Worker’s Memorial Day

The following is a message from the APWU President and the Industrial Relations Director:

Pray for the Dead and Fight for the Living! Those words are attributed to the great labor organizer and activist, Mother Jones. On April 28, 2018, we will renew our fight for safe jobs in our workplaces.

April 28th of each year is known as Workers’ Memorial Day – a day to remember those who have lost their lives, suffered injuries, or occupational illnesses on the job. This is also the day that together we let the Post Office know we will Stand Up for Safe Jobs!

The Post Office is a dangerous place to work. Based just on the accidents and injuries reported, the Postal Service is the most dangerous government agency to work for (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). More of our sisters and brothers are injured at work than at nearly all other federal agencies combined.

Always be cognizant that you could be the next statistic for the Postal Service if you get hurt! You go to work to earn a living, not to get injured or die.

You have the right to a safe work place and to return home every day in one piece. We encourage you to enforce your safety rights through the Union by acting together with your co-workers, by filling out PS Form 1767s, filing grievances, signing petitions and speaking up! And avoid buying into management plans, like the “Safety Ambassador” program, which are set up to pit worker against worker and bypass your union and union involvement as the most effective path of addressing safety concerns.

Let’s not have another post office named after a worker killed on the job. Join your union brothers and sisters around the world on April 28, 2018 and Stand Up for Safe Jobs – a Right of Every Worker!

Vance Zimmerman, Industrial Relations Director

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Mark Dimondstein, President

American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

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Union Meeting February Minutes

The following is the recorded minutes of the February meeting.  Although we are posting them on the website, they have not been approved. Any corrections and approval will be done at the March 15 Union meeting.




Meeting called to order 6:23 pm.


MOTION: To change the order of business so the Executive Board could meet first to discuss the members who recently took Steward Training and who may be sworn in tonight.  The motion was 2nd and passed.


The candidates for stewards or alternate stewards were discussed and it was agreed by the Executive Board that the following candidates would be sworn in as new stewards or alternate stewards:


  1. Lori Faraone, PSE Clerk P&DC              4. Marcia Lovett, Clerk, P&DC
  2. Robert Bruegger, MVS                             5. Dawn Cuffee, MOS Clerk NWP&DC
  3. Joseph Morrill, PSE Clerk, Pittsford     6. Cherisa Sellers, Clerk, Westgate


President Stahl asked former Union President, James Bertolone, to do the honor of swearing in all the above.  They were all sworn in on 2/15/18 at 6:30 pm and will be certified by President Stahl.  Congratulations to all the above and we hope they have a long career with this Union.We then continued with the General Meeting. Due to last month’s low attendance we could not approve these at the last meeting.

MOTION: To accept November’s General meeting minutes, 2nd and approved.

There is no General meeting held in December.

MOTION: To accept January’s General Meeting minutes, 2nd and approved.

MOTION: To accept the November’s Treasurer’s Report, 2nd and approved.

MOTION: To accept the December’s Treasurer’s Report, 2nd and approved.

P&DC Maintenance:  Anne Messina not at meeting—Kathleen Wilson reported that Maintenance is busy getting ready for DBCS machines to be moved again—Machines 12 and 13 will be flipped this weekend.  It is going to be a tight fit until they make further moves the following week so please be aware due to safety concerns.  Machines 8 and 14 will be flipped the following week.  Watch out for changing of the aisles.  There has been a problem with the snowplowing—the custodians who are trained in snowplowing are supposed to get the snowplowing duties first then the MM 7’s this has been an ongoing problem and has been grieved.  Stewards, Kathleen Wilson and Rachelle Trudel have been working with President Stahl on getting the clerks in the AO’s the custodial hours.  Right now many AO’s use contract workers and this work belongs to the clerk craft in the small AO’s.  The custodial hours are supposed to be added to their hours.  Some clerks have been performing the custodial duties in between customers, which they are not supposed to do.  They are supposed to add hours to their schedule so they can do the custodial duties before or after their clerk duties.  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is short at the P&DC—new mechanics and ET’s don’t even have any yet.  They are supposed to wear this equipment while working on the machines.  Chief Steward Messina had a meeting with Maintenance Management to try and get this problem solved ASAP.  Laura Chiccino has been promoted to Manager, Maintenance Engineering.    

NW Maintenance: Kevin Dyson is out as Maintenance Manager and Jason Holve is filling in until a new Manager is put in that position. Jason Holve has settled a number of grievances including the safety issues that were happening at the NW P&DC.

