Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Drive for Sick-Leave Credit Gains New Life

APWU Web News Article #074-09, June 26, 2009

The drive to win sick-leave credit for postal and federal workers covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) was revived June 25, when the House of Representatives included the benefit in the 2010 Defense Authorization measure. The bill was approved in the House by a vote of 389-22, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The measure would grant FERS employees credit for unused sick leave when calculating their retirement annuity. Employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) already enjoy this benefit.

Prospects for the sick-leave credit looked bleak earlier this month, when it was it was stripped from the Senate version of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Although the House version of the tobacco bill included the FERS sick-leave provision, the Senate version was ultimately passed and sent to President Obama, who signed the legislation on June 22.

Federal and postal unions, including the APWU, immediately began urging congressional leaders to find another way to pass the sick-leave measure. The sick-leave provision was added to the 2010 Defense Authorization Measure (H.R. 2990) [PDF], which the Senate is expected to adopt.
“This is an important step forward,” said Legislative & Political Director Myke Reid.

“Representatives Jim Moran (D-VA), Ike Skelton (D-MO), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) were instrumental in assisting our efforts.”

Other provisions of the defense bill affecting federal and postal employees would:
  • Grant locality pay to postal and federal employees working in Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, and roll the premium into their base pay for the purpose of annuity calculations;
  • Permit FERS employees who return to service and redeposit their annuities to receive credit for past years of service, and
  • Modify the way the CSRS calculates annuity payments for employees who retire as part-time workers.
The tobacco bill, which gave the Food & Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products, also contained an item of special interest to FERS-covered workers: It extends the Roth investment option to the Thrift Savings Plan. As a result, federal employees will be able to invest future after-tax contributions in the TSP in the Roth option. When they withdraw it, the money — including interest — will be tax-free. This important benefit is expected to be implemented in a year or two.

Friday, June 26, 2009

H.R. 235 Social Security Fairness Act and H.R. 958

by Judy McCann

The first week-end in March, I accompanied President Dick Haefner to the National President's Conference in Washington D.C. The NPC was followed by a legislative day on Capitol Hill used to visit our senator and representatives on issues that affect us as postal workers and/or federal employees.

One of the issues we discussed with law makers was the Social Security Fairness Act. This piece of legislation, if passed, would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). Both the WEP and the GPO affects federal employees who are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). [Full Story]

Source: The Minnesota Postal Worker

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Key House Panel Passes HR 22

APWU Web News Article #072-09, June 24, 2009

A House subcommittee has approved an amended version of H.R. 22, legislation that would provide temporary relief from a provision of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that requires the Postal Service to prefund the healthcare benefits of future retirees. The funding obligation — combined with the nation’s sharp economic downturn — has brought the USPS to the brink of insolvency.

The amended bill [PDF], offered June 24 by Subcommittee Chairman Stephen Lynch (D-MA), provides three years of relief — for Fiscal Years 2009, 2010, and 2011. During that period, payments for the healthcare benefits of current retirees would be paid for from the Retiree Health Benefits Fund (RHBF) rather than the USPS operating budget.

APWU President William Burrus praised the subcommittee’s vote. “This bill is absolutely essential to the ability of the Postal Service to meet its short-term obligations,” he said.
“But it is not the end of the road. The Postal Service — along with its employees and customers – will continue to face significant challenges in the years ahead.”

If the bill becomes law, the USPS would be required once again to pay the cost of healthcare benefits for both current and future retirees in Fiscal Year 2012 and would be required to continue payments until 2016; at that point the Postal Service’s portion of future retirees’ benefits would be paid from the RHBF. The fund currently has a balance in excess of $32 billion.
Following unanimous approval of the amended bill, the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of Columbia Subcommittee referred the bill for consideration by the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY).

Consideration of H.R. 22 by the House of Representatives is likely to occur following the July 4 congressional recess, said Myke Reid, director of the APWU Legislative and Political Department. Legislation on this issue has not yet been introduced in the Senate.

[more H.R. 22 news]

Source: National APWU Website

APWU on Five-Day Delivery: Don’t Do It!

APWU Web News Article #071-09, June 22, 2009

The APWU has given a straightforward response to a USPS request for input regarding five-day mail delivery: “Don’t do it!”

“The American Postal Workers Union submits in the strongest possible terms our insistence that the Postal Service refrain from conversion to five-day delivery,” APWU President William Burrus wrote on June 18 [PDF]. “The consequences of the proposed change far outweigh the expected monetary benefits associated with delivery reduction.”

