Article 3, Membership
(This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2017 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell
Membership in the APWU determines who can vote, run for office, and attend meetings to discuss and decide the business of the union. There are four primary categories of membership in the APWU: postal employees, full, part-time, Members-at-Large (MALs) and Postal Support Employee (PSE); cash pay members, full-time local/state officers and retired full-dues paying members; Retiree Department members and Associate (Health Plan) Members.
Article 3 of the National Constitution of APWU contains the guiding language regarding membership.
SEC. 1. Any non-supervisory employee, regardless of level or grade, within the jurisdictional claim of the APWU is eligible for membership. There is no requirement to automatically accept any eligible member’s application. The members of the local or state union must approve a membership application. Many local unions have standing motions to accept all applications for membership unless challenged.
Local and state unions may establish their own dues structure, which is independent of the national union per capita tax or dues.
A member’s good standing status is not affected if their postal wages for a pay period are insufficient to deduct dues by reason of illness, injury, military leave, pregnancy leave, lay-off, disciplinary suspension, or workers compensation. The members’ dues are waived – both local and national.
SEC. 2 (a) No person can be denied membership because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, handicap, political affiliation, age, or religion.
SEC. 3. Local unions may confer honorary membership but these members cannot hold office, serve as delegates or vote.
SEC. 4. (b) The constitution of APWU permits a retired member to have all the rights of membership as long as full dues are paid to the national union and whatever dues are required by the locals. A retired member must satisfy this requirement to hold any local, state or national office.
(d) Retired members who wish to become full-dues paying members of their former locals must apply for reinstatement with dues assessed from the date of reinstatement.
(e) Retired members may join the APWU Retiree Department and only pay $36 a year. Retiree members have limited membership rights and may vote for the following national officers, President, Executive Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Legislative & Political Director, Human Relations Director, and APWU Health Plan Director, as well as regional retiree convention delegates only. Retiree Department members may form local and state retiree chapters.
SEC. 5. Federal-Classified, EAS, Mail Handler, Carrier, Rural Carrier and tribal or tribal organization employees may be accepted as Associate Members for Health Plan participation only. Associate members have no membership rights within the union. They are only special members allowed to enroll in the health plan.
SEC. 6. If a member works at an office that is not within the jurisdiction of a local or area local union, these Members-at-Large are represented by their respective state union.
SEC. 7. Every member is assigned to a craft/division.