The APWU 480-481 Area Local Banner

If I were a worker in a factory, the first thing I would do would be to join a union. - President Franklin D. Roosevelt

There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that is waging war, and we're winning. - Warren Buffett, Billionaire


Join Our Email List

Postal Links

Forms

Activity Photos

Retiree Chapter News


Officer's Pages

Roscoe Woods
  President

Steve Wood
  Executive V.P.

Gary Thomas
  Vice President

Kevin Osak
  Clerk Craft Director

Joe Wrobel
  Motor Vehicle Craft Director

Mike Gordon
  Maintenance Craft Director

Joe Gordon
  Secretary-Treasurer

Paul Felton
  Editor

John P. Smeekens
  Veterans Director

Lucy Morton
  OWCP Director

Dan Liebold
  Human Relations Director

Tracey Kolossa
  Legislative Director


MBC
  Membership Benefit Committee

Public Rallies
  Upcoming Events

Mutual Exchanges
  Job Swap Offers


Union Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 12th at 2:00 PM.

The meeting will be held at the American Legion Hall, 2079 12 Mile Rd, Berkley MI. 48072.


APWU, USPS Reach Agreement
On Filling Residual Vacancies

Hello Everyone!!

I am off to the National Presidents Conference in Plymouth Mass. today and its coming at a great time. We had a brief teleconference on the new MOU Tuesday but it barely scratched the surface.

I hope that in the next three days I am able to get a firmer grasp on how this MOU is to be implemented so I can come home and get the other officers in the loop.

I have requested that once the USPS prepares to move forward they have a District Level Labor Management Meeting and brief the local Union officials so we can avoid any problems and get the PTF’s and then hopefully the PSE’s into the residual vacancies as smoothly as possible.

In addition I have worked with Chief Steward Eric Neal and set up a meeting at the Metroplex on April 8th, 2014 to go over and review every residual at the Metroplex to be sure we identify each job and then get them filled in accordance with the MOU.

Similar efforts are being made in the Associate Offices and CFS at the Metroplex.

I will note with some pride that we have already been communicating with PTF‘s in small offices for over a year or so now in an efforts to get them converted into residuals through eReassign. We have been very successful and quite a few PTF’s now are full time regulars because of our efforts.

It is my understanding that when the MOU mentions a “District Wide” posting for PTF’s that eReassign will be the method used. So to all you PTF’s out there, if you have not yet familiarized yourself with eReassign, now would be a great time to do so! Instructions on how to apply to the Metroplex/Royal Oak Bid Cluster are found on my page.

Lastly before I hit the road I want to throw out kudos to the HQ folks in the APWU for getting this signed and getting a light at the end of the tunnel for our PSE’s and one item of note, the changes to the Maintenance and MVS portions are permanent changes. So review them and get to know them because they do not expire in October 2014.

I will report on what I learned at the April 13th, 2014 General Membership Meeting so please come on out and get in the loop.

In Solidarity,

Roscoe Woods - President


APWU, USPS Reach Agreement On Filling Residual Vacancies
Settlement Will Result in PSE, PTF Conversions

APWU News Bulletin 04-2014, March 24, 2014 | PDF

An important March 20 agreement between the APWU and USPS outlines a procedure for filling residual vacancies in the Clerk, Maintenance and MotorVehicle Crafts, and will result in the conversion of Postal Support Employees to career status and the conversion of Part-Time Flexible Clerks to full-time, APWU President Mark Dimondstein has announced.

‘Establishing a fair procedure for converting Clerk Craft PSEs to career is a major accomplishment.’

– President Mark Dimondstein

“Establishing a fair procedure for converting Clerk Craft PSEs to career is a major accomplishment,” he said. “In addition, the settlement protects the contractual rights of career employees, ensuring that workers who were excessed are given the right to retreat into residual assignments, where they are eligible. It also will give mobility to unassigned full-time employees and to part-time flexibles who are converted,” he said.

The precise number of conversions that will take place as a result of the agreement is not yet known because it depends on the number of residual vacancies and other factors, Dimondstein said.

