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West Virginia Postal Workers Union

Chris Smith

Executive Board
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About Chris Smith

  • Rank
    Editor
  • Birthday 10/20/1970

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  • APWU Local
    Charleston APWU 133
  • Gender
    Male

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  1. On Thursday, Oct. 31 the APWU conducted the installation of the newly elected national officers with a message of unity and determination to fight for the future of postal workers and working people everywhere. Secretary Treasurer Elizabeth "Liz" Powell Presided The night’s theme was “Moving Forward Together” and the ceremony was presided over by APWU Secretary Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Powell. The guest of honor at the ceremony was AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre who administered the oath of office. After an introduction by Executive Vice-President Debby Szeredy, Gebre addressed the gathering, praising the work of APWU’s officers and leadership, “Your union, led by your president, Mark Dimondstein, has been a leader in our movement with the creation of a A Grand Alliance to Save our Public Postal Service, the successful fight to Stop Staples, the campaign to expand the role of the Postal Service, including vote by mail and postal banking -- Fighting to defend the common good, public services and public sector unionism.” He spoke of the fight during the tough times we face, with working people experiencing cruel and unnecessary hardships with low wages, unsafe workplaces, voter suppression, families ripped apart and refugees turned away. But he expressed his hope in the face of this adversity: “…Hope in each of you...serving your communities. Hope in striking teachers. Hope in the 60 million Americans who would join a union today if they could. Hope of a brighter day,” he said. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre APWU President Mark Dimondstein gave the keynote speech, congratulating all who were elected and thanking the outgoing officers for their contributions and dedication to the APWU and postal workers. With the union election over he pointed out that, “Now principled unity is key, as we battle corporate greed, Wall Street privatizers, a hostile political environment, and those in management who are undermining the Postal Service.” After summarizing our substantial progress over the last six years, Dimondstein raised, “But we cannot rest. We are working, living and struggling when there is an all-out war on workers, our families, communities and our organizations. It is Them vs Us, Wall St. vs. Main St., Capital vs. Labor,” he said. He set out some of the priorities for the coming years: “We will complete the ongoing interest arbitration for a new and good union contract… We will bolster our efforts for new opportunities for postal services, revenue and jobs, including expanding financial services and vote by mail....We will advance the ongoing efforts to gain postal legislation that strengthens the public Postal Service.” President Dimondstein Gives the Keynote Speech “A new broad union education program is already in the works,” he said and advocated that, “Our Stand Up for Safe Jobs campaign needs deeper roots among the members. And together we must find ways to improve staffing of facilities and address the ever-increasing hostile work environments.” Most importantly, Dimondstein raised, “The paramount job security battle of our time is to ensure the public Postal Service remains just that. Our jobs, our union and the people’s democratic right enshrined in the Constitution depend on our determination and success. Since the White House plans for full-blown postal privatization emerged, the APWU has mobilized all hands-on deck. With a soon to be new Postmaster General chosen by the Trump-controlled Postal Board of Governors, this critical battle will greatly intensify.” He encouraged members to, “…attend meetings, join committees, write articles, stand up for safe jobs, sign up non-members, wear union gear with pride, welcome young workers, lobby politicians, fight for postal banking, stand in solidarity with all workers, speak up and defend the public post office.” He ended with the call to action, “…We must carry on the crusade to save the public Postal Service and our collective bargaining rights and to take on corporate Wall Street power with more workers’ power! Let’s continue to stand up and fight back, hand in hand with each other, all crafts, active, retiree and auxiliary members, postal and other unions, community allies and the people who support the public post office and trust postal workers.” APWU National Officers Say the Oath of Office
  2. Per the rules and regulations governing the 2019 APWU National Election, candidates’ statements have been updated to include any new information and/or new submissions submitted by the September 1, 2019 deadline. Statements by candidates for national union office are posted on www.apwu.org in accordance with Article 11.3.c.2 of the APWU Constitution. To view the statements click here and follow the log-in instructions for the Members Only section.
  3. On September 15, big changes are coming to your Thrift Savings Plan withdrawal options. You’ll be gaining options of how and when you can access money from your TSP account. TSP breaks it down here: Flexible Withdrawals Begin September 2019 Current Rules You can customize your installment payments and change your payment frequency at any time as your needs change. You can choose among monthly, quarterly, and annual installment options. Requests to change monthly installment amounts can only be made once each year during a designated open season. You never have to make a full withdrawal election. When you need to make IRS-mandated required minimum distributions (RMDs) at age 70 and after, we'll automatically send you the right amount if you don't withdraw enough during the year. A full withdrawal election is require-d the year you are separated and 70 years older, or your account becomes abandoned. You'll request withdrawals easily using fast and secure online tools by logging into My Account on tsp.gov. Paper forms must be submitted by mail or fax to make or change a withdrawal election. You can choose to withdraw traditional money only, Roth money only, or a proportional amount of both. All withdrawals include both traditional and Roth funds as a pro rata (i.e., proportional) distribution. Any in-service withdrawals you make have no effect on the number of post-separation partial withdrawals you can make. You can make partial withdrawals even if you receive installment payments. Only one age-based in-service withdrawal or one post-separation partial withdrawal allowed in a lifetime. Then a full withdrawal election is required. Now is a great time to review your TSP account and ensure your information and contribution is current and accurate, visit TSP.gov or LiteBlue. Click here for TSP’s downloadable Questions and Answers about Changes to TSP Withdrawal Options.
