National Executive Board Removes Constitution Provision in Conflict with Law
04/04/2012 - The National Executive Board (NEB) has removed from the APWU Constitution & Bylaws a provision that was in conflict with federal law. In response to a local election challenge, the Department of Labor ruled on Jan. 11, 2011, that a portion of Article 3.1 could not be fairly enforced, and, therefore, implementing its provisions would violate the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
The language in question was intended to prevent union members who are receiving pay from the OWCP (Office of Workers Compensation) from maintaining “good-standing” status if they fail to pay union dues. Only union members in “good standing” are eligible to vote in union elections.
The Department of Labor (DOL) concluded that the local had no way of knowing whether members were receiving pay from the OWCP. The local “does not, nor can it, collect information as to whether a member is being paid through OWCP,” the DOL wrote. “The employer is under no obligation to make such a report to the union, and, due to privacy law restrictions, OWCP will not release information concerning individual payments to the union.”
As a result of the DOL ruling, the NEB deleted the following phrase from Article 3.1 of the APWU Constitution:
(except for members on the automatic rolls or receiving pay for an approved on-the-job-injury from the Department of Labor – Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs)
In making the change, the NEB exercised its authority under Article 22.2 of the union’s constitution, which permits the board to act between conventions to remove conflicts between the union’s bylaws and applicable federal or state law.
Locals are advised that they should not enforce the deleted provision.