The agreement stipulates, however, that residual assignments that were related to the Area Mail Processing (consolidation) excessing and have been released from withholding will be considered “viable” and will be filled without being subject to additional review.

The agreement, as it relates to the Clerk Craft, will remain in effect until Oct. 31, 2014, and may be extended by mutual agreement. It establishes the “pecking order” below for filling residual assignments in the Clerk Craft. Procedures for implementation also are enumerated.

  1. Unencumbered clerks in the same installation;
  2. Employees with Clerk Craft retreat rights;
  3. Full-Time Regular Clerks from an installation impacted by excessing who request transfers within the district or a 100-mile radius through eReassign 21-Day Posting;
  4. Conversion of Part-Time Flexible Clerks in the installation;
  5. Full-Time Regular Clerks impacted by excessing who request voluntary transfers beyond the district or a 100-mile radius through regular eReassign;
  6. One-time posting of remaining residual assignments to PTF Clerks in other installations in the district who are on the rolls as of March 20;
  7. Priority consideration transfers through eReassign from other APWU crafts and regular transfers through eReassign from all crafts, and
  8. Conversion of Clerk Craft PSEs to career status within the installation.

In the Maintenance Craft, duty assignments will be filled in accordance with Article 38.3, 38.4, 38.5 and the Order for Filling Vacant Maintenance Positions in the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (p. 280). After applying Item 7.a (Maintenance transfers), custodial duty assignments will be filled by offering conversion to PSE custodians. The APWU and USPS will address procedures concerning PSE conversion in the Maintenance Craft in a separate memorandum.

In the Motor Vehicle Craft, residual duty assignments will be filled by applying Articles 39.1.B.6, 39.1.B.7 and 39.2.A.11. Residual vacancies will be filled in accordance with these articles by converting PSEs working in the same position as the residual vacancies (i.e., Mechanic, Technician, Tractor-Trailer Operator or Motor Vehicle Operator) in the same installation.

The agreement was negotiated by Dimondstein and the USPS vice president of Labor Relations.

“Hammering out this important agreement was an arduous process, and it required a collective effort by many APWU officers, including Director of Industrial Relations Tony McKinnon Sr., Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson and Assistant Directors Lamont Brooks and Lynn Pallas-Barber, Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer, Motor Vehicle Craft Director Michael Foster and other national officers,” Dimondstein said. “I commend them for their assistance, insight and cooperative spirit.

“I encourage locals to immediately review the records of all residual and withheld vacancies and ensure that local management adheres to the agreement,” he said. For more information, visit www.apwu.org.

[top]


Are Unions Necessary?

By Michael Hiltzik
February 27, 2014 | 10:34 a.m.

Short answer: Yes.

The question is posed by an exchange launched by Evan Soltas at Bloomberg View, and answered by Michael Wasser of the workers rights organization Jobs for Justice. Soltas has defended himself against Wasser's response, so this could go on for a while.

The discussion was inspired by the recent defeat of a United Auto Workers drive at the Chattanooga, Tenn., plant of Volkswagen, which we discuss here. The case has inspired lots of commentary about the long-term decline of industrial unions in the U.S. and the role of that trend in the increasing of income inequality. The two trends coincide, so there really is no question that the decline of workers' voice and worker rights resulting from the decline of unions has played an important role in the rising power of the shareholding and managerial class.

One hates to say of a writer as fluent as Soltas that his analysis lacks the depth that would come from experience, but Wasser is certainly correct in arguing that Soltas' argument that the U.S. is better off without unions and "unions can't be saved" reflects the limitations of textbook-learning. A few specific issues:

To think that federal labor law has had "little to do" with union decline, as Soltas puts it, is hopelessly naive. He's misled by the fact that union membership has fallen even though we have laws guaranteeing the right to collective bargaining, and by the failure to recognize how inadequately those laws are enforced.

"Soltas doesn’t even consider the ramifications of broken labor law," Wasser observes, and he's right. "Without any real penalties to fear, employers have an economic incentive to violate federal labor law. Research shows that indeed they regularly do, using a variety of often unlawful tactics to coerce and intimidate workers during union organizing campaigns."