  4. On Aug. 8, the Maintenance Craft reached a settlement with the USPS regarding Handbook MS-1, TL-5 and TL-6 Revisions and Related Maintenance Management Orders, originally grieved by current Maintenance Division Director Idowu Balogun. On Sept. 13, 2017, Arbitrator Goldberg remanded the MS-1 revisions case nos. Q10T-4Q-C-14171644/ Q10T-4Q-C-16481407 back to the APWU and USPS for resolution, directing the Postal Service to provide the APWU with all data and data analysis collected by the Postal Review Team. The new settlement designates that maintenance work in stations and branches transitioning to Field Maintenance Operations (FMO) as a result of MS-1/TL-6 will continue to performed by the employees currently performing those duties. It also stipulates that: When attrition at the installation results in a staffing level below the authorized complement, management may determine the occupational group of the employee(s) that will continue to perform the work in the stations and branches… due to the transferring of maintenance work of stations and branches from plant maintenance to FMO, the FMO authorized staffing may increase in order to provide maintenance for the stations and branches. For FMO staffing increases that exceed the available plant LDC 37…those positions shall be posted and filled under the FMO in accordance with Article 38 and the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM). The Postal Service will publish the final versions of MS-1 TL 6 and MMOs on Aug. 8, 2019. Click here to see the full settlement on Q10T-4Q-C-14171644/ Q10T-4Q-C-16481407. Register today for MS 1 TL5/TL 6 Settlement and Implementations on Monday Aug 19, 2019 2:00 PM EDT. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
  5. We have been engaged in an effort to assist our locals and states with organizing by using the APWU Health Plan as an organizing tool. Our PSEs are eligible for the wonderful union-negotiated benefit of being able to be enrolled in the highly-rated APWUHP Consumer Driven Option (CDO). This plan is chosen by tens of thousands of career federal and postal employees and the improvement in benefits for our members and their families when choosing the APWUHP is dramatic. The APWU Health Plan sends a letter from the director to every PSE as they become eligible for APWUHP CDO (PSEs become eligible when they are reappointed after a 360-day appointment with no more than a five day break). If they are a union member, I congratulate and inform them that this benefit is yet another benefit of their union membership. If they are not a union member, I inform them of this wonderful union-negotiated benefit and ask them to join the APWU so they can receive it and include a 1187. This letter is signed by myself and the Organization Director. After we complete the monthly mailing, we have the mailing list placed under the “Members Only” section of the website. The list can be accessed by your local President or Secretary-Treasurer with their dues check-off list information. To get a brief idea of how much better the APWUHP CDO is than the USPS Health Insurance Plan please see the information below. To answer your questions on Federal Employee Health Benefits program, come to the 2019 APWUHP Open Season Seminar. It will be held this year in beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon! This informative, motivating seminar will be from October 26-28 and all meals are provided. Together Better Health! Health PlanPSEs
  6. The Senate confirmed three appointees to the Board of Governors on Thursday, August 1, before adjourning for the summer recess. Ron Bloom, Roman Martinez IV, and John Barger will join current Governors David Williams and Robert Duncan. Bloom previously served in the Department of Treasury and was an advisor in the Obama White House. Additionally, he worked in the labor movement as a Special Assistant to the President of the United Steelworkers. Martinez comes from the private sector as an investment banker for Lehman Brothers, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. Barger also comes from a financial background, and also served as the Director on the Investment and Retirement Boards of the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, the largest county pension fund in the United States. With the confirmation of these individuals combined with the currently sitting governors, the Postal Board of Governors has finally reached a quorum for the first time since December 2014. The Board of Governors has the responsibility to direct and control expenditures; review USPS practices; and, ensure USPS meets its statutory obligations. Additionally, the Senate approved the nominations of Ann Fisher and Ashley Poling to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). They are replacing Tony Hammond and Nanci Langley, respectively, whose terms expired in late 2018. The PRC is an independent agency that provides regulatory oversight to the Postal Service. Fisher worked as staff to the PRC, having been the chief of staff to former Chairman Dan Blair and the Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations. Poling has a legislative background as the Director of Governmental Affairs and Senior Counsel to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC). Prior, she served as Senior Policy Counsel to the HSGAC Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. “The APWU looks forward to working with these new members of the Board of Governors and the PRC in defense of the public Postal Service and its workers,” said APWU National President Mark Dimondstein. “We will forthrightly promote the issues vital to our members and the postal public, oppose the management 10-year business plan targeting workers’ benefits and service, and continue advocating for expanded and enhanced postal services.” Postal Regulatory CommissionPostal reform
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