Motor Vehicle:  Dale Michael has stepped down as the steward in the Motor Vehicle craft.  PSEs have been converted to PTFs.  Have not heard anything recently about the new truck runs that we won back in arbitration.  With the conversion of PTFs—maybe we will see some of the truck runs back.

Customer Service:   No one available from Customer Service, Chief Steward Cheryl Goggins is out for surgery.

P&DC Plant:  We have had grievances for No Steward item time, Holiday Postings, Managers not bargaining in good faith, PSEs in lieu of ODL, Crossing Crafts and Bargaining Unit Work.  Concerning the Crossing Craft grievances—Mailhandler Vice President, Greg Hubbard, signed off that the separation of 5 digit parcels is clerk work.  So those grievances should be settled.  There is a big problem with bosses working on Tour I; SDO Marcus Forsett does not even dress up anymore because he says he knows he will have to do some work during the night.  The PSEs on Tour I need to write statements and let us know when they see the bosses working.  There are very few regular clerks on Tour I.  PSEs cannot get “in trouble” for writing statements and it helps the Union to try and get more clerk positions so we can get these PSEs converted to full time status.  Requests for Information are not being filled in a time manner; therefore, many of the Step II meetings have to be proposed or the grievances put on hold until the information is received.  Pre-disciplinary interviews are being performed every time someone reports an accident on Tour III.  This is against the law and we are trying to get this stopped.  Empty equipment is everywhere—management is working with a trucking contractor to get the empty equipment out of the building—Lou Brugnoni commented on what a mess the empty equipment is in the garage.

NW P&DC Plant: Zach reported that he is caught up with the Step II grievances at the NW P&DC. He is also having problems getting information—The Requests for Information are not being filled by management in a timely manner.

Legislative: The Postal Reform Act of 2017 is stalled in Congress—nothing new to report on that. Jim Maxwell announced he would be running in Louise Slaughter’s district for Congress as the Republican candidate—no word from Louise yet as to whether she will run again—we all hope so for the good of Labor.  She has been an outstanding Congresswoman—no one better!!

Safety:  Was included in the other reports concerning empty equipment piled up at the P&DC and moving of aisles as maintenance moves DBCSs around. Everyone work safely and watch where you are going.

Vice President’s Report:  Once again Zach reported that the Step II’s at the NW P&DC are mostly caught up.  He has one 14 Day Suspension grievance pending.  There is a problem getting information when requested on the Request for Information forms.  Zach has been working on PTF maximization at AO’s.  If PTFs are working 40 hours or more on a continually basis—we may be able to get them converted to full time status.  AO’s clerks need to inform us if this is happening in your office.  Let us know.  Also, for everyone, please keep writing statements if you see crossing craft violations or bosses working (bargaining unit work grievances)—it may be your job you save.  We must have when the bosses worked, for how long and what craft jobs they performed.  We can only take care of problems or get members more hours or get them converted, if we know about it especially in the Station/Branches and AOS.  You are the Union’s eyes and ears.  Please keep us informed.

President’s Report:  We had no quorum last meeting—could not conduct any business—we need members to show up. There have been issues at Westgate Station—one PSE resigned.  Station Manager, Ryan Williams, hard to deal with.  The CCA’s at Westgate are coming in to throw parcels—our newly certified steward, Cherisa Sellers, who works at the Westgate Station reported that the CCA’s come in early to do clerk work.  Also management is telling the clerks at Westgate that they will not get paid for  grieving the CCA’s crossing crafts.  President Stahl reported that those grievances will be settled for pay.  President Stahl has been meeting with Ron Coon about the AO custodial duties—POOM Coon is settling the custodial grievances that when added to the clerk hours, the clerk does not go over 40 hours.  The contract says that clerks can be given the custodial hours even if the bid ends up being over 40 hours a week.  Piffard and West Henrietta have that problem so they were not settled.  However, grievances settled for Union Hall/Wyoming were settled over 40 hours but the hours were never given to the clerks—President Stahl is working to get that corrected immediately.  There have been 2 steward’s training classes, one in January and one in February.  Listed above are the 6 stewards sworn in and will be certified. Question about split shifts in Function 4 offices: one clerk is being retaliated against by the Postmaster. The Postmaster gave her a schedule where she has 2 splits a day—this is allowed by the contract but President Stahl will speak with POOM Ron Coon as he is reasonable to deal with to try and straight out this situation.