When the employers don't do so, political representatives of the capital-holding class will, as was seen in Chattanooga, where politicians used the threat of the withdrawal of government subsidies, and the impact that would have on the workforce, as a weapon against the union.

Over the years, employers have developed an exquisite arsenal against union organizing. For a succinct description of how the war is waged, Soltas needs to examine "Confessions of a Union Buster," the heartfelt memoir Martin Jay Levitt published in 1993.

"I come from a very dirty business," Levitt told a carpenters union audience (after his conversion). As he described it, "the enemy was the collective spirit. I got hold of that spirit while it was still a seedling; I poisoned it, choked it, bludgeoned it if I had to, anything to be sure it would never blossom into a united work force, the dreaded foe of any corporate tyrant."

One simply can't explain the decline of union representation without acknowledging the role of employer opposition and its empowerment by government policy, as outlined in this 2009 report from the Economic Policy Institute. The government role includes not merely the behavior of the Tennessee GOP, but "right to work" laws, and the enfeeblement of the National Labor Relations Board and its intimidation by members of Congress.

It's also important to understand two additional factors that make union organizing difficult, and which can't be absorbed from college textbooks or academic papers: fear and complacency. Fear reigns during periods of slack employment and job growth, when workers perceive that the surfeit of replacement labor makes it costless for employers to sack them for any reason at all, including labor organizing. Lax enforcement of labor law plays into this in a big way.

Complacency reigns during periods of tight labor supply and prosperity, when the workforce figures, why siphon off part of my paycheck in union dues, since I'm already well-paid and reasonably secure? To a certain extent this was a factor in Chattanooga, where workers considered themselves well-paid and well-treated, and therefore couldn't fully comprehend what more union membership would get them.

Fear has been the dominant factor over the last decade or so of economic underperformance, but they're both obstacles to union growth.

Yet we must ask why employers would so assiduously fight unions if not for fear of their effectiveness? Soltas' take on the union's role in the workplace is by far the most naive element of his original piece. He cites a judgment by two academic economists that unions balance power between employers and workers, and that this role is important but not entirely positive. "They're right," he concludes. Although union power "helps union members, it’s inefficient and bad for the economy as a whole, and it’s especially bad for nonunion workers."

Soltas cites no authority for these statements. That's unsurprising because they're nonsensical. The only vantage point from which union power can be seen as inefficient and bad for the economy is that of rent-seeking management, which is far more inefficient and bad for the economy--that's exactly what has led to income inequality and the stagnation of economic growth that is its consequence. As Brad DeLong of UC Berkeley wrote recently, "Tell me, if you can do so with a straight face, that any aspect of the large upward leap in inequality we have experienced has paid any benefits at all in terms of true … human material welfare-enhancing economic growth. I don't think you can."

As for the benefits unions have brought to nonunion workers, they're legion: progressive workplace laws including safety and child labor regulations, overall higher wages, retirement and healthcare benefits. The decline of all these features of the American workplace has coincided exactly with the decline of unions. That should tell you something.

Soltas argues that the answer to the decline of unions is to "stop businesses from abusing labor laws by classifying their employees as independent contractors." We should institute "monetary and fiscal policies aimed at full employment," he says.

Where does he think the impetus for these advances will come from, if not the labor movement? He may not have noticed, but Congress today is in the grip of the employer class. They're not agitating for tighter enforcement of labor laws, and they're not speaking up for full employment, either--that just means they'd have to pay higher wages, and who needs that?

View the original article on the LA Times site.

[top]


Senate Panel Approves ‘Disastrous’ Postal Bill

It is imperative that you all call Senator Carl Levin’s office and express your outrage over his supporting this Union killing piece of legislation. Be respectful but be forceful. Identify yourself as being from the APWU and the 480 481 Area Local. This attack on postal workers cannot be allowed to succeed. I cannot understand how someone who has been as loyal to Labor as Senator Carl Levin would support such a union killing bill.

We must be prepared to mobilize and defend our way of life against legislation such as this!

