Category Archives: Latest News

Latest News and Articles relevant to the APWU Retirees.

Stop Drug Company Price-Gouging

Alliance for Retired Americans

As you’ve probably heard, we recently celebrated a victory. Alliance members made thousands of phone calls and participated in demonstrations — and our efforts helped force the Senate to reject their destructive Obamacare repeal bill.

But the battle for affordable, quality health care isn’t over. Drug corporations are raking in huge profits at the expense of seniors and all Americans, forcing us to pay astronomical amounts for essential prescription drugs like EpiPen and diabetes medications. Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world.

That’s why we need your help. Will you please take action and sign this petition saying that you support requiring Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices?

Last year, the CEO of Mylan, the company that makes EpiPen, received $97.6 million in compensation, yet Mylan charged $608 for a two-pack of its medicine. Humalog Insulin was accused of fixing insulin prices during the same period that it took in $2.7 billion of profits. Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, summed it up best when he explained why his company had i nflated the price of its HIV/cancer drug by 5,000 percent: “almost all of it is profit.”

Drug companies have shown again and again that they will put profits ahead of patients. This won’t change unless we modify the rules and require Medicare to negotiate lower prices. Please click to sign the petition, before it’s too late.

Thank you for your activism and your support.

Richard Fiesta
Executive Director
Alliance for Retired Americans

APWU e-Team Weekly – December 2014 Edition

APWU e-Team News Update

December 20, 2014


Before Congress adjourned on Dec. 16, senators and representatives approved a government spending bill that also weakens restrictions on the big banks that crashed the economy in 2008, allows mega-donors to make substantially bigger contributions to political candidates, and reduces pensions for some current retirees.

But Congress fled the capital without addressing urgent postal issues, despite unrelenting efforts by the four postal unions.  The unions’ strategy ran on two tracks:

  • We sought to include a one-year moratorium on a reduction in service standards and plant closings in a spending bill that Congress had to pass to avoid a government shut-down;
  • We also worked to hammer out agreement on a stand-alone postal bill.

The situation is urgent because the lower service standards are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 5. In addition to disrupting the lives of thousands of postal employees whose work assignments will be changed, the reduction in service standards will slow mail throughout the country and virtually eliminate overnight delivery of first-class mail. It also will set the stage for the closure of 82 mail processing plants.

Despite the explicit demands of 51 senators and 178 representatives, and the untiring efforts of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. John Tester (D-MT), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) and others, the spending bill doesn’t include the moratorium.

“It’s an outrage,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Eight years after Congress ginned up a fake financial crisis for the Postal Service, its members still refuse to take even the smallest steps to prevent a major hit on this great national treasure.”

While the spending bill encourages the Postal Service to conduct required impact studies before closing the facilities, the “encouragement” doesn’t carry the force of law. (The USPS neglected to conduct up-to-date studies with the requisite community input before approving the plants for closure.)

“In keeping with its dismal record, the 113th Congress closed out its final days by shirking its responsibility to protect the timely delivery of U.S. Mail and the millions of people who depend on it,” Dimondstein said.

Efforts to pass a stand-alone postal bill also fell short.

“While the legislative effort was unsuccessful, we appreciate the work of APWU activists who made the case for a moratorium with lawmakers,” said Legislative and Political Director John Marcotte. “Thanks to that outreach, we have newly strengthened relationships with many congressional offices and now, the bipartisan ranks of legislators saying ‘no’ to postal cuts stands in the hundreds.  Despite this missed opportunity, our support for lasting, commonsense postal reform that benefits all Americans is not diminished,” he said.

Dimondstein looked to the future. “While Congress has failed to act, our campaign against the Postal Service’s disastrous cuts to America’s mail goes forward,” he said. “The APWU remains committed to working with our sister postal unions and supporters to fight for a vibrant, public Postal Service.  Whether it’s in the halls of Congress, at facilities scheduled for closure, at rallies across the country, or in the lobby of Postal Service headquarters, we will continue to tell a much-needed truth: the Postal Service cannot cut its way to prosperity.

“America’s businesses, consumers, and communities deserve postal innovation and they demand prompt, reliable service,” the union president said. “That’s why independent agencies such as the USPS Office of Inspector General repeatedly highlight the flaws in the Postmaster General’s plans.

“And that’s why new allies, such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, continue to join the movement against the looming mail slowdown and consolidations. Together with our allies, the APWU is fighting the cuts, community by community and plant by plant, to preserve good service and good jobs.

The Vows: The Spiritual Side of the Alter, written by Mary Robinson, on sale now

The Vows: The Spiritual Side of the Alter, written by Mary Robinson, on sale now.  Get your copy today.

