Department & Division News

What Happens to COPA Requests?

(This article first appeared in the January-February 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

It was a pleasure to spend time with APWU brothers and sisters at the All-Craft Conference. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to discuss our legislative and political goals and efforts, both on the national level and in individual districts.

Spending time with folks from our locals, chapters and state organizations made me feel recharged and gave me valuable insight that will be relayed to members of Congress as discussions on postal issues continue.

I would like to say a special thank you to our retirees and to Retirees Director Judy Beard for including me in the very successful retiree training program. I find retiree training very productive because the retirees get training they want and need – and active members benefit greatly from our retirees’ experiences in successfully advancing our union.

COPA Requests

It was brought to my attention at the National President’s Conference that the assembled delegates had a great interest in understanding the process that takes place when there is a request that COPA contributions be allocated to candidates for political office.

Requests for COPA contributions made to the Legislative and Political Department are evaluated as soon as possible. In cases involving sitting members of Congress, the first thing we consider is their record of support for legislation that benefits postal workers and the working class. In cases involving other candidates, we consider their responses to an APWU candidate’s questionnaire, which gauges their position on postal, federal, retiree and worker issues.

We also consider how competitive a candidate’s race is, the committees he or she serves on, the leadership positions he or she holds, and the amount of money in the COPA fund. Recommendations are sent to President Dimondstein, who evaluates them.

If necessary, the president meets with the legislative director, who provides any additional information and answers any questions the president may have. The department recommendations that the president approves are included in a packet assembled for each COPA Committee member.

Then, a COPA Committee meeting is held as soon as members are available. The committee evaluates each name on the list of approved recommendations, and votes to accept or reject them.

After approval of contributions, the Legislative Department contacts the campaigns and decides how to use the contribution to maximum effect in advancing the interests of postal workers. Arrangements are made for those locals, chapters and states that want to present the check to their respective candidates. Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules govern where and in what time frame checks may be presented to candidates.

Government Shutdown Avoided

An October a deal on several budgetary issues prevented yet another destructive federal government shutdown. Thankfully, the bill doesn’t contain cuts to federal and postal workers’ pay and benefits as recent budgets have. It also ensures that 11 million Americans on Social Security Disability Insurance, who would have experienced a 20 percent cut in 2016, continue to receive full benefits through 2022.

APWU Executive Board Corrects the Record

APWU Legislative and Political Director John L. Marcotte submitted an article for publication in the last issue of The American Postal Worker magazine (November-December 2015) entitled A Change of Heart for the NLRB? Much of that article contained language that was identical or virtually identical to an article entitled Obama Labor Board Flexes Its Muscles, written by Timothy Noah and Brian Mahoney and published in Politico on Sept. 1, 2015.

Director Marcotte’s article did not give attribution to the authors or Politico. Using written material authored by another and published elsewhere without attribution cannot and will not be condoned by the APWU. The APWU extends its sincere apologies to the authors and to Politico.