Roscoe Woods - President

Senator Carl Levin’s contact information is: 313-226-6020

Senate Panel Approves ‘Disastrous’ Postal Bill
Unions Promise Fierce Opposition
APWU Web News Article #023-14, Feb. 6, 2014

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved an amended version of a postal bill (S. 1486) that faces vehement opposition from the four postal unions. The committee with oversight responsibility for the Postal Service passed the measure by a vote of 9-1 on Feb. 6.

“This was a bad bill that was made worse by the ‘substitute’ version that was introduced last week,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director John Marcotte. “Today the committee amended the bill around the edges but gave no relief to workers and no long-term assurances to the American people about their mail service.”

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), would:

  • Threaten 100,000 full- and part-time postal jobs;
  • Lead to pension cuts;
  • Weaken workers’ position in upcoming contract negotiations;
  • Require the USPS to pre-fund workers’ compensation by $17 billion, further strangling USPS finances;
  • Permit the USPS to close and consolidate mail processing facilities after two years;
  • Allow the Postal Service to further reduce service and delivery standards;
  • Eliminate Saturday delivery after 2017;
  • Eliminate door-to-door mail delivery for new businesses and households, and
  • Expose injured workers to impoverishment once they reach retirement age.

Voting in favor of the bill were: Sen. Carper, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Coburn, Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) voted in favor of the bill by proxy, but proxy votes were not recorded.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) was the lone recorded no vote. Others who voted no by proxy were: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Rand Paul(R-KY). Proxy votes were not recorded.

Amendments adopted on Feb. 6 would:

  • Allow firearms in postal parking lots, provided there is no conflict with state and local regulations;
  • Permit the Postal Regulatory Commission to overturn plant closures, and
  • Postpone plant closures and changes to service standards until one year after the Comptroller General issues a report on USPS compliance with service standards.

“This disastrous bill would severely damage service to the people; weaken the USPS and make it ripe for privatization, and destroy good jobs throughout the country,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “The APWU urges senators to vote against the bill if and when it is brought to the Senate floor for consideration.”

[top]


The Undeserving Rich

Paul Krugman, New York Times

The reality of rising American inequality is stark. Since the late 1970s real wages for the bottom half of the work force have stagnated or fallen, while the incomes of the top 1 percent have nearly quadrupled (and the incomes of the top 0.1 percent have risen even more). While we can and should have a serious debate about what to do about this situation, the simple fact — American capitalism as currently constituted is undermining the foundations of middle-class society — shouldn’t be up for argument.

But it is, of course. Partly this reflects Upton Sinclair’s famous dictum: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. But it also, I think, reflects distaste for the implications of the numbers, which seem almost like an open invitation to class warfare — or, if you prefer, a demonstration that class warfare is already underway, with the plutocrats on offense.

The result has been a determined campaign of statistical obfuscation. At its cruder end this campaign comes close to outright falsification; at its more sophisticated end it involves using fancy footwork to propagate what I think of as the myth of the deserving rich.

For an example of de facto falsification, one need look no further than a recent column by Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, which first accused President Obama (wrongly) of making a factual error, then proceeded to assert that rising inequality was no big deal, because everyone has been making big gains. Why, incomes for the bottom fifth of the U.S. population have risen 186 percent since 1979!

If this sounds wrong to you, it should: that’s a nominal number, not corrected for inflation. You can find the inflation-corrected number in the same Census Bureau table; it shows incomes for the bottom fifth actually falling. Oh, and for the record, at the time of writing this elementary error had not been corrected on The Journal’s website.

O.K., that’s what crude obfuscation looks like. What about the fancier version?

I’ve noted before that conservatives seem fixated on the notion that poverty is basically the result of character problems among the poor. This may once have had a grain of truth to it, but for the past three decades and more the main obstacle facing the poor has been the lack of jobs paying decent wages. But the myth of the undeserving poor persists, and so does a counterpart myth, that of the deserving rich.

The story goes like this: America’s affluent are affluent because they made the right lifestyle choices. They got themselves good educations, they got and stayed married, and so on. Basically, affluence is a reward for adhering to the Victorian virtues.

What’s wrong with this story? Even on its own terms, it postulates opportunities that don’t exist. For example, how are children of the poor, or even the working class, supposed to get a good education in an era of declining support for and sharply rising tuition at public universities? Even social indicators like family stability are, to an important extent, economic phenomena: nothing takes a toll on family values like lack of employment opportunities.