Mary Robinson is an Author who discovered her talent for writing after retiring from the U. S. Postal Service, where she worked for 37 years. She’s a graduate of Miami Dade College, she has a Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration. She hosted her own Internet Radio Show on blogtalkradio.com, called “Keeping It Real” one of the largest internet Radio shows online, she’s also a Notary Republic for the State of Florida.

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Gone Postal (A Documentary to Save the People’s Post Office)

Gone Postal (A Documentary to Save the People’s Post Office)
Son of a postal worker, Jay Galione, brings you the stories of courageous workers standing up to injustice and fighting to Save the People’s Post Office.

If you want to see this story told, please give a small amount at our IndieGoGo campaign. Safe and Secure Contributions to Independent Media and Arts.

To Contribute by US Mail:
Checks Payable to: Post Truth, LLC
P.O. Box 513 Rosendale, NY 12474

Postal Workers: Now is the Time to Get Involved!

(This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Debby Szeredy, Executive Vice President

For many years most of our membership has left too much of the fighting for jobs, better wages and our rights and benefits to stewards and officers. It’s not enough. We all have to do more.

Times have changed. We have fought off privatization for years. We have come up against a government that has caved in to large corporations, bankers, and large discount mailers. The Postal Board of Governors, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Republican-controlled House with Privatizer-in-Chief Rep. Issa (R-CA) and even the Democratic-controlled Senate, with Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R- OK) paving the way for the same privatizers, have to be held accountable. We even have the president of the United States compromising government employees, including postal workers.

We are at a critical time in our history, where the survival of the Postal Service and our very jobs and futures are at stake. That is why we are calling out to you, the members, to get involved now. Writing letters to your legislators is important, but it is not enough. You need to attend your union meetings. You need to sign up non-union members who work side-by-side with you. There are 42,000 of them, and they need to do their share in this fight, too.

How to Do It

We must save the Postal Service and to do so we must reach out to our community groups, families, friends and neighbors. We need to help our local, state and national union at pickets, protests, and actions that will help save America’s Postal Service. We must help people see that an attack on their public mail service is an attack aimed at the poor, veterans, seniors, the disabled, low-wage workers, union workers, small business owners, and people who live in rural and urban areas. All of the United States will suffer if there is no Postal Service. We must build a powerful movement with the people of this country to save the Postal Service.

We need to rebuild service by reopening facilities that were consolidated or closed. We need to stop the Staples privatization ploy, and assign postal workers to do postal work. We must fight to add postal banking, notary, licenses, and broadband access to the services the USPS offers. The Postal Service must restore and expand business hours. Our customers need affordable, efficient and prompt service as outlined in the Postal Reorganization Act. They need post offices, which were established by the Constitution of the United States.

Want to get active? Here are a dozen things you can choose from:

  1. Get involved in your local union. Attend union meetings to stay informed.
  2. Check out www.apwu.org for the latest updates and actions.
  3. Visit the Stop Staples website at www.StopStaples.com.
  4. File a complaint about delayed mail with the Postal Regulatory Commission. (See the Vice President’s page at www.apwu.org for more information.)
  5. Write letters to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Go to the “Contact Your Legislators” shortcut at www.apwu.org.
  6. Join organizing committees and coalitions to save the Postal Service.
  7. Sign up new members to join the union.
  8. Ask your local union if you can help spread the word by becoming involved in your central labor council.
  9. Ask your local union if you can help spread the word by writing letters to the editor.
  10. Ask your faith group and/or community organization to become involved with the movement to Save America’s Postal Service.
  11. Participate in petition drives, rallies, protests, press conference, visits to elected officials, town hall meetings, and on social media to advance the cause of saving the Postal Service.
  12. Educate your children, friends and families on the importance to them of having a vibrant public Postal Service.

This is a fight for our very survival. It doesn’t matter if you are near retirement age or a PSE hoping to be converted to career; everything is on the line. If we let them privatize the Postal Service, none of us are safe. It is up to each of us to do our share to build a successful movement to save the Postal Service, to turn it around, and provide the American people with the postal services they deserve.

It is time for all of us to “Ask not what your union can do for you; ask what you can do for your union and the American people.”

We need you now!

College Offers Discounts

(This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Joyce B. Robinson, Research & Education Director

Excelsior College is an accredited, nonprofit, distance-learning institution that caters to working adults. The Postal Service’s partnership with Excelsior College enables USPS employees and their spouses or domestic partners to pursue an online degree with reduced tuition and fees. Associates, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs are available in the schools of Business and Technology, Public Service, Liberal Arts, Health Sciences, and Nursing.

The online business degrees emphasize practical skills and knowledge and focus on accounting, finance, global business and management of human resources, operations management, risk management, and marketing information systems.