Good and Welfare:  Jack Rosenstein notified everyone at the meeting that his W-2 for 2017 said North Carolina (NC) on the form as his address instead of New York (NY). He wanted to make everyone aware.


$595.77 for purchase and printing of Christmas cards, 2nd and approved.

$180.00 to purchase up to 4 tickets for the AFL-CIO Labor Recognition Dinner, 2nd and approved.

$200.00 to purchase up to 4 tickets for Tom Gillett’s Retirement Party, 2nd and approved.

In April 2017 there was a motion made to get rid of 4 old computers and 1 old printer—and $1500.00 approved to purchase 3 new computers and 2 new printers.  President Stahl purchased 2 printers but had not yet purchased 3 computers.  When he was looking over the minutes to the April 2017 because he was going to purchase the computers he noticed that the minutes were not correct.  SO: A MOTION was made to correct the minutes of the April 2017 minutes to state that we were going to get rid of 4 computers and 1 printer and purchase 3 computers and 2 printers for $1500.00.  This motion was 2nd and approved.

Another MOTION was that after President Stahl used $500.00 to already purchase the printers and decided he needed $2000.00 all together to purchase the 3 additional computers, so the MOTION was for an additional $500.00 on top of the already approved $1500.00 to purchase the 3 computers and 2 printers, this motion was 2nd and approved.

Motion to Adjourn—7:20 pm, 2nd and approved. 

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Union Meeting Tonight & Rochester KnightHawks Union Night February 17th

Union meeting tonight at 6:00 P.M at the IBEW hall on East River Road.

Additionally, the following was sent to me from the Rochester KnightHawks:

Attention Knighthawks Fans!!

The Rochester Knighthawks are having their annual Union night! This year the night will be on February 17th.
Come out and watch the Knighthawks take on the Saskatchewan Rush!
Purchase your ticket at 40% off normal value, and it comes with a rally towell!  Order your tickets through the link below
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Message for High Option APWU Health Plan Members

Message from the APWU Health Plan Director

John L. Marcotte

In our constant efforts to improve our members’ customer service, the APWU Health Plan is issuing new identification cards for High Option Members. The APWU Health Plan has mailed new identification cards to its High Option members. Members of the High Option should have these new cards in their possession already. The cards go into effect on January 01, 2018.

These cards have new ID numbers that will help us better serve our members. The Health Plan recommends that members destroy their old cards. In 2018, members should present their new High Option ID card at the doctor, pharmacy, hospital, or other medical provider when they receive health care, even if the member has visited the medical provider or pharmacy before. This will allow the medical provider to bill the APWU Health plan directly for services without any delay.

These cards are part of an extensive effort to update our software system and improve our service to Health Plan Members. Questions about the cards or the APWU Health Plan can be directed to our Membership Services staff at 1-800-222-APWU (2798).

We at the APWUHP Health Plan wish all of you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year. Together Better Health.

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Labor Day Parade

The Labor Day parade is this coming Monday, September 4th and starts at 11:00 A.M.  APWU Local 215 will line up on North Union St between East Ave and Charlotte.  Members should come and meet at the NYSUT building as early as possible, definitely no later than 10:30, to get a free T-Shirt and March with us in the Parade. Bring the family!!

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Some Videos From President of NY Metro Area Local APWU

The President of the NY Metro area local has published some informational videos that are quite informative. I think everyone should view them, so I am posting links to them here.

Reversions – President Jonathon Smith

Reversion # 2 – Smith & Foster

Reversion # 2, part 2 – Smith & Foster

Smith Accepts Challenge



In Solidarity,

Rob Stahl


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Uniform Allowance for Clerks in POStPlan Offices

On June 14th, the USPS and the APWU resolved a step 4 dispute regarding career Clerk Craft employees that are working in POStPlan offices. Both parties agreed that these Clerks are considered eligible for the uniform allowance program as long as the following requirements are met:

  1. The official assignment at a retail counter is for a minimum of 4 hours daily for 5 days a week on a continuing basis, or;
  2. For a minimum of 30 hours a week.

Previously, Clerk Craft employees working in POStPlan offices were denied a uniform allowance, simply because they were working in a POStPlan office.   (Ridiculous)

The dispute was initiated by the APWU, and the agreement was made that, yes, Career Clerks in these smaller offices that work on the window, in front of the public, should be afforded a uniform allowance. (Imagine that).