But the main thing about this myth is that it misidentifies the winners from growing inequality. White-collar professionals, even if married to each other, are only doing O.K. The big winners are a much smaller group. The Occupy movement popularized the concept of the “1 percent,” which is a good shorthand for the rising elite, but if anything includes too many people: most of the gains of the top 1 percent have in fact gone to an even tinier elite, the top 0.1 percent.

And who are these lucky few? Mainly they’re executives of some kind, especially, although not only, in finance. You can argue about whether these people deserve to be paid so well, but one thing is clear: They didn’t get where they are simply by being prudent, clean and sober.

So how can the myth of the deserving rich be sustained? Mainly through a strategy of distortion by dilution. You almost never see apologists for inequality willing to talk about the 1 percent, let alone the really big winners. Instead, they talk about the top 20 percent, or at best the top 5 percent. These may sound like innocent choices, but they’re not, because they involve lumping in married lawyers with the wolves of Wall Street. The DiCaprio movie of that name, by the way, is wildly popular with finance types, who cheer on the title character — another clue to the realities of our new Gilded Age.

Again, I know that these realities make some people, not all of them hired guns for the plutocracy, uncomfortable, and they’d prefer to paint a different picture. But even if the facts have a well-known populist bias, they’re still the facts — and they must be faced.

View the original article on the NY Times site.

[top]


Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year

O n behalf of the myself and the Executive Board of the 480 481 Area Local I wish all the membership of our local and your families a Merry Christmas and we also wish a prosperous and happy 2014.

We faced quite a difficult 2013 and I believe we accomplished quite a bit. One of our primary goals at the beginning of the year were to use the VER and call center to convert many of our PTF folks to full time.

I believe this concentrated effort was a success with over a dozen PTF converted across the local and in some cases we were able to get full time conversions for PTF’s who had been part time for 15 years! No more splits!! No more unilateral reductions in hours!!! Moving forward into 2014 we will more narrow our focus on PSE issues and staffing. We will continue to build case(s) in F-1 and F-4 offices that the USPS must begin converting PSE to career.

We are steadfast in our belief that the jobs exist, and given all the excessing in this area, along with the current cut to the bone staffing in the AO’s the only logical means of filling jobs is through PSE conversions to career status.

With the assistance of the National Union we believe we can make the case that it is time to bring these hard working PSE into the light as career employees.

That is but one challenge we face, our obstacles are many but through a collective effort we will keep pushing forward.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God Bless all the membership and families of the APWU.

In Solidarity,

Roscoe Woods
President

[top]


Budget Negotiators Threaten
Postal, Federal Pay, Benefits

APWU Web News Article #133-13, Dec. 10, 2013

Congressional budget negotiators are engaged in closed-door deal-making that could reduce the take-home pay of postal workers and federal employees; reduce retirement benefits; eliminate postal jobs, and weaken the Postal Service, APWU leaders have learned.

President Mark Dimondstein is asking all union members — and their families and friends — to contact their U.S. senators and representatives and urge them to reject any such deal.

The congressional budget conference committee, which is led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), is considering measures that would require postal and federal workers to contribute 1.2 percent more to their pensions — without any corresponding increase in benefits. “That amounts to a pay cut, pure and simple,” Dimondstein said.

Conferees are also entertaining proposals to change the basis for calculating retirement benefits from employees’ “high three” years of earnings to their “high five” years, which would reduce retirees’ annuities.

In a Dec. 10 letter [PDF] Dimondstein urged House and Senate leaders of both parties to reject any such measures.

“These outrageous proposals are just the most recent examples of the hypocrisy of those who refuse to raise taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals but are willing to solve the nation’s deficit on the backs of working people — America’s postal and federal employees,” he wrote on Dec. 10.

APWU Legislative and Political Director John Marcotte also condemned the proposals. “This is a back-door tax increase on postal and federal workers,” he said. A Dec. 9 letter to Sen. Murray and Rep. Ryan [PDF], signed by the APWU and 30 other postal and federal unions and management associations pointed out the postal and federal workers are the only constituency who would be taxed under the proposed budget.