Excelsior offers transfer terms for credits that students have earned at other accredited colleges; awards academic credit for prior military service, professional training courses, and other real-world experience; grants credit by exam, so students can earn full credit for subjects they’ve already mastered, and conducts degree classes online, so students can adapt them to their schedule and budget.

Students pursuing an Associate Degree in Business will learn:

  • Effective communication skills;
  • Principles of accounting, business law, computers, management, and marketing;
  • Principles of macroeconomics, microeconomics, and statistics;
  • Business problem solving;
  • About diverse cultural heritage, interpersonal relationships, the relationship between business and society, and personal values to make intelligent and discerning judgments, and
  • Computer applications used in business.

A total of 60 credits are required to graduate, including 33 in arts and sciences, 21 business component credits, and 6 electives, including a mandatory 1-credit information literacy course.

Tuition, Deadlines

A one-time application fee of $80 and enrollment fee of $130 are required to cover the processing of an application, evaluation of transferred credits, academic advisement, and academic program planning for the first year. Tuition is $360 per credit for course work. A Student Service Annual Fee is not required, provided the student completes a minimum of six course credits within the one-year period. If the student does not complete six course credits within the one-year period, a Student Service Annual Fee of $225 will be applied the subsequent year.

The Graduation Fee is $130 for program partners but reverts to the Standard Rate of $495 if the student does not complete a minimum of 12 course credits prior to the completion of his or her degree program. In the event the Graduation Fee reverts to the Standard Rate, this fee will be reduced by $15 per academic credit for each undergraduate course successfully completed. This fee reduction does not apply to academic credits transferred to Excelsior College.

There is no deadline for enrollment for the 8- and 15- week terms. Students may enroll as soon as they receive the results of their preliminary review, which shows how prior credits may apply toward a degree. Immediately upon beginning the application process, tell Excelsior’s admissions teams that you are with the United States Postal Service’s partnership in order to receive the partnership tuition and fee pricing.

Financial aid is available regardless of income, with low interest rates and flexible payment options. The best place to start is by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You can find the form and additional information by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov or call 1-855-323-9235.

Excelsior College offers more than 20 scholarships for a wide variety of programs. For more information, visit the scholarship programs page on the college’s website at www.excelsior.edu/scholarships.

For more information, including specifics on discounts, visit www.excelsior.edu/web/partners/united-states-postal-service or call 1-888-647-2388 ext. 21.

Beware of Candidates’ Misleading Appeals

(This article appears in the May-June 2014 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

Judy Beard, Retirees Director

The Nov. 4 midterm elections are quickly approaching. Our vote is critical and can affect the outcome of the election.

Don’t be fooled by candidates with attractive campaign literature and broad statements painting themselves as a savior to seniors in order to lure our vote. You know the ads I’m talking about.

Also, beware of people who knock on your door or address community meetings speaking half-truths about their positions. Many candidates will be seeking retirees’ votes, when in fact their voting record proved that they do not support seniors.

A Case in Point

I remember too well when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, proposed a budget plan that would end Medicare as we know it. His 2011 proposal included what is best described as a voucher system for future seniors.

Votes on Rep. Ryan’s 2011 budget fell strictly along party lines: Republicans supported the measure; Democrats opposed it.

Today, Congressman Ryan is at it again. On April 1 he circulated a new budget proposal that would replace Medicare with a voucher system. It also would raise the age of eligibility to receive Medicare, and it would re-open the donut hole in coverage for prescription drugs.

The Ryan budget plan would impact people age 56 and younger. We all have family members and former co-workers under the age of 55. There is no justification for cutting their benefits. We know that as we age, we need our medical benefits more than ever.

Let’s tell Congress that they can fix the national deficit by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

We thank Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who said, “Medicare and Medicaid are not the drivers of health care costs.” She further stated:

“They are growing more slowly than the rest of the health care sector overall. That’s been true for decades. Since the Affordable Care Act, they are growing much more slowly than private-sector spending.”

Today, as Congress debates reducing the deficit, in addition to taxing the wealthy, the legislature could find significant savings in drug costs. However, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which created the Medicare part D drug program, explicitly prohibits the government from negotiating lower prices under Medicare.

Don’t Be a Victim

Are you at risk of being scammed? Do you know how to protect your savings?

SaveAndInvest.org is a free resource designed to help people make informed financial decisions; it is empowered by the federal government to ensure that investors are protected. The Alliance for Retired Americans supports its efforts. The company’s literature includes helpful hints to avoid fraud. If you believe that you have been defrauded or treated unfairly – or if you suspect that someone you know has been taken in by a scam – be sure to send a written complaint to a securities regulator.
– See more at: http://www.apwu.org/news/deptdiv-news-article/beware-candidates-misleading-appeals#sthash.EpeSrPwh.dpuf

Message from State Legislative Director Dave Bernstein

From APWU National…a request to please contact your House Representatives and ask them to CO-SPONSOR & SUPPORT HR 1351.

