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News and Updates

Wounded Warrior Leave Act Extended

January 5, 2019

The leave that is offered through the Wounded Warriors Leave (WWL) Act of 2015 is provided to all eligible employees at the beginning of each leave year. This began effective leave year 2019 (January 5, 2019). The eligible employees will receive an allotment of 104 hours of WWL. WWL will continue to be provided to newly hired employees at the beginning of their term of employment as required by the terms of the 2015 Act.

WWL is an authorized absence from work to undergo medical treatment for a service-connected disability rated 30% or more. It is a separate leave category, distinct from sick leave. Approved WWL cannot be adversely used against an eligible employee for attendance and discipline purposes. To request WWL an employee must submit a PS Form 3971 to their appropriate supervisor. There is an exception to the advance approval for unexpected treatment the qualifies for WWL. The supervisor is responsible for approving or disapproving the PS Form 3971.

To verify that WWL requested is appropriately used for the treatment of the service-connected disability, the requesting employee must submit to the supervisor a copy of PS Form 5980, Treatment Verification for WWL, certified by a health care provider that the employee used the leave to receive treatment for the covered disability. The employee must provide the verification no later than 15 calendar days after the employee returns to work. A properly completed PS Form 5980 also provides for frequency and/or duration of prescribed treatment that would necessitate the employee taking WWL beyond the date of appointment identified in the Employee Information portion of the form.

    Eligible new hires will receive 104 hours of WWL upon hire (as required by the 2015 law) to be used for the remainder of the current calendar.
    Each January, all disabled veterans with a 30% or more disability rating will receive 104 hours of WWL to use during the calendar year.
    At the end of each calendar year, an remaining WWL will be forfeited but, assuming the employee still has a combined disability rating of 30% or more, he/she will receive a new 104 hours at the start of the new year.
    Any unused WWL is not rolled over to the next year, nor will it be paid out if the employee leaves.
    WWL can be used concurrent with FMLA, when appropriate.


Attached is the notification for the updated Management Instruction (MI) EL-510-2016-8, Wounded Warrior Leave (WWL). This is the final document.

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The Union Is Not A Spectator Sport

by Martha Foote, Former IPWU Business Agent

I have said on numerous occasions, unionism is not a spectator sport. You must participate to some degree for YOUR Union to work. Your Union Steward can only do so much; but he/she needs your help. Too many members believe all union representatives need to do is to write up a grievance form and presto it gets adjudicated. I have heard some say, that is why I pay union dues. Really? Let me be the one to tell you it is not that simple.

When your contractual rights are violated it is the Union’s burden to prove and many times it takes a myriad of documentation to support the violation. You may need to write a statement or be interviewed. You may have to identify the person in management who violated your rights. You may have to involve co-workers who witnessed the incident. There are times when you cannot remain anonymous. Think of your Union Steward or Business Agent as a detective or lawyer. Think of your grievance as though someone robbed you. You would call the police (union) you would give details (statement) you may be interrogated (interviewed) you may have to identify the suspect (name the management personnel involved) you may know the person who robbed you and they live next door; you see them everyday or you may work next to them every day. They may be your supervisor and you fear they will take steps to get you fired. Tough decisions, but when your contractual rights are compromised you need to decide if you are going to live in fear of retaliation or are you going to take a stand and say, “enough is enough”.

Now comes the time when the police make an arrest (union files the grievance, names the management personnel and cites the contract language) management defies the union – imagine that. Do we lay down and say well management is not going to settle? Oh no, we take it to the court of appeals (Step 3 or arbitration) and if there are enough cases (grievances) just like yours, the National Union gets involved and it goes to Step 4 (Supreme Court) A favorable decision at Step 4 makes it binding contract language. What wins arbitrations and Step 4 appeals, YOU the members who say, “enough is enough” and get involved and work with the union. Those who fight not just for themselves but for their co-workers. The members who dare to get involved and stay committed. Does it take time? YES, Does it take a long time? YES, Is it worth it? YOU BET IT IS!

Management will use the contract and hold you to the language; I say it’s about time management is made to realize they are also bound by the terms of the contract. Would you let management bully your children, spouse, parent, friends, union steward???? Our strongest asset is YOU the members. Being a Union Steward is not easy, it takes a certain type of person with the innate ability to deal with management’s shenanigans. Join your union brothers and sisters and send the message the contract is binding on everyone and help your Union Steward help YOU.

GET INVOLVED TO SOME DEGREE
HELP YOUR UNION WORK FOR YOU!


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Vote Yourself a Job

by Doug Brown, IPWU State President 10/01/2018

Have you read the news? The Trump Administration wants to privatize the United States Postal Service. In case you haven’t heard, President Trump, by executive order, created a task force to recommend an overhaul of the postal service. As part of a broad effort to privatize government services, the USPS has been targeted for dismantling. Even though the postal service enjoys a 90% plus favorability rating among customers, apparently we were placed in the category of “swamp” and must be drained.

What would privatization mean for you as a postal employee? Wal-Mart, plain and simple! The wages and benefits you currently earn would be gone. The postal service advertises your employment package as a wonderful gift from day one. New employee recruitment posters brag about the insurance, retirement, and of course, the salary. We have a lot of new members in our union and perhaps there is a belief the employer just gives everything to the employees because they like us. Wrong! It has been fought for by the Union over generations of workers.

It is not just the rank-and-file who have benefitted from the union. Society as a whole benefits by raising the bar for workers. (Have you heard about the $15/hr. for fast food workers). If one of our sister unions get a raise, it helps the others fight for parity. Postal management may not like to admit it but they get a raise when we do.
It can all be taken away with a vote in Congress. Collective Bargaining can be stripped along with our retirement and insurance. $25/hour wages can be reduced to the federal minimum of $7.25/hr. Our only protection is a labor-friendly Congress and your union.

The AFL-CIO has a list of recommended labor-friendly candidates for the upcoming and all-important November election. The endorsements are not party based. All candidates completed an extensive questionnaire detailing their position on issues relating directly to workers rights and the labor-movement. Please go to the website inaflcio.org and review the “Labor 2018 Candidate Endorsements”. Candidates are chosen with a vote of the Indiana AFL-CIO affiliate unions, representing over 300,000 working Hoosiers.

Lastly, we say our goodbyes to Martha Foote, State Business Agent and Cheryl Barnes, spouse of Ben Barnes, former State Vice President, . They will be missed.

In November, “VOTE YOURSELF A JOB”.