USPS Targeted Too

Postal unions are also are deeply concerned by reports that budget conferees are considering proposals to eliminate Saturday delivery, which would weaken the U.S. Postal Service, eliminate tens of thousands of jobs, and derail the agency’s fledgling recovery.

“As you know, the Postal Service does not contribute to the deficit, receives no taxpayer money, and has recently shown an operating surplus,” Dimondstein said in his letter to Pelosi.

“Congress can best support the USPS by eliminating the mandate of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which requires the USPS to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees — a burden no other government agency or private company bears. To strengthen the USPS, Congress also must protect service standards and allow the USPS to offer new services that will create new sources of revenue,” he said.

Click here to get a written letter to send to your representative – all you have to do print it, use the link below to find their address and drop it in the mail. Please be sure to use their local address.

Get all the elected representative contact information you need at: http://capwiz.com/apwu/home/

Time to be heard –

Roscoe Woods - President

[top]


The Retirement Deficit

Hello Everyone -

While reading some labor blogs today I stumbled on the article noted below. I found it interesting because it does bring into the light the core reason corporate America wants to do away with a program that has benefitted countless millions and for the most part is probably benefitting most of our parents.

I preface the article below with a couple of definitions found in the on-line version of the Merriam-Webster Standard Collegiate Dictionary:

Social: of or relating to people or society in general
Security: the state of being protected or safe from harm

So following the great depression our government passed a law that was designed to keep society in general safe from harm, the segment of society protected is our seniors and the harm they are protected from is a life of abject poverty if you lose your job when you are 62 years or older.

It protects you in case you were fortunate enough to make enough money to invest in the stock market over the years you worked and then it crashes, (like in the great depression) or banks fail (see the Savings and Loan debacle of the 80’s and the most recent bank failures in the last 4 years) and you lose all your savings the “social security” (net) we have provides a bottom that ensures you ought to be able to at least put a roof over your head and feed yourself.

With tongue in cheek I say – what a horrible idea this was. The biggest problem with social security is it is only a tax on the low and middle class, after a certain point wages are exempt from this tax, so those who earn in excess of $113,700 a year cease paying this tax on those earnings and yet are still able to collect when they hit age 62.

I read the article below and thought I’d share.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. God Bless you, your families and all those you hold dear.

Roscoe Woods
President


The Retirement Deficit

Many of America’s CEOs don’t think we're “entitled” to a secure retirement.

By Sam Pizzigati - http://otherwords.org/

Deck the halls, this holiday season, with scenes of hunger.

Struggling families all across America now have less food on their tables. Budget cuts that kicked into effect November 1 have lowered the nation’s average federal food stamp benefit to less than $1.40 per person per meal.

Austerity American-style is squeezing elsewhere as well, from Head Start for kids to Meals on Wheels for seniors, and more cuts are looming, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill near still another budget deliberation deadline, this one midway through December.

The next federal program in the crosshairs? Maybe the biggest of them all: Social Security.

Average Americans, of course, don’t want Social Security cut. If anything, average Americans stand more committed than ever to keeping Social Security whole — and for good reason. Social Security currently stands as America’s only retirement bedrock.

Not too long ago, pensions also routinely delivered retirement security. But our corporations have cut back on traditional pensions. In 1980, 89 percent of Fortune 100 companies guaranteed workers a “defined benefit” at retirement. The rate last year: only 12 percent.

Companies have replaced traditional pensions with 401(k)s, and many firms don’t even match employee 401(k) contributions. The predictable result? The nation’s “retirement deficit” — the difference between what Americans have saved up for retirement and what they need to maintain their standard of living once retired — now totals $6.6 trillion, says Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.

So, amid all this retirement insecurity, who actually thinks that cutting Social Security would be a good idea? The big push for cutting Social Security is coming from America’s “corporate statesmen.”

These corporate leaders — the nearly 200 CEOs who run the influential Business Roundtable and the over 135 chief execs who bankroll the lobby group known as “Fix the Debt” — seldom ever mention “Social Security benefits” and “cuts” in the same sentence. They speak instead in euphemisms. The nation, they intone, cannot afford the current level of “entitlement” spending.

