REPORT FROM THE 2008 FLORIDA STATE SPRING SEMINAR
March 13, 2008
I have just returned from the 2008 Florida State Spring Seminar held in beautiful Celebration, Florida.
Special thanks go to Raul Sierra, President of the Central Florida Area Local #1462, and all his members who provided
terrific hospitality to all. Everyone agreed that the food and the generous hospitality
suite were simply awesome!
For those unable to attend, I will report on what happened at the seminar. We were fortunate to have
many of our National Officers and Business Agents in attendance, including ‘Cliff’ Guffy (National Vice President),
Mike Morris (Assistant Clerk Craft Director), Steve Raymer (Maintenance Craft Director), Bill Sullivan (Southern Region Coordinator), Tony Carobine (PPA),
Randi Sutphin (Parliamentarian), NBAs Bob Bloomer, Marie Robbins, Pat
Davis-Weeks, Terry Marinez, and Charlie Robbins. Paula
Jones, a former APWU State President, taught a Function 4 class. I hope I didn’t
Cliff Guffy spoke at length on the importance of COPA and the political outlook for our great APWU. It is always nice to see Cliff, a down to earth guy who blends in with our membership
and has a firm understanding of our work issues. Bill Sullivan informed us of arbitration issues that will be heard in the near future. His office sends your Officers
updates with the arbitration awards at least once per week. These are helpful
and informative, and I for one have used these on many occasions. Mike Morris
probably had the most to say, and as always, the crowds were anxious to listen. Mike
is easy to understand and leaves no stone unturned. Mike spoke on (i) how the
political arena is as important as our contractual arena, (ii) a bill that is in Congress right now, the HR 4236 that deals
with anti-subcontracting, and (iii) the importance of giving to COPA. This APWU
fund helps get our voices heard in Washington and around the country. If all of our members gave just
one dollar per pay period, we would really be a force to be reckoned with!
We must oppose those who are trying to dilute the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) within the federal
government. This bill signed by President Clinton in 1993 is touted as one of
the best pro worker/pro family bills in history. Things that have been proposed that would dilute the FMLA are:
- Employees with chronic health conditions could be
required to see their doctors more frequently than the current one time per year and would have to pay for these visits.
- Employers could give authorization to people of their
choosing to demand the information to support FMLA absences, as opposed to the current only medical professionals.
Mike also gave an update on the issue of casuals. The APWU’s position is that casual employees
cannot work between the hours of 0500-noon (in 200 man-year offices). The USPS’s
stance on this issue is that casuals can work and end their shifts into these hours.
Arbitrator Das is due to hear this case in the very near future. Another
casual issue is that the APWU says that Clerks can work into penalty pay (v time) prior to utilizing casuals on overtime. Of course, the USPS feels differently. The
APWU’s stance on casuals not being able to work in positions that require formalized training (i.e. schemes, windows)
has the USPS stating that they feel that casuals can do these types of jobs in less than 200 man-year offices. The APWU says “NO WAY!”
There was talk about the nightmare called Shared Services. For 14 months, Shared Services knew that
the upgrades were coming, yet they are not reflected on the bids. Most all of
the bids are still missing key elements such as principal assignment areas, work locations, and duties to name a few.
In fewer than 200 man-year offices, we were successful in getting a Local Memorandum of Understanding
(LMOU) for Members at Large (MAL) offices. These are locals that are not covered by an Area Local. I reported on that issue recently and now we are actively attempting enforcement. We, your State Business Agents, need to hear from locals that do not have an LMOU
in place. This written LMOU, signed by both union and management, will give you the rights that you deserve.
Pat Davis-Weeks, Bob Bloomer, and Marie Robbins
held some great classes and positive feedback was heard around the floor. Pat,
Bob, Marie and Bill Sullivan are all out of our great State of Florida--how sweet it is to be represented by our very own!! The Maintenance classes were also a hit, as
was the PPA class. I heard good things about Paula Jones’ class on preserving Function 4 work and things you should
and should not do on the window—things like remembering to scan up to ten items individually as opposed to 10 quantity,
using your stand-by key when appropriate, and continuing to use your non-automated transaction keys.
There will be more training on the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM). We could sure avoid many issues if this manual was interpreted the way it was written.
Remember to talk to a non-member whenever you get an opportunity.
This is the perfect time for them to join our ranks. We are due a cost
of living increase of $479.00 which goes into effect on March 15th and will show up in the April 4th
paychecks. The level upgrades are now in effect and this alone is an increase
of approximately $1100.00 per level per year. With an increase of almost $1500.00
this past month, this IS the time for us to forge together as the voice of the APWU.
Executive Vice President
Citrus Center Area Local #3799