Burrus’ letter was in response to a notice from the USPS Vice President for Labor Relations [PDF], which said the Postal Service plans to complete a study of the concept within 60 days. “Our interest is in gathering, in this short timeframe, as much input from interested parties as possible,” the June 10 letter said; it asked for a response from the union just nine days later.
If five-day delivery is enacted, Burrus declared, “History will record this act as the first step in the dismantling of the United States mail system.”

A reduction in the number of delivery days will result in “negative changes to employee staffing and scheduling,” the union president noted. Although the changes are intended to reduce personnel costs, “Any service organization that reduces service invites its own demise,” he said.
“This decision is the worst possible response to unusual circumstances that have adversely affected mail volume,” the union president wrote. It assumes that the economy will not recover, and that mail will not serve as a viable medium for commercial activities.
“I strongly disagree, and advise that you don’t do it!”

Economic Downturn Spurs Consideration

The USPS first proposed reducing delivery from six days to five earlier this year, when Postmaster General John E. Potter outlined the Postal Service's options for solving its severe financial problems. The postmaster general told a Senate Subcommittee on Jan. 28, 2009, that declining mail volume, the severe economic downturn, and the requirement to pre-fund healthcare benefits for retirees had driven the Postal Service into an “acute fiscal crisis.” The postmaster general announced a series of cost-cutting measures and asked Congress to “remove the annual appropriation bill rider, first adopted in 1983, that requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days each week.”[PMG's testimony – PDF] [Burrus Update #03-09]

Source: National APWU Website

APWU Endorses Trumka for AFL-CIO President

APWU Web News Article #070-09, June 19, 2009

The APWU National Executive Board has endorsed Richard Trumka for president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation. The current president, John Sweeney, will not seek re-election. Trumka has served as the organization’s secretary-treasurer since 1995.

“Rich Trumka will bring the new ideas and energy that are needed to revitalize the labor movement,” said APWU President William Burrus. “He will be a fresh voice advocating for the interests of working people on the national stage.”

The election will take place in September at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh.

“Trumka has the intelligence and commitment to be a dynamic leader,” said APWU Secretary-Treasurer Terry Stapleton. “We believe he will be an outstanding AFL-CIO president.”

Employee Free Choice Ally: Laura Dresser of The Center on Wisconsin Strategy

The Center On Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) is a national policy center and field laboratory for high-road economic development — a competitive market economy of shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and capable democratic government.

COWS is based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Associate Director Laura Dresser participated in an on campus teach-in in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

In the video above, Dresser explains that increased union density is necessary in order to close the increasing wage gap in the United States. By allowing more working people to negotiate for fair wages and benefits, the Employee Free Choice Act will help create an economy that works for all Americans again.

Joel Rogers, the Director of COWS, has also been a vocal supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act. Rogers participated in an economic roundtable with Madison area workers and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin back in February:http://employeefreechoice.typepad.com/wi/2009/02/new-report-calls-for-employee-free-choice-workers-in-madison-agree.html

Monday, June 22, 2009


The Employee Free Choice Act Will Restore Workers Freedom to Join a Union and Bargain for A Better Life

On June 24 at noon in Stevens Point and on June 26 at noon in Sheboygan, local Wisconsin workers will hold grassroots events in support of the Employee Free Choice Act, which will restore workers' freedom to join a union and bargain for a better life.

With the Wisconsin economy in turmoil, passing the Employee Free Choice Act is crucial to rebuilding the middle class. It will allow workers to have a voice at work and to bargain collectively for higher wages, benefits, and job security. The bill would allow workers to join a union through majority sign up and take away the right of corporations to demand a ballot election, giving the choice of majority sign-up or an election to the workers.

Local workers will discuss the financial outlook for their communities and write letters to Sen. Herb Kohl, thanking him for his continued support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Who: David Newby, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO
Sara Rogers, Executive Vice President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO
Ron Mueller, President of the Sheboygan County Labor Council

Joe Wanta, President of the Stevens Point - Portage County Labor Council Workers, Retirees and Community Members

What: Working Lunch in support of the Employee Free Choice Act

When: Wednesday, June 24 at Noon in Stevens Point Friday, June 26 at Noon in Sheboygan

Where: Portage County Public Library, Prairie Room 1001 Main Street, Stevens Point, WI

Sheboygan Building Trades Hall
1104 Wisconsin Ave., Sheboygan WI

Visuals: Workers writing letters, worker spokespersons, colorful union signs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

APWU, USPS Agree To Revamped Maintenance Selection System

APWU Web News Article #068-09, June 12, 2009

After intensive discussions, the APWU and the USPS have agreed to modify the Maintenance Selection System (MSS), the process by which many Maintenance Craft duty assignments are filled.

