Attend a Pre-Convention Workshop

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(This article appears in the March-April 2014 edition of The American Postal Worker.) 

Joyce B. Robinson, Research & Education Department Director

The Research & Education Department is proud to announce that the APWU is sponsoring its 14th Educational Conference, a National Convention event that provides union members with a wealth of information to take home to their locals and state organizations.

Twenty-two workshops will be offered on Friday, July 18, 2014, the day prior to craft meetings, at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

Due to limited space, all APWU members are welcome and encouraged to sign-up online by the pre-registration deadline of Friday, June 20. The deadline is firm for participants with special needs: If you need a sign interpreter, for example, you must meet the pre-registration deadline. Other participants who miss the deadline may try to sign up for workshops after they arrive in Chicago. Late registrants will have a limited choice of workshops, however, and will not receive certificates.

Please note that more information on the seminars, as well as the online registration process, can be found on the APWU’s homepage page at, under the heading, “Pre-Convention Workshops.” The following are summaries of the workshops, along with their starting times. Except where noted, pre-convention workshops are three hours long:

1. Basic Shop Steward Training: Guidelines for newly elected or appointed Shop Stewards, with a focus on proper documentation of grievances and the duties, rights, and guidelines for shop stewards. (Full-day workshop, 10:00 am- 5:30 pm)

2. Disabled Veterans’ Benefits: Tips for helping dis-abled veterans obtain benefits. (10:00 am-1:00 pm)

3. Disability Retirement: How disability retirement pay is calculated and how to avoid mistakes that cause delays and disapprovals. (2:30 pm -5:30 pm).

4. Empowering Young Workers: The importance of involving young union members in the labor movement, building a diverse union, and the benefits of coalition building. (2:30 pm – 5:30 pm)

5. Establishing an Effective Retiree Chapter: How to start a chapter and increase members’ participation. (10:00 am-1:00 pm)

6. Excessing in the Clerk Craft: Focuses on the Minimizing Excessing Memorandum of Under-standing, Transfer Opportunities to Minimize Excessing, eReassign, and Articles 12 and 37 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. (10:00 am-1:00 pm)

7. Family and Medical Leave Act: A “how-to” session on FMLA forms, eligibility, leave requirements, and guidelines. (2:30 pm -5:30 pm)

8. Legal Issues - Union Publications & Websites: Discusses editorial policies, union regulations, libel, copyright and federal election laws that apply to union publications and websites. (2:30 pm -5:30 pm)

9. Legislative Issues and Political Action: An examination of current legislative issues and the important upcoming elections. (10:00 am -1:00 pm)

10. Maintenance - Basics of Building Equipment Staffing: The basic application and enforcement of staffing for Building Equipment Mechanics (BEMs). Explains the type of work involved (HVAC, etc.) and the appropriate handbooks and manuals to utilize. (10:00 am -1:00 pm)

11. Maintenance Subcontracting: Includes theory, information requests, and proper grievance fil-ing. This workshop outlines the basics for succeeding in this important work-preservation is-sue. (2:30 pm -5:30 pm)

12. Motor Vehicle Division (MVS) Issues: An update on MVS issues and information on Articles 39, 32, and others articles of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that apply to the craft. (Full-day workshop, 10:00 am- 5:30 pm)

13. Maximization/Creating Desirable Duty Assignments in the Clerk Craft: Provides an overview of Non-Traditional Full Time (NTFT) duty assignments; gives instruction on how to document grievances using all avail-able hours, and demonstrates how to input data in the updated Scheduler (MDAT Version 2) to create desirable duty assignments in the Clerk Craft for Function 1,Function 4, and Maximization. (2:30 pm -5:30 pm)

 14. Organizing For Our Future: Learn how to respond to non-members when they explain why they don’t be-long to the union and how to get members who have quit to rejoin. Discuss resourceful ways for signing up non-members utilizing the APWU Health Plan, the Accident Benefit Association, and the Voluntary Benefit Programs. (2:30 pm -5:30 pm)

15. Postal Support Employees (PSEs) Issues: Focuses both on protecting the rights of PSEs and on under-standing the restrictions on the use of non-career employees. (10:00 am – 1:00 pm)

16. Protecting Clerk-Craft Work in Smaller Offices: An overview of issues such as crossing crafts, maximization, supervisors performing bargaining-unit work, Postal Support Employees, “lobby sweeps/lobby directors,” and creating duty assignments in small offices. (10:00 am -1:00 pm)

17. Representing Employees When Discipline is Is-sued: An in-depth discussion of how to protect APWU members from unwarranted discipline, including proper investigation techniques and arguments. (2:30 pm -5:30 pm)

18. Retail Issues: Discusses everything you wanted to know but were (almost) afraid to ask about Function 4, Small Office Variant, Delivery Unit Optimization, Re-tail Customer Experience, and a myriad of other window issues. (10:00 am -1:00 pm)

19. Retirement Planning for Civil Service Retirement System employees and Federal Employees Retirement System employees: Provides information on both federal retirement programs, and covers managing your Thrift Savings Plan, the records you need to prevent a delay of your annuity, and how your annuity is calculated. (10:00 am -1:00 pm)

20. Union Publications - Reaching the Membership: Ex-amines the need to communicate and the process of producing a member-oriented, high-quality union publication. (10:00 am-1:00 pm)

21. Building Worker-Community Coalitions to Fight Plant and Post Office Consolidations: Discusses how to build the alliances we need to keep offices open and located in the communities they serve. Examines an essential element in the fight to protect jobs and improve service.

22. How to Win a Grievance Without Filing: Addresses building workers’ power on the job without getting bogged down in paperwork. Answers the question, How do we become a fighting union and not just a grievance machine?

If you have problems registering online, please contact Merika Smith at or by telephone at (202) 842-4244.

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