The parties also agreed that PSE employees converted to career, that are not required to serve a 90 day probationary period (because they already served at least one 360 day term as a PSE) will not be required to wait 90 days to be eligible for the uniform allowance.

This is relatively new, so if you know career clerks in POStPlan offices that have not yet received their uniform allowance, help them out and let them know they are now entitled to one. If there are any questions or issues, they can be easily resolved by calling the Union Office. The Postmaster themselves may be unaware of the change.

In Solidarity,

Rob Stahl

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Can non-odl employees work OT before the ODL gets 12 hours?

The following is a copy of a letter I sent to a member. It is in response to the question of whether it is a grievance when non-odl employees are allowed/mandated overtime alongside odl employees, before the odl employees have been offered 12 hours. I thought it was worthy of posting on here for everyone to read, so I want to thank the employee for giving me permission to post it.

Click for Relevant Contract Language: Article 8 NA and JCIM

Click to download the: Mittenthal Arbitration

I have attached the relevant contract language from the National Agreement, as well as the relevant language from the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM), and a copy of an arbitration settlement on the issue, arbitrated by Arbitrator Mittenthal, dated January 14,1991.  As you may or may not know, National Arbitrations such as this one are agreed by both parties to be a binding resolution to the issue being arbitrated. As such, this is the interpretation of the contract language in question, that both sides must look to when there is a dispute. The APWU lost this case, with the Arbitrator siding with management, that there are occasions, other than time critical dispatches, etc where management MAY utilize both non-odl & ODL employees simultaneously on overtime, but they have to have a legitimate operational reason.

In our particular case,  whether management can utilize people that are not on the ODL, I will try to explain. When there are people that have not yet worked 12 hours that ARE on the ODL, they can use the people that are not on the ODL alongside the people that ARE on the ODL when the work being performed is time sensitive and could not be done, in time, utilizing solely the people that are on the ODL. This means that if they need to use the non-odl people AND the ODL people, to get the mail out in time for Dispatch at, say, 1 A.M., then it would be ok for management to require the ODL people & the non-odl to work overtime from 10PM til 12PM. Makes sense, right? Keeping the ODL people until 2 A.M. doesn’t help the 1 A.M. dispatch. Therefore, there is no violation of our contract. However, if management keeps the same people at the same times for the same reason, but dispatch is not until 6.A.M., then this IS a violation, because clearly keeping the ODL people until 2. A.M. would have left management with plenty of time to meet dispatch. Now we just have to meet our burden of proof.

Meeting the burden of proof is the key. When there is a contractual violation, the burden of proof is on the Union to demonstrate that what management did or did not do was indeed a violation. Only in the case of discipline is the burden on management to prove the discipline was for just cause. So the Union has to make the case that management violated the contract, and we have to be able to provide the evidence to convince a neutral party (Ultimately an Arbitrator) that management did commit a violation.

Many times there is a violation, but we don’t have the evidence to prove our case. One example is when management uses the non-odl people alongside the ODL people. We get a couple of statements from a couple of the ODL people and a couple statements from the non-odl people. They all say the same thing. Management used the ODL people and didn’t keep the ODL people 12 hours. As the Mittenthal Arbitration attached points out, there are situations when this is not a violation. So if that is all that is in the statements, and the burden of proof is on us, then management can merely submit at the step-2 meeting that time was of the essence. Management could claim whatever they want, and if we don’t have the evidence to prove otherwise, then it is basically a he said/she said scenario. With the burden of proof on us, and not management, then management wins. Appealing this case higher than step 2 would be a waste of time, Union resources, and would make it appear that we are bargaining in bad faith. Both parties are obligated to bargain in good faith. Failure to do so adds doubt and skepticism into all future grievances, increasing the burden on us in subsequent cases.

So in EVERY case we need to prepare to face management’s position. Here is what needs to happen, in the case we are discussing. As soon as the ODL or non-odl person finds out the above violation is occurring, they need to ask to see a steward, and ASAP, and let the supervisor know why they need them. The supervisor has the right to know, and the employee should tell them that the reason is because they believe that management should be utilizing 12 hour ODL people for 12 hours before keeping non-odl people 10 hours. Whatever the supervisor says, the employee should then write down. It doesn’t have to be immediately, but as soon as possible, and definitely in a statement to provide to a steward. Management normally has to provide a steward within 2 hours, and if they really are trying to meet dispatch, they definitely will make you wait. In the best case scenario, the supervisor would have realized their mistake, and let the non-odl people go home and kept the 12 hr. ODL people for the full 12 hours. That, we know, rarely happens. However, by approaching the supervisor and letting them know, it does give them a chance to fix their mistake. That is why addressing your supervisor is the first step in the grievance procedure, stated clearly in article 15 of the contract. Hopefully there is a steward on duty, or else you may have to wait, sometimes until the next day. This is a problem we face by not having enough people willing to step up and be stewards or alternate stewards. That problem is US, and there are times we lose cases, or never even get them grieved, simply because we don’t have enough members willing to step up and become a steward or alternate. This is as frustrating to the stewards and officers of our local, as it is for the members that feel they are not being represented as well as they should be.