“The Revamped Maintenance Selection System maintains employee protections that are important to the craft, and establishes a selection process that is far more objective than the old system,” Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer said. “The RMSS also should result in a more timely return of results, and the elimination of several troublesome issues.” The June 3, 2009, agreement necessitated changes to Article 38 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the development of a new Maintenance Selection System Handbook (EL-304), Raymer said.

The USPS began reviewing the MSS in 2006, citing changes in technology and equipment, as well as difficulty maintaining selection registers and recruiting new hires. The MSS had not undergone a complete review since 1984. As part of the review process, the Postal Service surveyed hundreds of current craft employees and supervisors, and evaluated the work associated with Maintenance Craft occupational groups.

In early 2009, when the Postal Service notified the APWU of proposed changes to the EL-304 Handbook, the APWU initiated serious discussions with management on the subject.
The USPS was reluctant to expand previously negotiated initiatives that provided developmental training to employees to help meet the qualifications for the selection registers, such as the Maintenance Skills Development Program and the ET Trainee Program, saying it would be too expensive.

A partial list of changes includes:
  • Candidate Supplemental Application books have been eliminated;
  • Supervisor Evaluations have been eliminated;
  • A change has been made to the banding of scores, giving seniority more weight;
  • Employees wishing to update their ratings will not need to address individual KSAs (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities); they will only need to wait 120 days from their last testing;
  • Individual KSAs will be graded as part of the new job compentencies;
  • There will be a single written exam, Test 955, which will be taken online in two parts — one with a proctor and the other without. After passing Test 955, employees will be scheduled for a review panel. The review panel rating will be made on a pass/fail basis;
  • Employees who are ranked ineligible will be able to identify whether Test 955 or the review panel was the reason for the rating, and
  • Article 38 language has been changed to implement the changes.
Things that did not change:
  • KSAs will be retained as listed in the qualification standards. A minor change in wording was made to implement the new rating method;
  • Standard position descriptions;
  • Job task and/or occupational group work assignments, and
  • Make-up of the review panel. (No 204Bs or immediate supervisors will serve.)
The parties are developing a set of Questions and Answers regarding the RMSS, which will be disseminated as soon as it is complete.

MSS applications that were started prior to May 27, 2009, will be processed under the old system. Applications submitted in March for the 2009 Open Season will be processed under the revamped procedure.

Maintenance Craft jobs that are not filled by the MSS process will be unaffected by the agreement.

Union Challenges USPS Interpretation of Layoff Memo

APWU Web News Article #067-09, June 11, 2009

The APWU has filed a Step 4 grievance protesting management’s interpretation of the contractual protection against layoffs for APWU-represented employees who were on the rolls as of Nov. 20, 2006, but had not achieved six continuous years of service. A Memorandum of Understanding in the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement provides protection to such employees.

In an April 17, 2009, letter to the Postal Service, APWU President William Burrus asserted that the protection against layoff for these workers is unaffected by a change of assignment, bargaining unit, or craft.

“Due to excessing and reassignments,” he wrote, “many junior APWU-represented employees have been reassigned outside the APWU crafts.” Noting that it would be necessary to properly identify covered and non-covered employees in the event of layoffs, he asked management officials to outline the USPS position on the issue.

In a June 3, 2009, response, the USPS manager of contract administration disagreed with the union interpretation, writing, “It is the Postal Service’s position that once an employee leaves, voluntarily or involuntarily, from an APWU-represented position, that employee is not covered by any of the provisions of that collective bargaining agreement.”

Article 6 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement provides lifetime protection against layoffs to all employees who were on the rolls as of Sept. 15, 1978; employees hired after that date achieve protected status upon completion of six years of continuous service.

The Memorandum of Understanding re: Layoff Protection [page 286] in the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that regular workforce employees who were on the rolls as of Nov. 20, 2006, and had not achieved six years of continuous service “shall be protected against involuntary layoff during the term of the contract.”

During their contract talks, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) did not reach agreement on a memorandum protecting Letter Carriers in this situation. As a result, if the USPS interpretation was applied and APWU-represented employees meeting these criteria were excessed into the Letter Carrier Craft, they could be subject to layoff.

