It’s That Time Again
(This article first appeared in the January-February 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)
By Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell
Each year, this department seeks to assist local officers in performing the administrative duties they were elected to do. All the listed chores are essential to running your local or state union. Once you start scheduling, you will be surprised how easy it is to keep up with your local duties.
W-2s and 1099s must be issued by Jan. 31. The W-2 form is used to document income earned by union employees. Similarly, the 1099 form is used to detail the amount of income that is earned by independent consultants hired by the union. Understanding the difference in tax payment accountability between a full-time (W-2) and contract (1099) employee is important because the union must withhold and pay taxes for employees, but only has to report income to the IRS for non-employees.
The LM Reports for 2017 must be electronically submitted. The LM report is an annual financial report required to be filed by the Department of Labor. The LM 2, 3, or 4 for 2017 must be electronically submitted by March 31, 2018. Complete instructions for electronically submitting these forms are available at http://www.apwu.org/issues/department-labor.
Your 2018 budget. Part of responsible management of the local’s funds requires that the budget be reviewed and prepared for the next year. A budget committee usually consists of the president or vice president, treasurer, and some knowledgeable officers and members. The final budget is presented to the executive board for review, then voted and approved by the membership.
Meeting calendars (general membership, executive board and training). It is best to map out the meeting schedule for the local at the beginning of the year, rather than do it on a month-to-month basis. This permits local officials to schedule around holidays or other events that would probably result in poor attendance. It also allows your members to adjust their personal schedules so they can attend. Advance scheduling will help local leaders avoid conflicts with other meetings.
Conference and convention schedule for the upcoming year. Advance planning for upcoming training seminars and conventions is critical in making sure that local members can schedule for them.
Shred old financial records and grievances. Federal law requires that local officials keep original hard copy or electronic files of all its financial records for five years. After five years, these records should be shredded or disposed of, because they contain personal information that could result in identity theft. (Any building title documents and other real estate papers should be kept as long as the property is owned by the local). Additionally, disposing of hard copy files will free up significant storage space. Large quantities of hard copy files should be shredded by a commercial company. Electronic files should be fully and completely erased. Closed grievance files older than five years should also be disposed of and shredded.
Update local inventory of assets. Did the local purchase any equipment, furniture, or other items with a value in excess of $500 dollars last year? In accounting, fixed assets do not necessarily mean immovable; any asset expected to last, or be in use for, more than one year is considered a fixed asset. Every time these types of items are purchased for the local union, they should be recorded in your inventory of union assets.
Archive membership and executive board minutes. The minutes of your executive board meetings and membership meetings are legal records of the operations of your union. Because these minutes will contain the motions passed to authorize spending local funds, they are also financial records. Unlike regular financial records – which are required to be kept for five years – your minutes should be kept forever, as they document the history of your union.