Once management has provided a steward for you, then the supervisor should allow you to go off the workroom floor to discuss the issue. The grievant should let the steward know the issue, and then the grievant should go back to work, and the steward should go see the supervisor to either ask them the reasons for the contract violation, or else set up an appointment when they can discuss it. The steward needs to do this (as soon as possible) so that we have more evidence showing the reason management used for keeping non-odl employees late. It may also be that the supervisor’s reason is a valid one, in which case the steward can let the grievant know. Either way, the steward needs to find out what management’s position is on the issue; whether there was a dispatch time or some other time-necessary reason for the violation. Whatever the steward finds out, they should then be able to go back and discuss with the grievant. At this point, whether the steward recommends it or not, if the employee wants to grieve it, the grievant needs to tell their supervisor that they need time with the steward to write a statement regarding the grievance. The supervisor then has to give the person time, with a steward, to go off the floor and write their statement. As many people as were affected need to do the same, and write complete, factual statements, with as much detail as possible. We are afforded time on the clock to do this, so there is no reason for this to be an issue. Unfortunately, in many cases our own members do not want to be bothered. Employees need to be encouraged to write these statements because every statement helps us to prove our case. Additionally, if management has to lose 10 people for 15 minutes each, every time they violate our contract, then that helps to persuade management to stop violating our contract.

Once the statements are written, then the steward can gather other evidence such as Overtime Desired Lists, employee clock rings, Dispatch times, notes on what the supervisor claimed at the time, copy of the LMOU, copies of language from the Contract and JCIM, as well as any supporting arbitrations or step 4 settlements, etc.. This all will help us to prove that whatever management did was indeed a violation. We should be able to end up with enough evidence to prove that management did in fact violate the terms and conditions of the National Agreement, JCIM or our Local Memorandum Of Understanding (LMOU). With the right evidence, it’s possible that the supervisor will settle at step 1 and the case will be closed. Sometimes the supervisor will settle without much of the evidence at all, simply because they know the violation occurred and it saves themselves time, and the Postal Service money, because the employees and the stewards won’t need as much time off the work room floor. Other times, supervisors will not settle, and will just hope the employees and stewards will not take the time and make the effort to properly produce the evidence needed to prove their case.         This is why COMPLETE statements are so important. Who did what? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why is it a violation? What remedy do you seek? This all, in detail, needs to be in every statement.

I want to mention a couple things. When an employee requests a steward, it is management’s responsibility to provide the steward. It is not up to the employee to go find one. If management says you can go find one, don’t let them get away with that. Let them know that you want to see a steward and that it is their obligation to get one and provide one. Keep track of when you ask. If you haven’t received one in 2 hours, ask again. It may be necessary to ask several times. In any case, document it. If a supervisor fails to provide a steward timely, that itself is a violation and needs to be the subject of another grievance. Once again it is on the employee to request the time with the steward and write the complete statement regarding the failure of management to provide a steward timely. If the steward is not provided timely, and/or the grievant is not provided time on the clock to write a statement, then the grievant needs to write the statement at home, or otherwise “off the clock”, with the reason they are writing the statement off the clock included in the statement. Part of the remedy they are requesting should be to pay them at the overtime rate for the amount of time they took to write the statement. We can’t let management get away with this stuff. We need to force management to recognize and adhere to our Contract, JCIM and LMOU.

I hope this answered your question. In summary, sometimes it is a violation and sometimes it is not. I am betting that more often than not, they ARE violating our contract. Unless you know for certain that what they are doing IS allowed, I would suggest that you go through the steps mentioned above and initiate a grievance.

In solidarity,

Robert Stahl

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Jim Bertolone Retirement Party

This flyer can be downloaded and printed by clicking on Party4Jim

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APWU Health Plan Info

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