In his April 17 letter to the Postal Service, Burrus wrote, “As you are aware, ‘protected’ status, temporary or permanent, is unaffected by the reassignment of employees from one bargaining unit or craft to another. A contrary interpretation would result in an employee who was employed within a craft that did not negotiate a Layoff Protection Memorandum achieving such protection by virtue of his/her transfer to the APWU craft during the term of the 2006 National Agreement.”

If additional discussions on the topic fail to resolve the dispute, the union will appeal the issue to arbitration.

Source: National APWU site

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

APWU Responds to USPS Notice on Retail Operations

Consolidation of Large Post Offices:

In response to a USPS notice that “the Postal Service is considering consolidating operations in our larger stations and branches,” APWU President William Burrus has reminded management that a Memorandum of Understanding included in the 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that “all existing retail operations will remain within the installation of which they are a part.”

“I note that of the many factors that will be considered in your final decisions, you omit the parties’ negotiated agreements,” Burrus wrote [PDF] to the USPS manager of contract administration on June 8. The May 15 letter from the Postal Service [PDF] says the USPS will review the activities of all stations and branches in Level 24-and-above post offices for possible discontinuance.

“Many factors including impact on employees, service standards, cost savings, customer access, environmental impact, real estate values, and long-term needs of the service would be taken into account during the reviews,” the notice said.

The Postal Service cited dramatic decreases in mail volume and the USPS’ extremely challenging financial circumstances as the cause of the study. “Like mail volume, window transactions at our retail units have substantially declined,” the letter noted.

The effort to consolidate operations at stations and branches “could include possible termination of leases and/or movement of operations from Postal Service-owned facilities.

“As a consequence, employees working in those retail/delivery facilities may be reassigned to other retail/delivery units, and/or other facilities, or other duties in accordance with the relevant provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreements,” the notice said. “Until the process is initiated and the reviews are completed, we will not know which leases or owned facilities, if any, will be terminated or sold, or the impact on employees.”

“The Postal Service welcomes your input into this critical matter,” the notice concluded.

Burrus designated Clerk Craft Director Jim McCarthy to lead discussions with postal officials on the subject. He will be accompanied by Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer and Motor Vehicle Services Craft Director Bob Pritchard.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Retail Operations [PDF] provides that, “The parties agree that all existing retail operations will remain within the installation of which they are a part and all future retail operations established within the jurisdiction of an installation shall become a part of that installation.”

[more consolidation news]

Senator Bernie Sanders on Private Health Insurance

Practice Hospital Bed Safety

On this page:

"Hospital beds are found in nearly all patient care settings or environments," says Joan Ferlo Todd, RN, a senior nurse-consultant at the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). "They are used not only in hospitals, but also in outpatient care centers, long-term care facilities, and in private homes."

CDRH reports that about 2.5 million hospital beds are in use in the United States. The center regulates these beds as medical devices.

"Many of today's hospital bed models are quite complex. Patients and health care professionals should understand how to use them properly, and manufacturers must provide adequate instructions for use," says Todd, who works in CDRH's Office of Surveillance and Biometrics.

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Beware of Entrapment

"Patient entrapment is uncommon," says Todd, "but when it occurs, it's often fatal."

Between 1985 and 2009, FDA received reports of 803 incidents of patients caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled in hospital beds. The reports included 480 deaths, 138 nonfatal injuries, and 185 cases where staff intervened to prevent an injury. Most of the affected patients were frail, elderly, or confused.

"Not all patients are at risk for entrapment, and not all hospital beds pose an entrapment risk," says Todd. "But health care facilities, as well as patient caregivers, are urged to take a careful look at hospital beds. They need to determine if there are large openings that present an entrapment risk, and to take steps to minimize this risk."

Any type of rail or grab bar attached to a bed, as well as the fit of the bed mattress, should be assessed for entrapment risks, she adds. "It is important to view the hospital bed as a system," she says. "Not all mattresses or bed rails are suitable with any given bed frame."

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FDA regulates hospital beds through post-market activities such as analyzing reports of product problems and adverse events, says Todd. "Although the agency does not regulate the design of the beds, it offers safety guidance to industry."

FDA is a member of the Hospital Bed Safety Workgroup (HBSW), a partnership among the medical bed industry, national health care organizations, patient advocacy groups, and federal agencies.

