Meeting the Training Challenge

November 1, 2015

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(This article first appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The APWU has 875 chartered local and state unions in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam, and each one of them has officers who are elected to be custodians of the union’s funds.

In most cases, prior to taking office, the officers have no prior accounting experience and have never managed organizational funds. The challenge for the Secretary-Treasurer’s Department is to provide training on their legal and constitutional obligations, and on best practices when administering union funds.

The department attempts to meet this challenge by scheduling national training seminars, and by providing training at regional and state meetings. Unfortunately, many unions cannot afford the costs associated with attending the training sessions.

In 2009, the department began offering training webinars that allowed the instructor to make a presentation online, while talking over the phone. Participants could look at material on their computers and hear the instructor explain it.

However, the logistics of providing simultaneous training across seven different time zones posed serious challenges. Therefore, we have decided to offer online training on a local, state, and regional level, as well as upon request, if scheduling permits.

Starting in January 2016, local and state unions will be able to schedule private training webinars for their executive boards, election committees, constitution committees, trustees and members.

Each training session lasts no more than two hours. Appointments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. As with prior webinars, all that is required is a high speed Internet connection, a speakerphone, and a comfortable place for the participants to view a computer monitor or projector screen.

These private webinars will permit instructors to pay more attention to the specific concerns of the participating locals and states. They will also allow for more timely training of newly-elected officers.

To schedule a webinar, please contact Roosevelt Stewart, executive assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer, at 202 842-4215 or via email to




Budgeting and Setting Goals  1 hr This webinar will explain how to establish a budget and set financial and other goals for the local union.
Compensation for Union Officers and Members  1.5 hrs This webinar will cover the Department of Labor and IRS obligations Officers and Members when local/state unions pay officers and members to work for the union.
COPA  1 hr This webinar will cover how to properly raise and handle local COPA funds.
Fiduciary Responsibilities  2 hrs  This webinar will cover the fiduciary and legal responsibilities of union officers, the LMRDA, and the APWU Constitution. This webinar is strongly recommended for all new officers and executive board members.
Insurance & Benefits  1 hr This webinar will discuss insurance requirements and benefits that can be provided to members, including supplemental insurance and a 401k plan for officers.
IRS Reports  1.5 hrs This webinar will review the most commonly required IRS reports.
Local Constitution  1.5 hrs This webinar will cover the structure and requirements of a local constitution. 
It will also review common constitution issues.
LM-4 Report  1.5 hrs  The LM-4 is the annual financial report required by the Department of Labor for unions that take in less than $10,000 in annual receipts. Learn the essentials about this form so you complete it properly.
LM-3 Report  2 hrs  The LM-3 is the annual financial report required by the Department of Labor for unions that take in between $10,000 and $150,000 in annual receipts. 
Learn the essentials about this form so you complete it properly.
LM-2 Report  1 hr  The LM-2 is the annual financial report required by the Department of Labor for unions that take in over $250,000 in annual receipts. Learn the essentials about this form so you complete it properly.
Recording Secretaries’ Duties   1.5 hrs  This webinar will address the proper way to take meeting minutes, the importance of standing motions, and how to maintain meeting records.
Tax Exempt Status  1 hr  This webinar will explain what tax-exempt status is and how to reinstate a local’s tax exempt status if it has been revoked by the IRS.
Travel Policy   1 hr  This webinar will address establishing a policy governing travel and business expenses in accordance with Department of Labor and IRS regulations.
Trustees Training   1.5 hrs  This webinar will explain how to conduct an internal union audit and the responsibilities of trustees.
Union Elections   2 hrs  This webinar will assist election committee members in understanding the laws and constitutional regulations concerning local elections.

What Unions Should Be Doing in November and December

As 2015 quickly draws to a close, locals are reminded to take care of important housekeeping tasks for the new year. Here is a quick reminder of what locals should be doing in November and December:

  • Review the 2015 budget and prepare a 2016 budget if your fiscal year ends Dec. 31, 2015;
  • Shred financial records prior to 2011 (remember, you must keep financial records for five years plus the current year);
  • Update local asset inventory and dispose of old and broken equipment and furniture with a properly approved motion;
  • Archive the minutes of membership and executive board meetings for 2015, and
  • Prepare your calendar of activities and deadlines for 2016.

Locals that need assistance with these tasks should contact the APWU Secretary-Treasurer’s office at (202) 842-4215.

Happy holidays from Elizabeth “Liz” Powell and the staff of the Secretary-Treasurer’s Department.

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