What I took away from the Tampa APWU Local Town Hall with Mark Dimondstein on H.R. 756

Via Thomas Benson, President – APWU Lake Geauga Area Local #1204

Let me start with something the President said that truly concerned me and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. The President stated “I am one of those people who doesn’t ask for permission, I ask for forgiveness.”

I can’t help but wonder if this is how he has approached HR 756? We the members have no say and he knows what’s best for all of us? We are not given clear and concise information on the reasons behind the unions’ support. We have not seen “numbers” to show why this is good for the membership. There has not been any transparency about the unions views, opinions or conclusions about HR 756. This bill will impact every current retiree as well as every postal worker who hopes to retire one day. So yes, this bill affects each and every APWU member.

There are so many questions that need to be answered with HR 756 and I walked away from this meeting still not understanding why the APWU National President would support it.

When it came to the question why force retirees into Medicare… the answer was 80% of the retirees are already in Medicare. Yet no one stops to think why the 20% are not in it. And it’s clear that the President is not concerned as to why they are not in it.

On two separate occasions, I heard the President mention that the USPS will be out of money by September. I was perplexed at this statement as not a week ago, I seen the USPS had a 1 billion dollar profit the 1st quarter. I could only think to myself that the President must have drank the Kool aid the USPS was serving.

The President assured the members that HR 756 was not a bill. It’s only a resolution. Well I was even more confused by this statement simply because I understand a resolution when presented is called H Res. (insert number) And a bill is called HR (insert number) Much like Senate bill is S. (insert number) and Senate Resolution is S. Res (insert number). So, I disagree with President Dimondstein with his view and statement that HR 756 is not a bill. HR 756 is a bill… plain and simple. This only led me to another question … why is our union president misleading the members? He must know what a Bill -vs- a House Resolution is.

The President also stated he felt it was very unlikely this ” bill ” will pass. Well that left another question… since the bill doesn’t do or provide anything positive for the APWU members and may not pass regardless, why then is the APWU National President supporting it?

President Dimondstein stated that if the “bill” ends up with “adverse” language, we (the APWU) will kill it and no longer support the “bill”. We (the APWU) do not have the authority to “kill” a bill. The President has already said “we” support this “bill”. We shouldn’t have supported such an adverse “bill” in the 1st place. Then we wouldn’t have to withdraw our support at a later date.

The President assured the members that he met with actuaries, the Health Plan as well as others and feels with the passing of the bill “we” will come out ahead in the end. Personally, I’d like to see the numbers and the opinions from the actuaries and the Health Plan Director that was used to come up with this decision.

The President yet again assured the members in attendance that he would not agree to anything that takes away FEHBP. That left me with yet another question, selling out the 20% of the retirees and all future retirees and forcing them into Medicare will only open Pandora’s box for legislation down the road. If all retirees are on Medicare, then it will only be a matter of time before congress comes up with the grand plan to take FEHBP from the retirees with the excuse of well they already have Medicare as their primary therefore they do not need the FEHBP. Why would we even open the door to this?

NARFE opposes this bill because they can see what’s bound to happen in the future and they understand by opening Pandora’s box with HR 756 will eventually have congress taking away their benefits as well.

This post wasn’t meant to seem Anti Mark Dimondstein. I hope those that take the time to read it understand I just left with more questions than I had when I had arrived at the meeting. Mark is the President and I have nothing but respect for him and the office he holds.

This is just a brief synopsis of the meeting. I will be working on another write up later in the week that will be more fact based. I’m not by any means trying to mislead anyone in the APWU, I’m only trying to inform the members.

Source: 21CPW Facebook Group

6 thoughts on “What I took away from the Tampa APWU Local Town Hall with Mark Dimondstein on H.R. 756

  1. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Central Florida Area Local
    Past or current office held, if any
    President
    I was actually in attendance at the Town Hall Meeting held in Tampa this past Sunday. Brothers Searle and Barron are accurate in that President Dimondstein’s “not asking for permission, but rather forgiveness” quip was only in reference to the Staples issues, and was not intended to be interwoven into anything else. What I didn’t see mentioned in the initial post was that President Dimondstein answered many questions from the members on an array of topics such as: (I) the Staples fight and how as a collective group we prevailed, (ii) ideas regarding the negotiations for the 2018 CBA, (iii) the PSE conversions and how our membership has grown over the past couple of years, as well as an array of other items This was an informal Town Hall Meeting and it appeared to me that the crowd of members were quite pleased during and after the meeting.