In the name of “saving” Social Security for future generations, these CEOs are urging Congress to enact “reforms” that range from lowering the annual Social Security inflation adjustment to raising the Social Security retirement age to 70.

These two changes, point out Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies and Scott Klinger of the Center for Effective Government, would slice the average Social Security beneficiary’s lifetime benefits by about 20 percent.

America’s CEOs, Anderson and Klinger note in a new report, don’t need Social Security. They already have ample retirement security without it.

In fact, these CEOs are sitting on the biggest retirement bonanza in modern human history. The retirement accounts of Business Roundtable CEOs currently average $14.6 million, enough to pay out a $86,043 monthly benefit once they retire.

The typical American worker within 10 years of retirement, by contrast, now has only enough in saved-up personal retirement assets to generate a monthly retirement payout of just $71.

Why are so many CEOs driving so hard to cut Social Security? One reason: The corporations these CEOs run don’t pay much in the way of corporate taxes today. They want to pay even less — and the less the federal government spends on Social Security and other “entitlements” like Medicare, the less pressure on lawmakers to seriously tax corporate income.

CEOs also have a personal reason to want to see Social Security cut. Americans this year pay Social Security tax on only the first $113,700 of paycheck income. This tax ceiling rises each year with inflation.

But if we eliminated the ceiling entirely — and taxed the paychecks of CEOs and other high-income taxpayers at the same rate as the paychecks of average workers — 95 percent of the expected Social Security budget shortfall over the next 75 years would disappear.

America’s CEOs don’t particularly care for this sensible approach to fixing Social Security’s fiscal future. They’d much rather just ruin Social Security for the rest of us.

View the original article on the OtherWords site.

[top]


APWU Wins Call Center Level
And Pay Arbitration
It’s The Gift That Keeps On Giving
By Kevin Osak - Clerk Craft Director

The word is out, and we won! The A.P.W.U. gets justice for the 1100 call center clerks. The level 4, 5, & 6 jobs now become level 6, 7 & 8. That means everyone working at the call centers will get a 2 level upgrade and a nice raise.

Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg’s summary of the award:

The Postal Service violated Article 19 by failing to follow the procedures of ELM 233.2 in relying on private sector wage comparisons to rank the Customer Care Agents at Levels 4, 5, and 6, rather than at Levels 6, 7, and 8, found to be appropriate by the OE Department, which applied ELM Section 233.2. Contrary to the arguments of the Postal Service, its reliance on private sector wage comparisons was not justified by the Postal Reform Act or the alleged overall intent of the 2010 Agreement to insource work to the APWU bargaining unit only when bargaining unit employees can perform that work at a cost equal to or less than private sector employees.

As an appropriate remedy for its violation of Article 19, the Postal Service will be directed to place all Customer Care Agents, Tier 1; Customer Care Agents, Tier 2; and Customer Care Agents, Lead, at Levels 6, 7, and 8, respectively. The employees in these positions shall also be made whole for lost pay and benefits resulting from their improper position rankings.

The increases in pay are as follows:

Level 4 to level 6
From $25.73 an hour to $26.72
That’s a $ 0.99 raise or an extra $2059.00 a year

Level 5 to level 7
From $26.20 an hour to $27.29
That’s a $1.09 raise an hour or an extra $2253.00 a year

Level 6 to level 8
From $26.72 an hour to $27.89
That’s a $1.17 raise an hour or an extra $2430.00 a year

This award is upwards of 2 million dollars, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Every year that the call center employee’s work, means that they will all make a combined $2 million more a year. This is a huge victory for the A.P.W.U., and the Call Center employees. I see the Call Center employees on a weekly basis, and they are hardworking, dedicated and deserve what they got and then some. The job they have is ever changing, and it keeps piling on more and more and more. Each month it seems that management adds more duties, so not only have the employees earned the higher levels, but they also have earned the extra money.

Congratulations to everyone who worked hard for this momentous victory. I would like to thank everyone at the National A.P.W.U., for their hard work and dedication for not only this victory, but for all the hard word they have done through the years.

