Officers and representatives from nearly every NPMHU Local Union gathered in Tucson, Arizona in early December to participate in the latest Semi-Annual Meeting of the Local Unions (SAMLU). The first order of business was the installation of officers comprising the NPMHU’s newly elected National Executive Board. NPMHU President Emeritus John Hegarty was on hand at the SAMLU meeting to officiate the ceremony to install all seven members on the National Executive Board (NEB).
This marks the start of a four-year term that will expire toward the end of 2020. Returning National Officers Paul Hogrogian, Mark Gardner, Lawrence Sapp, David Wilkin, and John Gibson welcomed the newest members of the NEB, June Harris and Don Sneesby, who recently prevailed in elections for Central and Western Region Vice Presidents, respectively.
After the installation ceremony, National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner took the podium to announce his decision to retire effective March 31, 2017. Gardner spoke passionately about this very difficult decision. He updated SAMLU attendees on the status of many major projects pending at the National Office, such as finalizing the 2016 National Agreement and related dues and wage increases; negotiating the hotel contract for the 2020 NPMHU quadrennial National Convention in Denver, CO; converting the Union’s computer operations from the antiquated AS400 membership database to a new server based network system; completing internal audit and related 2016 LM-2 filings due on March 31, 2017; implementing a cloud-based e-mail server system to streamline and secure communications at a reduced cost; and completing OPM’s mandated accreditation of the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan. Gardner said, “I thought it was important for me to stick around to see these important projects to fruition. I will also be around to coordinate various transition issues with each of the departments in our National Office to ensure that my successor is prepared to hit the ground running on April 1st.”
President Hogrogian went on announce that, by a unanimous vote of the NEB, National CAD Representative and Shop Steward Trainer Tim Dwyer was selected to fill the forthcoming vacancy as National Secretary-Treasurer effective April 1, 2017. Before working for the National Office, Brother Dwyer served as both Treasurer and President of Local 301 in New England. Dwyer spoke briefly about the appointment. “I am deeply honored and humbled by the Board’s vote and support shown by this appointment. I have large shoes to fill. But I am looking forward to the opportunity and will work hard for you, brothers and sisters,” said Dwyer.
National President Paul Hogrogian then focused the meeting on his comprehensive report to the assembly, which focused on the activities of the National Union during the past several months. Hogrogian began his remarks with a substantive review of topics that directly impact the status of ongoing collective bargaining to include, the financial position of the Postal Service and its recent revenue surplus of approximately $200 million absent consideration of the unfunded balance in the retiree health fund.
President Hogrogian also spoke about the status of Postal Reform legislation and likelihood of success in Congress’ lame-duck session. He went on to elaborate on the components of the consensus bill and its impact on facility closures and consolidations and its potential impact on national negotiations. President Hogrogian provided a comprehensive update on the status of collective bargaining noting that the Union and USPS have reached a tentative agreement on the majority of the contract issues. Due to the sensitivity of some unresolved issues, however, the NPMHU will release these contract specific details in a Special Edition Update. “We expect to have a contract worthy of a ratification vote in the very near future,” said President Hogrogian. These details will be shared with all Local Presidents by conference call, posted on the website, and distributed to all members very soon. Lastly, Hogrogian addressed the recent U.S. Presidential Election and impact of a Republican controlled House and Senate, not to mention the long-term impact of forthcoming Supreme Court appointments. “The next few years will be extremely rocky, and we will need to provide resistance at all levels,” said Hogrogian.
Following the National President’s report, National Secretary-Treasurer Mark Gardner provided his 48th and last finance presentation on a variety of topics, including the NPMHU financial statements for the quarter ending September 30, 2016; an updated presentation and analysis related to Mail Handler complement, with particular emphasis placed on the importance of organizing recently hired MHAs; a review of membership trends and revenue allocation among our Union’s affiliated organizations, including the revenue sharing program; and upcoming printing and meeting/training schedules.
Contract Administration Department Manager T.J. Branch then provided a report on the activities of that department since the last meeting of the Local Unions, addressing and taking questions on each of the following issues: cases pending at the national level; voting leave for primary caucuses; RI-399 — Jurisdictional Disputes; the Wounded Warrior Leave Act of 2015; the new vender for Flexible Spending Accounts; new Family Medical Leave Act forms; the new onboarding process known as Welcome to USPS (W2USPS); and new MTE Return Handling procedures initiated by the USPS.
On Saturday, December 10, 2016, the third day of meetings, the NPMHU conducted a comprehensive training program focusing on Local Memorandum of Understanding negotiations. National trainers Tim Dwyer, John Gibson, and T.J. Branch led discussions on a variety of important issues pertaining to the Union’s Article 30 rights to locally negotiate on 20 specific items.