Everyone’s help is needed in building support on Capitol Hill for a very important piece of legislation introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (Dem., Mass.) HR 1351 is a bill that addresses the current financial crisis facing the Postal Service, as well as correcting the methodology used by OPM which has led to overpayments into the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) of over $50 billion dollars and overpayments of over $7 billion dollars into the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).

Please use the link below to go to our Congressional Contact site and send an email to your House Member urging him/her to become a co-sponsor to this bill. Follow the instruction on the site and it will take only a couple of minutes of your time to send a message that National has written for you, or you can write one in your own words. Please take action as soon as possible as this matter must be resolved by congress before this fiscal year comes to a close.  www.Capwiz.com/apwu/issues/alert/

This is not a Democratic or Republican matter.  This is a matter of saving the U.S. Postal Service and saving your job.  It is so important that we are being asked to not only e-mail and call, but to actually make an appointment with your local congress person or staff person in charge of Postal Matters at their Home Office…take either other members of your family who can vote or other postal members…if you are not registered to vote DO SO IMMEDIATELY.  Explain that H.R. 1351 would require repayment of the surplus monies to the USPS, which would then allow the USPS to use those funds to meet its obligations. These are not TAXPAYER’S Monies…these are the USPS’s Monies. Let your Local know what the response was from your Congressperson.  Failure to act will result in you letting yourself, your family and the American public down….Help save the United States Postal Service and your Job.  It is vital that you immediately take action.

Just as important as being for a bill is to oppose a very bad bill that has come out of committee. H.R. 2309 would decimate the U.S. Postal Service.  It is imperative to contact your Representative and ask them to vote NO on H.R. 2309.  You can call toll free to 1-866-220-0044 and ask to be connected to your Congressperson.

About 33-40% of our members are Registered Republicans. The Agenda for the current Republican Party is to do away with Organized Labor.  We, the Unions set the standard for those who are not represented by Unions…just remember every Right that we lose we will never get back in our lifetime.  The Unions are neither Democrats nor Republicans.  They support those that support Labor’s causes….however, in recent years, while we have supported some “maverick” Republicans; for the most part it is the more liberal Democrat that is concerned with the working class. We need more support for COPA…just $52.00 a year ($2.00 per pay period) will help in the fight with Congress.  We need to educate our membership about the issues and the Legislative issues supported by our APWU                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: Washington could cost you hundreds of dollars each year…You may have seen in the NEWS…as part of the big budget agreement, leaders in Washington are considering altering the way COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS (COLAs) are calculated in Social Security.  But what you may not know is that a change in the COLA calculations would also affect YOU and your FEDERAL RETIREMENT ANNUITY.  Don’t be silent! Call your members of Congress today…It’s easy and only takes a few minutes.  Use the toll-free numbers below and follow the instructions.

Step 1: Dial 1-866-220-0044 for the Capitol.  Ask the operator to connect you to your representative’s office or supply your ZIP code.

Step 2:  Tell the staff person who answers the telephone where you live.  So he/she knows you are a constituent.  Then say something like this:

I am a (ACTIVE/RETIRED) Federal Employee and I am calling because I would like to voice my opposition to any attempt to change the way cost-of-living adjustments in the federal retirement program are calculated.  A COLA change would hurt millions of retired federal workers who protect America and would drive qualified, talented public employees out of the federal workforce.

Step 3:  Hang up, then call again, and ask for one of your Senator’s Offices and repeat the script above…Then call your other Senator.

Step 4:  Call the White House at 1-888-225-8418 – Four calls can take less than 15 minutes, so call today.

This is not the time to sit on the side lines and let the other person do the work…it must be a united front…everyone must make the calls…it’s your jobs…it’s your future!

Life Insurance Beneficiaries May Be Due Additional Payments

Source: www.apwu.org/news/webart/2014/14-003-lifeinsurancesuit-140113.htm

Notice of Class Action Lawsuit:
Life Insurance Beneficiaries May Be Due Additional Payments

APWU Web News Article #003-14, Jan. 13, 2014

APWU has been asked to notify our members of a private class action lawsuit on behalf of beneficiaries of certain deceased postal employees.

The lawsuit covers the beneficiaries of deceased APWU and NALC bargaining unit members who were employed by the Postal Service during the period that the Annuity Protection Plan was in effect, from July 21, 1981, through Nov. 20, 1994.

The life insurance beneficiaries of deceased postal employees may be entitled to additional life insurance benefits or interest on their benefits.

For more information, click here [PDF]. You can obtain additional details by e-mailing Class Counsel at classaction@steinmitchell.com.

NOTE: All inquiries regarding this matter should be referred to Class Counsel, not APWU.