In 2006, FDA with collaboration from HBSW issued "Hospital Bed System Dimensional and Assessment Guidance to Reduce Entrapment," recommendations for manufacturers of new hospital beds and for facilities with existing beds, including hospitals, nursing homes, and private homes.

"The guidance may also be used by health care facilities," says Jay A. Rachlin, director of CDRH's Division of Health Communication in the Office of Communication, Education, and Radiation Programs. "It offers useful information for health care facility staff."

Rachlin says the guidance, along with other educational products from FDA and the HBSW, have improved patient safety. "Manufacturers have redesigned their bed frames and their side rails to reduce the risk of entrapment."

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Entrapment Zones

The guidance characterizes the head, neck, and chest as key body parts at risk of entrapment. It also identifies these seven potential "zones of entrapment" in hospital beds:

  1. within the rail
  2. under the rail, between the rail supports or next to a single rail support
  3. between the rail and the mattress
  4. between the rail, at the ends of the rail
  5. between split bed rails
  6. between the end of the rail and the side edge of the head or foot board
  7. between the head or foot board and the mattress end

Rachlin says that proper fitting rails can be useful. However, health care professionals and patients need to assess whether rails are necessary in each instance. "In addition to entrapment, there are other potential hazards associated with bed rail use, including serious injuries from falls when patients climb over rails, and having patients feel isolated or unnecessarily restricted," he says.

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Fire Prevention

Fire is a rare safety risk associated with motorized hospital beds. "Fires are due mostly to a lack of maintenance," says Todd. "There are electrical shorts due to frayed or strained wires, motors overheat, or dust or other materials from the hospital fall into the motor casing."

She suggests these steps to cut the risk of fire incidents:

  • Inspect the bed's power cord for damage.
  • Don't connect the bed's power cord to an extension cord or to a multiple-outlet strip.
  • Inspect the floor beneath the bed for buildup of dust and lint, which could clog the motor.
  • Inspect the bed control panel covering for signs of damage where liquids could leak in.
  • Check equipment for signs of overheating or physical damage.
  • Keep linens and clothes away from power sources.

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Home Use

Todd says there have been very few reports of safety incidents with hospital beds used in private residences. "This may represent underreporting by consumers," she says. "The reporting system for these incidents is set up for health care facilities, but consumers and home patients can still report medical device incidents to FDA through its MedWatch program."

She adds that hospital beds used at patients' homes are usually prescribed devices. "They're not required to be prescribed, but the beds are usually very expensive to rent or buy, and most patients get them for home through health plans."

It is important to ask that the bed meet the guidelines in the FDA guidance to reduce the risk of entrapment. Some hospital beds used at home may require patient or caregiver training, Todd says. "It depends on the complexity of the bed."

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Safety Tips

CDRH offers the following safety tips for home use of hospital beds:

  • Check the motors, especially for dust and debris.
  • Ensure that each component—the bed frame, mattress, rails, and any added accessories—properly fits together. Make sure the mattress is the correct size for the bed frame so unsafe gaps are not present. If you see an opening let a health care professional know or call the manufacturer.
  • When in doubt, consult the bed frame manufacturer to determine if a component or accessory is compatible with your bed frame.
  • Use rails cautiously. Patients should not try to climb around or over the rails to get out of bed.

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What is a Hospital Bed?

Todd says that there is no standard definition for hospital beds, a fact that consumers shopping for such a bed need to be aware of.

"A bed becomes a hospital bed when it meets the requirements for being a medical device," she says.

CDRH defines a medical device as "an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar article that is intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease."

"There are beds sold in retail stores that don't meet the definition of medical devices under the law, but which may have some of the characteristics of a hospital bed," says Todd. "These beds may have features such as height-adjustment mechanisms or adjustable positions for the back and knee, or be fitted with snap-on rails. But they're not regulated by FDA."

She says that such beds fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. "If these beds are used with any type of rail, consumers should adhere to the same safety recommendations in place for hospital beds."

This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Date Posted: June 9, 2009

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For More Information

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

FDA Awards $1 Million in Grants to Three States to Enhance Food and Feed Safety

Arkansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin funded for
Food Safety and Security Monitoring

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently enhanced its food and feed protection initiatives with the award of three one-year Food Safety and Security Monitoring grants totaling $1 million to the states of Arkansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The funds support cooperative agreements designed to create a national integrated food safety system through enhanced federal and state collaboration in food emergency response activities.