  2. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    Michigan State Retiree Chapter
    Past or current office held, if any
    President, Central Region Retiree APWU Convention Delegate
    I’m just wondering how much extra money is going to be generated by forcing hundreds of thousands of postal retirees in to Medicare (and Part D for prescription drugs?). Is it 100 million dollars a month? That’s 1.2 Billion dollars a year-a far cry from the double digit billions of dollars USPS missed in the retiree pre-funding payments. And this is supposed to relieve that debt? What am I missing? As for postal retirees being generally in better health than other federal employees (according to who?) and therefore having to pay lower health care premiums, who is kidding who? Even if that’s true, how long can/could it last? What happens when our health gets as bad as the rest of federal employees? Higher premiums? So far, I’m seeing a lot of smoke and mirrors on HR 756.

  3. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Tampa Area Local 259
    Past or current office held, if any
    Executive Vice President
    In disputing the factual events and discursive rhetoric posted by Brother Benson’s account of a simple town hall meeting conducted at the Tampa Area Local by APWU National President Mark Dimondstein, it is apparent to this lifelong APWU advocate that mud-slinging has no designated season. The comment by President Dimondstein that was made regarding “not asking for permission but rather forgiveness” was referring to the filming of Staples employees. Attempting to intertwine H.R. 756 by using this simple comment, is a shabby and poorly rehearsed attempt to politicize an unrelated issue. Not one of the APWU members in attendance from the state of Florida at this town hall meeting would agree with your deceptive opinion.

  4. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Terre Haute Local 618
    Past or current office held, if any
    volunteer
    Mr. Serle are you saying your only retort about Mr. Benson’s report is you question if he actually does have an “ax to grind” and the comment of the following is taken out of context?

    “Let me start with something the President said that truly concerned me and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. The President stated “I am one of those people who doesn’t ask for permission, I ask for forgiveness.”

    Mr. Dimondstein just said last in last month’s APWU Magazine he was GOING to DO what he was going to do and that was on HIM and backed his statement up by using a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote! C’mon man are you trying to sell us Florida swamp or something!

    There will be difficult decisions to make. I will be guided by the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr., spoken in 1967 when he took a stand against the war in Vietnam: “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when a person must take the position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but must take it because it is right.”

    How about putting up a very weak fight to keep our mail processing plants open! Then brag about the WORK other’s had done in the effort to keep plants open. This list goes on and on. This is an issue of TRUST and I don’t think you have calmed the NERVES of those who have problems with the APWU’s stand on HR 756, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017.

  5. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Tampa Area Local 259
    Past or current office held, if any
    President
    Brother Benson’s account of President Dimondstein’s presentation is not accurate. To start with, the President’s statement that Brother Benson says he’s unable to stop thinking about, “ask for permission later”, was specifically in response to the union’s attempt to get staples employees on video purposely accepting hazardous materials into the mail stream. And it clearly was a light hearted pun. Despite the fact that Brother Benson says he’s not “anti” Dimondstein, after reading his report it certainly appears he has an ax to grind. His opinion of the President’s remarks in Tampa should not be considered factual.

  6. Union and NAME of Local/Branch
    APWU - Terre Haute Local 618
    Past or current office held, if any
    volunteer
    For me the most power statement Thomas Benson made is the very first one:

    Let me start with something the President said that truly concerned me and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. The President stated “I am one of those people who doesn’t ask for permission, I ask for forgiveness.”

    It kind of sounds like a different version of Mr. Dimondstein’s words in a recent article he wrote in the APWU National Magazine:

    There will be difficult decisions to make. I will be guided by the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr., spoken in 1967 when he took a stand against the war in Vietnam: “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when a person must take the position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but must take it because it is right.”

    At what point will he ask for forgiveness for the shuffle of National Officer’s last April and isn’t ironic that all officers movement hold a position that has direct involvement in the issues of H.R. 756 Postal Service Reform Act of 2017

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