It Pays to have a Union Presence in the Workplace!

Elizabeth Powell

May 6, 2022

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(This article first appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

This can be interpreted literally or figuratively when our local and state officers organize our non-members. While the overall benefit of belonging to APWU is always “There is Strength in Numbers,” collectively we become more substantial when we have 100% participation. Belonging to the APWU while achieving goals and overcoming challenges provides a particular sense of pride and solidarity, and promotes meaning of the U and I in Union.

In the literal term, it pays to have a union presence in the workplace because when we organize the non-members, their membership equates to additional revenue the union can bring into our campaigns. Figuratively, it pays to have a union presence in the workplace because there are additional benefits that come with strong APWU union presence. Our National, Local, and State officers gain a tremendous advantage when dealing with postal management when negotiating our Collective Bargaining Agreement, as well as other initiatives that impact our members.

Local and state officers should consistently find ways to engage their membership with innovative ideas and organizing drives to promote and encourage APWU membership. While our Collective Bargaining Agreement and representation are important aspects of membership, there are additional benefits i.e., National and Local Scholarships, Voluntary Benefits Plans, discounts to goods, services, and more. APWU is counting on you to do your part during the National organization drive May 1 2022 -July 1, 2022 by taking the initiative and asking your coworkers, “Are you a Member of the APWU?” if not, direct them to the on-line membership application. We are the union and with numbers comes strength!

Travel and Expense Policy

While we are adjusting to our new normal, in-person conventions and conferences are convening across the country. Local and State officers should adopt a local Travel and Expense Policy. It is recommended the policy not be included verbatim in the constitution and bylaws because doing so would require desired changes to the language to go through the amendment process. Language referring to the Travel and Expense policy is what is preferred. When adopting a travel and expense policy,

the items that should be included and consistent with authorized expenditures in your local and state constitution and bylaws are as follows:

  • Expense Filing and Approval
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Air Travel
  • Lodging/Hotel
  • Ground Transportation
  • Meals
  • Per Diem
  • In Town Meetings and Assignments
  • Personal Car Usage
  • Car Rental
  • Lost Time Reimbursement
  • Reimbursement for Lost Annual and Sick Leave

To fulfill LMRDA and IRS requirements, all authorized expenditures are required to be properly documented with an expense voucher, original receipts, approved PS 3917 for LWOP/lost time and mileage log when applicable. It is important to establish what will be reimbursed when properly documented and receipted, and what will be compensated at the GSA rate. Local and State Treasurers should use to assist in determining the correct amount payable for per-diem by state and county and the GSA mileage rate for calendar year 2022 is 58.5 cents per mile. All expense vouchers should be submitted within thirty (30) days of the expense being incurred.

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