I am a retiree and I retired in 2007. I have been paying full per-capita dues to the APWU since September 1973. I have been waiting for my ballot to arrive so I could vote on the new agreement. Becoming impatient I emailed Mark Dimondstein the following:
“Still no ballot for me and much of the NW.” (emailed 2/11/2022 @10:01 AM Mountain time)
A short time later I received this from President Dimondstein:
“Brother, correct me if I am wrong but I believe you are retired. If so, retirees do not have a vote and that would explain the situation. A few days we called a number of locals around the country to see if ballots were arriving okay, and they have been.” (received 2/11/2022 @12:49 PM mountain time)
At this point I am more than upset and respond @2/11/2022 1:23 PM mountain time with this:
“Mark, yes I am retired but let me correct you. I AM A FULL DUES-PAYING MEMBER AND I DO GET A VOTE. You need to call some of the locals that are not locals with 1000 members or maybe you think our little 50 man locals don’t get to vote anyway. Since you don’t know who is a member and who is not. Read the constitution to hold office you must be a full dues-paying member. Maybe you don’t pay dues how about showing me the receipts from you that show you pay dues. I can’t wait to put this out on social media our illustrious president doesn’t know what the constitution reads. Maybe you should ask Liz who is a member and who is not, I certainly am going to.”
Next I get a call from Liz Powell, APWU Secretary/Treasurer and she tells me that in 2010-2011, in some smoke filled hotel room, someone wrote a policy statement saying retirees do not vote on contract ratification. So at this point, I give up until I start receiving emails and text messages saying:
“Gary you are right,” Look at the APWU National Constitution Art. 3 section 4b. So I do, and low and behold here is what it says and I quote: “(b) Members of this Union who retire from employment in an APWU bargaining unit may maintain full membership with all rights of such membership by continuing to pay full per capita taxes to the APWU plus whatever local dues may be required by their local union. They shall retain the same right to vote in all matters they had immediately before retiring from service.”
So I immediately call Liz back and explain. She still insists there was some policy some one came up with that says retirees, that pay full dues, don’t vote regarding contract ratification.
So I went back through my constitutional library and retrieved constitutions from these years: 2000, 2004, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. I do not have a 2006 or 2008 and 2020 there was no change because of the pandemic.
The language, although changing paragraphs, has existed in Article 3 since at least 2000 and the current language has been in Article 3 section 4b since 2012, and I quote:
“(b) Members of this Union who retire from employment in an APWU bargaining unit may maintain full membership with all rights of such membership by continuing to pay full per capita taxes to the APWU plus whatever local dues may be required by their local union. They shall retain the same right to vote in all matters they had immediately before retiring from service.”
So I humbly ask my APWU brothers and sisters, “Do retirees, that pay full per-capita dues, get to vote on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement or not?”
One last note Mark wrote this to me in an email dated 2/11/2022 @2:57 PM:
“Always on the attack brother. I have nothing to do with this decision. I will forward your email to secretary-treasurer Powell and the attorneys who made the decision. Threats don’t mean anything to me. Put it out all you want. I am sure the active members would love to know that you are insisting that someone who does not have to live under the terms of the contract, it’s pay, benefits and working conditions, is insisting on a vote.”
As a state president representing over 400 APWU represented employees I believe that every officer has to live under this agreement as we are not just voting on a pay package we are voting on language that we must enforce. In addition, I believe the language in the constitution would have to be amended to specifically exclude full dues retirees from voting. A policy, cannot supersede clear and concise constitutional language.
So Mark the answer to your question is, “Yes, this brother wants a vote but so do the other 582 brothers and sisters that pay full dues. This is not about me this is always and should be about US. Isn’t that what UNION stands for?”
Gary Phillippe, President
I was just sent a copy of the 2006 constitution one of only two I am missing. Here is where the rubber hits the road notice the bold print that means that our brothers and sisters at the 2006 National Convention by a 2/3 majority added this language:
“(c) Members of this Union who retire from employment in an APWU bargaining unit may maintain full membership with all rights of such membership by continuing to pay full per capita taxes to the APWU plus whatever local dues may be required by their local union. He/she shall retain the same right to vote in all matters that he/she had immediately before he/she retired from service.”
First Name: Gary
Last Name: Phillippe
Union/Local: Montana Postal Workers Union
Office held if any: President