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APWU 133

    ATTENTION MEMBERS

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    ATTENTION MEMBERS

     

     

     

     

    The Charleston WV Area Local #133 will be conducting the Regular Monthly Meeting on February 18, 2023 @ 8:00 AM.

     

     

    We will be voting for delegates to attend the West Virginia State Convention

     

    The meeting will be held at 711 Bigley Ave.

    Charleston, WV 25302

     

     

    There will be a $25.00 door prize.

    The bonus drawing is $500.00.

     

    ALL MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND

     

     

    Opening of Meeting

    Craig Brown called meeting to order at 7:05 PM, Saturday, January,20 2023.

     Allegiance to Flag

    Tim Holstein led the Pledge of Allegiance.

     Chris Smith made a motion to suspend order of business.

    Seconded by Bob Redman

    Motion Passed

     Election Committee

    Crystal Wayne read the election results for 2023 as follows:

    APWU Local 133

     President

    Craig Brown                              114 Votes

    Daniel Gravley                          68 Votes

     Vice President

    Tim Holstein                             99 Votes

    Doug Butler                              79 Votes

     Clerk Craft Director

    Tim Thompson                          84 Votes

    Amy Haga                                54 Votes

     Trustees

    Rita Jackson                             123 Votes

    Donna Acord                            26 Votes

    Tom Acord                                25 Votes

     Motion to accept the election results for 2023 as read was made by Bob Redman.

    Seconded by Robert Ludwig.

    Motion Passed

     New Officers Sworn in By Chris Smith

     Chris Smith made a motion to go back to the order of business.

    Seconded by Robert Ludwig

    Motion Passed

    Officers Present

    President - Craig Brown, Vice President – Tim Holstein, Secretary - Eustacia Wriston,  Editor – Wes Scarbro, AO Coordinator – Travis Searls, Motor Vehicle Craft Dir.- Melissa Monday, Treasurer - Chris Smith, Assistant Maintenance Craft Dir - Tiffany Copley, Legislative Director – Bob Redman, Health Plan Director - Kayla Cuppy, Clerk Craft Dir – Tim Thompson, Assistant Clerk Craft Dir – Tyler Williams, Safety Director – Frank Zahurancik

     There were 17 members present.

     Reading of Minutes

    Craig Brown read the monthly minutes for November 2022.

    Motion to accept the minutes as read was made by Bob Redman.

    Seconded by Tim Holstein.

    Motion Passed

     Treasurer's Report

    Chris Smith read the Treasurer's Report for December 2022.

    Motion to accept the Treasurer's Report as read was made by Bob Redman.

    Seconded by Robert Ludwig

    Motion Passed

     Bills and Communications

    Tim Holstein read the following bills and communications.

     Clerk Division Zoom Meeting – January 31, 2023

    1187 Zoom Meeting – January 25, 2023

    Presidents Conference April 1-3, 2023

     New Members

    None

    Dropouts

    None

     Special Committees

    None.

     Standing Committees

    The following constitutional changes were voted on.

    1. Article 4 Meetings Section 1 - Passed 16-2

    2. Article 7 Executive Board Section 2 - Passed 16-0

    3  Article 12 Conventions, Conferences, Seminars, Schools and Training Section 1 Passed 14-2

    Unfinished Business

    None

     New Business

    Chris Smith made to spend $3900.00 for new flooring at the union hall.

    Seconded by Bob Redman.

    Motion Passed

     Chris Smith made a motion to approve $1000.00 for a Drawing for members to register for the locals website apwu133.com

    Seconded by Bob Redman.

    Motion Passed

     Chris Smith made a motion for the President, Vice President and the Treasurer for lost time to visit the unions financial institutions for account name changes.

    Seconded by Bob Redman.

    Motion Passed

     Chris Smith made a motion to send the President, Vice President and Treasurer to the Presidents Conference  April 1-3rd at full expense.

    Seconded by Bob Redman.

    Motion Passed

     Chris Smith made a motion to send up to $1000.00 for a TV and wall mount for the union hall.

    Seconded by Robert Ludwig.

    Motion Passed

     Open Forum

    Keys returned and handed out to new officers.

    Vote to attend the WV State Convention will be held at the March meeting.

     Adjournment

    Motion to adjourn was made by Bob Redman.

    Seconded by Craig Brown.

    Motion Passed

    The $25.00 door prize winner Tim Holstein.

     The $500.00 bonus number was 465, Meredith Whitten, who was not present.

    The next Union Meeting will be held on March 18, 2023, at 8:00 AM.

     Respectfully Submitted,

     Eustacia Wriston, Secretary, APWU Local #133


    Department of Labor Announces New FECA Procedures for COVID-19 Cases

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    Department of Labor Announces New FECA Procedures for COVID-19 Cases

     

    The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) expired on January 27. The APWU has opposed the expiration of those provisions of the act that protected federal workers who contracted COVID-19 (COVID). We are providing the following as information to members on the new procedures for COVID-related workers’ compensation (OWCP) claims through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA).

