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.






Dianne Richardson, Clerk Craft Trustee

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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 1
st 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 22
nd 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.

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  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


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Constitution Change Passed 

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.

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Get 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

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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.

Dave Cook

reprinted from the January 2016 Postmark

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reprinted from the October 2015 Postmark

 Fall is once again upon us.  I would like to remind the members of some important dates. 


       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. 


   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.

In Solidarity,

Dave Cook, IRD 

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reprinted from the October Postmark

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) and
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. 
Benefit 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. 
TSP Allowance – 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.)
How much will I need?
How 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.  

Kim Richardson
T-1 Steward 

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Berevement Leave

  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.

This 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 our members.

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. 

 Jason Stevens
Trustee Chair 

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Industrial Relations 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. 

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.

  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.

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. 

In Solidarity,

Dave Cook, IRD


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   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. 
3.  Holiday 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   

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from the June 2015 Postmark

 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.

Dianne Richardson

Clerk Craft Trustee


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 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:,  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.

In Solidarity,
Dave Cook
Industrial Relations Director 

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  Hello Everyone 

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 service.

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.

Cynthia Lauer
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. 

Minneapolis APWU, 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

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  Hello Everyone
Cindy 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. 

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  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 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 Roth plan.

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.

Jason Stevens

Trustee Chair


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  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 Director

  Thinking about Retirement?

 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. 

What is 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 determined?

The amount 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. 

Cynthia Lauer

Industrial Relations Director 

  The Fight Continues              - from February 2014 Postmark

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.

Please know 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! 

Cynthia Lauer

Industrial Relations Director.

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  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. 

Jason Stevens 

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Help Wanted!

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 a position.  

Jason Stevens

Tour 1 Union Steward


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