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Maintaining a Financially Sound Local

11/02/2018 - (This article first appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell

One of the overwhelming responsibilities of all officers, shop stewards and representatives of the union is to ensure it holds its money and property solely for the benefit of the union and its members. When union officials express an interest in leadership positions, they inherit the responsibilities entrusted to them, which includes maintaining a financially sound local...Make sure you mark your calendar for any of the 2019 national training seminars the Secretary-Treasurer's department will be scheduling. In addition to the scheduled training opportunities, local unions can also schedule training webinars. Please contact Annette August-Taylor, Executive Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer, at 202-842-4215 or via email to

What Does It Mean to Be a 501(c)(5) Organization?

How Unrelated Business Income Can Jeopardize Tax-Exempt Status

05/01/2018 - (This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine) 

By Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell 

IRS 501(c)(5) status provides exemption from federal income tax to labor, agricultural or horticultural organizations. APWU affiliates are 501(c)(5) organizations and provided tax-exempt status. Tax-exempt status refers to federal income tax exemption under the Internal Revenue Code. APWU locals do not pay income tax on dues collected nor taxes on the interest earned on investments. However, they must pay sales tax for purchases and payroll taxes for employees.

It’s That Time Again

01/01/2018 - (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.

The 411 on Local Trustees’ Responsibilities

07/08/2016 - (This article first appeared in the July-August issue of The American Postal Worker Magazine)

No matter the size of an organization or what it does, there are always concerns related to funding. It could be a social club, the Boy Scouts, your bowling league – or your local union.

Members of organizations often elect or appoint fellow members they trust to periodically review finances and report on their findings. How was the group’s money spent? Who spent it? Who authorized the spending?

Mandatory IRS Report:

990s Are Due!

03/01/2016 - (This article first appeared in the March-April 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.) 

For unions, filing IRS form 990 annually is not optional! failure to submit this report could result in significant monetary penalties and revocation of our tax-exempt status.

It's State Law

01/01/2016 - (This article first appeared in the January-February 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.

Recently, an APWU local union received a “penalty assessment order” from a state agency that instructed the local union to pay $41,000 for failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  

Meeting the Training Challenge

11/01/2015 - (This article first appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

The APWU has 875 chartered local and state unions in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam, and each one of them has officers who are elected to be custodians of the union’s funds.

In most cases, prior to taking office, the officers have no prior accounting experience and have never managed organizational funds. The challenge for the Secretary-Treasurer’s Department is to provide training on their legal and constitutional obligations, and on best practices when administering union funds.