    The ARPA included presumptions for federal workers who were exposed to COVID in the course of their employment. Postal workers who tested positive for COVID and had been working in the Postal Service were presumed to have contracted their illness while at work. Workers’ compensation claims were to be processed through the Department of Labor (DOL) by submission of form CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury. Traumatic Injury claims allow for the benefit of Continuation of Pay (COP).

    The ARPA expired on Jan. 27, 2023. For workers who test positive for COVID after Jan. 27, 2023, the DOL has announced their procedures for processing workers’ compensation claims in FECA Bulletin 23-02, available online.

    In most instances, workers’ compensation claims for COVID should now be filed on form CA-2 Notice of Occupational Disease (unless the injured worker is capable of positively identifying their exposure to a single event or a single work shift). There is no entitlement to COP in an occupational disease claim. Any claim for wage loss benefits will need to be pursued through filing a CA-7 through the DOL. Any claims for COVID benefits based on testing after Jan. 27, 2023 and filed on a CA-1 will be administratively converted to a CA-2 by the DOL, and COP will be denied. The injured worker will receive written notice of any such change. There is also a three-day waiting period and the employee will initially need to use their own leave until the claim is approved.

    For claims based on positive testing after Jan. 27, 2023, the injured worker will have the burden of establishing all five (5) essential elements to workers’ compensation entitlement to include a causal relationship (there will be no more presumptions). A causal relationship is established by providing a physician’s reasoned medical opinion as to why he or she believes that a positively tested COVID diagnosis was attributable to work place exposure. The claims examiner will issue a developmental letter explaining in more detail the evidence needed to establish the claim.

    All COVID claims based on positive testing through Jan. 27, 2023 were assigned case number with a prefix of 19. COVID claims based on testing after Jan. 27, 2023 will be assigned a prefix 55, like most other claims received by the DOL.


    The Debt Ceiling & Postal Workers

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    The Debt Ceiling & Postal Workers

    No postal worker or federal retiree will see a gap or reduction in pension payments or healthcare coverage.

    January 20, 2023

    The Treasury Department announced on Thursday that the United States government has hit its statutory “debt limit.” The next several months will be full of political drama, with serious risks at hand for working people and working-class retirees.

    While the debt limit was technically reached this week, the Treasury Department has begun certain accounting measures to extend its ability to pay the government’s bills. Among the “extraordinary measures” announced by Treasury are some that are of serious concern to postal workers.

    The Treasury Department has announced it will begin a “debt issuance suspension period” which will affect the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF), the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund (PSRHBF), and the G Fund of the Thrift Savings Plan

    These funds are normally invested in U.S. Treasury bonds. By suspending the debt issuance, Treasury temporarily saves the interest that would normally be paid into the funds.

    While the political brinksmanship around the debt ceiling is a shameful reflection of Congress’s disregard for working peoples’ interests, postal workers and other federal employees should rest assured that their retirement benefits are secure at this time. No postal worker or federal retiree will see a gap or reduction in pension payments or healthcare coverage. The law further requires that the Treasury Department make whole the effected funds once the debt ceiling has been either raised or suspended. 

    Treasury has previously taken similar actions, and in each instance, benefits continued to be paid and the CSRDF, the PSRHBF and the G Funds were fully reimbursed for the temporary losses incurred by the funds. Today, the law makes that reimbursement automatic once the debt ceiling issue is resolved.

    The debt limit showdown is a manufactured crisis, the product of decades of tax cuts for the wealthy led by a political elite that is more comfortable debating cuts to already-starved social programs and hard-earned benefits than ensuring the federal government works for working people.

    The new Republican majority in the House is demanding the Biden Administration agree to steep cuts in federal spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. It’s projected that the Treasury Department will be unable to pay bills in a few months, putting the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government in question and risking an unnecessary recession that would surely hit working people hardest.

    “Make no mistake working people and our unions won’t stand for benefit cuts in exchange for what should be a routine act of Congress,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “The debt limit has  been increased on a bipartisan basis dozens of times before, including three times during the Trump presidency. The cynical hostage-taking is unnecessary and dangerous.”

    The APWU leadership is following the developments closely and will continue to demand our political leaders don’t sacrifice working people’s benefits in exchange for a debt limit increase and will keep members informed of any new developments.


    APWU Position on Employees Who Have Had Direct Deposits Stolen in LiteBlue Fraud

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    APWU Position on Employees Who Have Had Direct Deposits Stolen in LiteBlue Fraud

     

    January 20, 2023

    APWU national officers have filed a national dispute with postal management on behalf of members who have had their pay stolen by cyber-criminals and are unable to recover the money.

    Several hundred postal workers have had pay stolen by cyber-criminals who used fraudulent websites to obtain sensitive personal data that was used to divert and steal direct deposit payments.