"We are excited to partner with these states as they perform such critical roles in ensuring food safety," said Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs. "The FDA is committed to investing in efforts that will better protect American consumers from food safety and food defense threats."

The three states each received $350,000 to fund Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) chemistry laboratories. FERN labs are essential to the FDA’s regulatory efforts and the grants may be used for facility upgrades, training in current food testing methodologies, and increased laboratory sample analysis capacity, and other activities.

In the event of a large-scale event affecting food or food products, the grant recipients may be required to perform selected analyses of food samples collected by the FDA or provided by other government agencies through the FDA.

The state recipients and highlights for each grant include:
  • Arkansas – Arkansas Department of Health, Little Rock, Ark. The grant award will be used to increase the department’s ability to test for toxic and unknown substances in food products, provide regional support for national responses during food surveillance activities, increase state and local emergency response capacities and become more proficient in testing foods for toxic and unknown substances.
  • Nebraska – Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Lincoln, Neb. The award will enable analyses of foods and food products in the event redundancy or additional laboratory capacity is needed for chemical-related analyses.
  • Wisconsin – Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Madison, Wis. The grant will provide for standing reserve capacity within the FERN for response to chemical-related analysis needs, or an event of such significance that it threatens the national food supply.
In 2008, the FDA awarded $5.2 million in food and feed safety grants to state and local agencies selected by a review panel that scored proposals based on technical and programmatic merit. The grants fund major cooperative agreements in four major areas: the Ruminant Feed Ban Support Program, Innovative Food Defense, Rapid Response Teams, and Food Safety and Security Monitoring. California, Ohio, and Colorado were the 2008 recipients of the Food Safety and Security Monitoring grants.

Non-Members Fail to Appreciate What’s at Stake

Burrus Update 07-2009, May 29, 2009

In March I sent a letter to non-members, requesting that they join the union. Approximately one thousand decided to join, returning their signed applications; others chose to share their negative views about the union in the postage-paid envelopes supplied by the APWU.

The remarks of those who rejected the invitation to join the APWU included a wide range of anti-union sentiment and some mean-spirited comments.

Under normal circumstances, I respond to such letters individually, as they arrive in my office. Unfortunately, the Postal Service misdirected the returns from the March mailing to a post office box the union no longer uses, so we received all the returns at once, in late May. Because of the delay in receiving the responses, I am unable to respond individually.

Generally, the responses from those who declined membership demonstrate that they fail to appreciate that every benefit of employment they receive is a direct result of union activity.
As conditions change due to the Postal Service’s deepening financial crisis, these individuals may begin to realize that their working life is directly affected by the union.

It would be in their best interest to have a voice in the decisions that will affect them, including their rate of pay, the number of hours they work, and the location of their employment.
The employees who identified themselves that wrote to express their animosity toward the union — or offered weak excuses for refusing to join — are listed below.

Gloria Gass – Cloverdale, OR
Jvonne D. McGowan – Slidell, LA
Carolyn A Schillo – Wallingford, CT
John Carleton – Magnolia, TX
Jeff Bryant – Cape Girardeau, MO
Sheila Griffin – Aurora, CA
William Gonzalez – Corona, CA
Pauline C. Mulanix – Rockford, IL
Gerard F. Morriss – Denver, CO
Joy M. Blondin – Norris, IL
Esther Wild-Lynch – Lakeview, OR
Rebecca Carpenter – Rural Retreat, VA
Mike Schneider – Tulsa, OK
Yvonne M Burgun – Brockton, NY
James Luchs – Cabot, AR
Robert Dolan – Ridgefield Park, NJ
Jill Ann Johnson – Adams, MA
Jerry Davis – El Paso, TX
Larry Sponder – La Mars, IA
Mary Ann Paredez – San Antonio, TX
Daniel E. Forero – Waco, TX
Tony Petrino – Moonachie, NJ
Quoch, K
Tom Pflum – Twin Falls, ID
Doug Wocel – Manteo, NC
Robert Cassidy – Scottsville, VA
Hosea Williams – Kinston, NC
Hanley, Duhon
Larry D. Smith – Cantonment, FL
John Sturey – Delano, MN
Richard Tyrel – Olathe, KS
Patricia Tabor – Marion, KY
Linda Rowlette – Salt Lake, UT
Billy York - Hickory, NC
Larry Dozier – Brockton, MA
William Thomas – Modesto, CA
Janelle Schindler – Medford, OR
Cherie Cormican - Ravenna, OH
a scabb

Source: National APWU Website