Post Convention Workshops

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(This article appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Joyce B. Robinson, Research & Education Department Director

The Research & Education Department is proud to announce that the APWU is sponsoring its 12th 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-seven workshops will be offered on Saturday, Aug. 28, the day after the conclusion of the National Convention in Detroit. The seminars, like the convention itself, will be held at the Cobo Center.

Workshop Registration:

All APWU members are welcome and encouraged to register for the workshops online by the pre-registration deadline, Friday, July 16.

Delegates who miss the cut-off date may try to sign up for workshops at the convention, but space will be limited, and certificates will not be available for late registrants. Registration will be held in Cobo Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Participants with special needs (for example, those needing sign-language interpreters) must register by the deadline.

The following are summaries of the workshops, along with their starting times. Except where noted, post-convention workshops are three hours long:

APWU Search: For arbitration advocates, an overview of APWU’s arbitration-award retrieval system, with emphasis on how to identify relevant keywords and the use of simple search techniques to retrieve relevant cases.(9 a.m.)

Dealing With Difficult People: How to develop critical communication skills through the use of tact and diplomacy. Through a combination of instruction and role-playing, students learn to handle complaints with honesty and integrity. (1:30 p.m.)

Disabled Veterans’ Benefits: How to help disabled veterans obtain benefits. (9 a.m.)

Due Process/Just Cause: An in-depth discussion of how to protect APWU members from unwarranted discipline. Proper investigation techniques will be explained in detail, along with common arguments for defending employees against unwarranted discipline. (1:30 p.m.)

Editors’ Training: The art of producing high-quality union publications, with emphasis on the importance of effective communication. (9 a.m.)

Employee Assistance Program: A discussion of the free EAP counseling services, resources available to postal employees and their families, and workplace entitlements; with a discussion of confidentiality, counselor qualifications, and the role of EAP Joint and District Advisory Committees.(9 a.m.)

Excessing in the Clerk Craft: An examination of excessing inside or outside an installation, with emphasis placed on relocation provisions. (1:30 p.m.)

Family and Medical Leave Act: A “how-to” session on FMLA forms, eligibility, leave requirements, and guidelines. (1:30 p.m.)

Fiduciary Responsibilities of Union Officers: Advice for union officers and trustees, with an emphasis on legal requirements. (9 a.m.)

Internal/External Organizing: The proper strategies and techniques to maintain job security through organizing. (1:30 p.m.)

Interrogation by the Office of Inspector General/Postal Inspection Service: A review of the Kalkines Warning, the Weingarten, Miranda, and Garrity Rights, and instruction for stewards on how to best defend APWU members during investigations. (1:30 p.m.)

Labor Law Fundamentals: A look at the National Labor Relations Act, with a focus on the rights of APWU members, and a discussion of how to identify unfair labor practices. (9 a.m.)

Legal Issues – Union Publications and Beyond: An overview of the application of libel, copyright, and federal election laws to editorial practices in union publications and on union-operated Web sites. (1:30 p.m.)

Legislative Issues and Political Action: An examination of current legislative issues and the important upcoming elections. (9 a.m.)

Limited-Duty Employees in the Clerk Craft: A review of Section 546 of the ELM to help APWU stewards ensure that the USPS is in compliance when assigning limited-duty employees from other crafts. The workshop includes guidance on posting limited- duty employees’ former bid assignments for bid in the Clerk Craft. (9 a.m.)

Maintenance Craft Staffing: An overview of what a local needs to know and what information to include when making a staffing request and working to enforce handbook MS-47. (9 a.m.)

Maintenance Article 38 Questions & Answers: A session spotlighting current Maintenance Craft topics. (1:30 p.m.)

Managing Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Account: Learn the rules regulating taxes, withdrawals, and changes for Civil Service Retirement System(CSRS) employees and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) workers. The workshop addresses contribution electives, transfers to an IRA, eligibility for catch-up contributions, and managing an account online. (9 a.m.)

Motor Vehicle Craft Part 1: An overview of current MVS Craft issues and the latest in Article 39 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. (9 a.m.)

Motor Vehicle Craft Part 2: A continuation of discussion of MVS issues and Article 39 language. (1:30 p.m.)

Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP): A summary of the role of APWU OWCP representatives, types of claims and forms, continuation of pay, wage-loss compensation, job offers, the appeal process, scheduled awards, medical narratives, second and referee opinions, fitness-for-duty and functional capacity evaluations, and the claims examiners’ reviews. (1:30 p.m.)

Protecting Clerk-Craft Work in Smaller Offices: An overview of issues such as crossing crafts, maximization, supervisors performing bargaining-unit work, and the use of casuals. (9 a.m.)

Regional Instruction 399 (RI-399): An outline of the local union’s responsibilities under the Dispute Resolution Procedure. (1:30 p.m.)

Retirement Planning for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Employees and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Employees: A look at retirement benefits such as health and life insurance, survivors’ eligibility requirements, and how to calculate annuities. (1:30 p.m.)

Shop Steward’s Training (Basic): Guidelines for new stewards, with a focus on proper documentation of grievances. (Full-day workshop, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

Shop Steward’s Training (Advanced): An overview of the arguments to make at Step 2, and instruction on how to rebut the USPS Step 2 decision letter, with emphasis on documentation as a means of helping the union prevail in arbitration. (9 a.m.)

Window Clerk’s Survival in the Function 4 Environment: Information on how to fight staffing reductions and protect retail sales jobs. (1:30 p.m.)

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