    The thefts mainly occurred during Pay Period 26 of 2022 but continued into Pay Period 1 of 2023. The thefts led the Postal Service to shut down employee apps on LiteBlue and through PostalEase on any computer or device not connected to an internal Postal Service Intranet network.

    While many workers have been able to recover money that has been recovered from banks, Postal Service management has taken the position that any unrecovered loss of pay as a result of the fraud is the fault of postal workers.

    However, management was aware of the risk of cyber fraud but did not send warnings to employees. It is also known that the Postal Service was aware of security threats to the LiteBlue application because they had been working on the creation and implementation of a Multifactor Authentication (MFA) process since mid-2022, but did not inform the APWU of this until the last week of November 2022.

    The banking industry and secure websites have been utilizing MFA processes for years because of the everyday security threats on the internet. Yet the Postal Service chose not to implement these processes until just this week, when a Stand-Up Talk was issued on December 17.

    Although not every APWU represented employee has had their pay stolen, we understand that anyone who has lost money has been affected deeply, and these issues must be addressed by the Postal Service immediately.

    APWU President, Mark Dimondstein, said: “It appears that the number of affected people is not huge, but a paycheck is a family’s lifeline and not one single worker should be left without money as a result of this attack.”

    “The criminals behind this attack are to blame, but postal management must also take its share of the responsibility,” said Charlie Cash, APWU Industrial Relations Director. “It is clear that Postal management knew for a long time that LiteBlue had this security risk by they made no serious attempt to warn workers or upgrade security until it was too late for hundreds of workers.”

     

    TAKE THE FOLLOWING STEPS IF YOUR DIRECT DEPOSIT HAS BEEN STOLEN:

    1. Call the Accounting Service Center to report the fraud at 1-866-974-2733
    2. Report the loss to the USPS Cybersafe unit at cybersafe@usps.gov
    3. Call the Human Resources Shared Service Center (HRSSC) at 1-877-477-3273 and either change the direct deposit information or cancel it entirely
    4. Request a pay advance, but note the advance will more than likely be denied as the Postal Service takes the position that due to employee negligence, no advance is owed. A grievance can be filed on the denial of the advance at this point
    5. The employee can file a PS Form 2146. The PS form 2146 is a claim for employees lost personal property while on duty or while on postal premises. An employee’s pay is personal property and is connected to employment.

    Once the claim has been submitted, the Postal Service must act on it. The Supervisor must complete their portion, send to the Area, and a decision must be rendered within 30-days of receipt at the Area Level.

    Employee and local officers and stewards need to make sure the form is submitted to Area ASAP. If a negative decision is rendered, the denial should be appealed directly to arbitration.

    There is no guarantee this will lead to the Postal Service paying the lost funds to the employee--this is only one possible action an employee can take on the issue and it is up to each employee whether or not to make such a claim.

    If the Postal Service recovers the funds lost and returns them to the employee, each employee and union official must then evaluate any grievances or claims currently active and make a determination on the continued processing of such grievances or claims.


    Protecting LiteBlue from Cyber Criminals: Multifactor Authentication Required After January 15

    Apwu133
    By Apwu133,

    Protecting LiteBlue from Cyber Criminals: Multifactor Authentication Required After January 15

     

    January 20, 2023

    APWU national officers are continuing to advocate for members who have had had their wages stolen in the recent online fraud attack on USPS systems. Below is an update on management’s introduction of multifactor authentication (MFA) for LiteBlue log ins.

    MFA is a tool that banks and other institutions use when dealing with sensitive personal information to prevent cyber-attacks. It is an identity verification method where users have to use two or more methods to gain access to an online account. Entering a password and then a text message confirmation code is an example of MFA.

    Management has provided an update about the implementation of MFA to log into LiteBlue after cyber criminals gained access to sensitive employee data using fake websites that closely resembled LiteBlue. The fraudsters used this information to make changes to net-to-bank and allotment accounts to divert and steal direct deposit funds.

    A Stand-Up Talk issued on January 17 announced that the Postal Service began requiring MFA in order to access LiteBlue on Jan. 15, 2023 as an additional layer of protection to strengthen online security measures for postal workers personal data.

    When employees log into LiteBlue, they will be required to set up their MFA preferences. Once an employee’s MFA setup is enabled, these ID confirmation factors will be required each time they log in.

    WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

    After Jan. 15, 2023, when you log in to LiteBlue:

    • Reset your Self-Service Profile (SSP) Password.
    • Verify the last four digits of you Social Security Number (SSN.
    • Set up your multifactor authentication preferences.
    • After set up, you will be required to confirm your credentials each time you log in.

    For more information or to view support materials, go to the LiteBlue login page and select “Multifactor Authentication.”

    Resource materials, including an Instructions to Enroll and Sign in to LiteBlue with Multifactor Authentications (MFA) user guide, are also available below.

    LiteBlue MFA Documents & Materials

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