I would especially like to thank President Roscoe Woods, CCC Stewards Lucy Morton (now retired), and Lorinda Miller who went above and beyond with their time and efforts.

I would also like to thank the hard working A.P.W.U. Members of the Troy Customer Call Center. Thank you for your trust, you support, and your membership in the A.P.W.U.

To the non-members it is time to stand up, and join the Union that has not only proven itself, time and time again, but is out there working daily for your benefit.

We have shown you that we are representing you, and now it’s time to stand up and join us.

See Lorinda Miller, Allen Coin, or Chief Steward Eric Neal for an 1187 to join.

A short note from President Woods –

How this award gets implemented will be the subject of further negotiations at the national and local levels.

We will keep you all informed and we will work diligently to ensure the arbitrators award is complied with in its entirety.

We ask for your patience as we do this.

I echo Kevin’s congrats to all involved, as you are aware we sent our own to DC to offer input and assist HQ and it was this collective team effort that led to the obvious outcome.

R. Woods

[top]


Mark Dimondstein Wins Presidency
His Team Wins Most Offices

Elizabeth Powell Wins as Secretary-Treasurer
Kaczor Wins Health Plan Director

APWU News Bulletin 18-2013, October 8, 2013 | PDF

Mark Dimondstein was elected the new president of the American Postal Workers Union in a hotly-contested race that ended Oct. 7. His “Members First” team won most of the offices they sought, defeating incumbents.

The exceptions were incumbents Liz Powell, who was re-elected Secretary-Treasurer in a three-way race, and William Kaczor, who was re-elected Health Plan Director. The union mailed 195,509 ballots to union members; 48,909 envelopes were returned.

“I hope everyone will get behind the new administration,” said outgoing President Cliff Guffey. “We have tough times ahead and we’re going to need unity.” Dimondstein was not available for comment.

Running on Dimondstein’s Membership Team slate and winning were: Debby Szeredy for Executive Vice President, Tony McKinnon for Industrial Relations Director, John Marcotte for Legislative/Political Director, and Anna Smith for Organization Director. Also running with Dimondstein and winning were Kennith Beasley for Southern Region Coordinator and Clint Burelson for Clerk Division Director.

Twenty-four offices were contested, including Maintenance Assistant Director, 11 National Business Agent spots and three Retiree National Convention Delegates.

Unofficial results are posted below. Winners are denoted with an asterisk; incumbent officers are denoted by “(I)” appearing after their name. Certified results are expected in the next several days and will be posted at www.apwu.org. Results also will appear in the next issue of The American Postal Worker.

The newly-elected officers begin three-year terms on Nov. 12. A swearing-in ceremony will be held Nov. 7.

Summary of 2013 APWU Election Results

[top]


E-Mail links are intended for questions of a general nature and are not for formal administration of the grievance procedure. Individuals with specific questions and or problems must contact their steward within 14 days in order to protect grievance time limits.

The 480-481 Area Local maintains offices at 810 Livernois in Ferndale, Michigan 48220 and represents all APWU members in the following USPS installations: Almont, Allen Park, Anchorville, Belleville, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Brighton, Carleton, Chelsea, Clarkston, Clawson, Davisburg, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Fair Haven, Flat Rock, Garden City, Grosse Ile, Hartland, Hazel Park, Highland, Keego Harbor, Lake Orion, Marine City, Marysville, Michigan Call Center, Michigan Metroplex, Milan, Milford, Mt. Clemens, New Baltimore, New Boston, New Haven, New Hudson, Novi, Oxford, Pickney, Plymouth, Pontiac, Port Huron, Richmond, Rochester, Rockwood, Romeo, Romulus, Royal Oak, South Lyon, South Rockwood, St. Clair, Sterling Heights, Trenton, Union Lake, Utica, Walled Lake, Warren, Washington, Waterford, Wayne, Westland, Willis, Wixom, Wyandotte and Yale.

The Union office is normally open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday and the telephone numbers are (248) 543-3262/3263/3264. The 24 hour number is (248) 543-3262. FAX: (248) 543-2750.

 Counter