Constitution and By-Laws
Southwest Coastal Area Local
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
as amended July 31, 2004
We, the postal workers of America and the Southwest Coastal Area Local, in order to form a more perfect union, establish this Constitution.
We believe the Southwest Coastal Area Local does not contemplate gain or profit to its members, and is organized for non-profit purposes.
We, who come from the diverse crafts, believe that in unity there is strength.
We believe that all postal workers and all members of labor have the right to economic, political and social justice. That all people have the inherent right to earn a living, and to be justly paid for the services they perform.
That all postal workers have the right to expect to have decent shelter, food and clothing. That they have the right to see that their children have the best of education. The investment of the worker's lifeblood in giving services gives them that right.
We further believe that all people are created equal with the right to determine their own destiny, and to participate in the forces and events that affect them.
We further believe that all postal workers have the right regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or national origin to hold their heads high and to have respect for themselves as individuals.
We believe, therefore, that in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, all people are free and have the right to come together to promote the common cause of all.
We also believe that all members have certain basic rights within our union and shall be secure in those rights. In order to give life to the Preamble of the Constitution, and to the Constitution itself, the Members' Bill of Rights has been established.
Member's Bill of Rights
1. Every member has the right to be respected as a human being.
2. Every member has the right to be respected as a brother and sister of this Union.
3. Every member has the right to freedom of speech and the right to be heard.
4. Every member has the right to freedom to listen.
5. Every member has the right to freedom of the press.
6. Every member has the right to participate in the activities of this Union.
7. No member shall be denied the right to seek any office or the right to vote in this Union because of race, color, creed, sex or religion.
8. Every member has the right to support the candidate of his choice and to participate in that right with others.
9. Every member has the right to a fair trial, to be represented by an individual of his choice, and to proper appeal procedures.
10. Every member has the right to be secure in his basic rights without fear of political, economical, physical, or psychological intimidation.
The name of this organization shall be the Southwest Coastal Area Local, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, hereinafter referred to as the Area Local.
Purpose and Aim
SEC. 1. The object of this Area Local shall be to advance the interest of the Postal Service employees regardless of sex, age, race, color, creed, religion, political affiliation, or national origin: to unite the postal workers into a bona fide labor union for their social and economic advancement and their mutual welfare; and to improve the efficiencies of the Postal Service.
SEC. 2. The Area Local shall promote, protect, and champion the legitimate struggles of postal workers toward achieving economic well-being, human dignity on the job, and their rights as workers and citizens. To this end, the Area Local shall strive for the complete elimination of political influence from the Postal Service, and the establishment of seniority as the basis for advancement and preference.
SEC. 1. Eligibility: Any non-supervisory employee, regardless of level or grade, within the jurisdictional claim of this Area Local, is eligible for membership. No person eligible under this section shall be denied membership because of sex, race, creed, color, religion, political affiliation or national origin.
SEC. 2. Application: A. The applicant will be furnished a standard form 1187. This form will be completed and signed by the applicant and returned to the Area Local office.
B. Applicants wishing to be cash-paying members of this Area Local must pay three (3) months dues in advance: thereafter, dues will be accepted on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
SEC. 3. Federal classified employees may be accepted as associate members for Health Plan participation only. Article 3, Section 5 of the National Constitution shall apply.
SEC. 4. Any member who is two (2) months arrears in dues is no longer considered in good standing and shall be so notified in writing. Any member of this Area Local who becomes three (3) months arrears in payment of dues shall be dropped from the rolls. A member dropped from the rolls in the Area Local under this section may be reinstated to the membership upon resubmission to the Secretary-Treasurer of a new signed completed standard form 1187, or its equivalent, or by the payment of one (1) years dues in advance. The excuse provision of the Article 3 Section 1 of the National APWU Constitution shall apply.
SEC. 5. Honorary Membership: This Area Local shall have the power to confer honorary membership. Such member shall be known as honorary members, and the Area Local shall be required to pay not less than National per capita tax. No honorary member shall be eligible to hold office or to be seated as a delegate at a convention, nor shall he have the right to vote.
SEC. 6. Retention of Membership: Members of this Area Local who retired from the Postal Service may maintain full membership with all rights of such membership by continuing to pay full dues.
SEC. 7. Any postal non-bargaining unit employee who has the APWU Health Plan must pay full dues to the Area Local including National per capita.
This Area Local claims jurisdiction over all employees covered in the National Constitution and By-Laws of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO. The geographical claims under this article include those installations currently comprising the Long Beach and Santa Ana, California, Sectional Center Facilities.
Dues and Assessments
SEC. 1. The dues for this local shall be $22.69 per pay period. All future dues are to be derived from Article 2, Section 2 of the National APWU Constitution. Any assessments shall be reflected as an increase in dues applicable to this local.
SEC. 2. This Area Local may assess dues of its members by majority vote by secret ballot of the members in good standing voting at a general or special membership meeting after 15 days notice.
SEC. 3. A Convention Fund shall be established in a special account at fifty cents (50¢) per member per month for the exclusive purposes of sending delegates to the California State APWU Convention and the National APWU Convention.
Delegates and Conventions
SEC. 1. By virtue of their positions, all General Officers will be delegates to the California State APWU and National APWU Conventions.
SEC. 2. In October immediately prior to the convention year, the Executive Board shall report to the membership at the regular meeting the number of additionally paid delegates to be sent to conventions. Nominations and election of delegates shall be conducted at the next General Meeting.
SEC. 1. The elected officers of this Area Local shall be: President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Clerk Division Director, Maintenance Division Director, Motor Vehicle Division Director, and a Chief Steward from each member installation. For representational purposes, the Santa Ana GMF (or whatever its name in the future) and the North and South County GMF's (or whatever their names in the future) shall each be considered an installation from the city in which they are located and are entitled to a Chief Steward for that particular facility.
SEC. 2. The aforementioned officers shall constitute the Executive Board of this Area Local.
SEC. 3. The temporary succession of officers shall be: Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Clerk Division Director, Maintenance Division Director, and Motor Vehicle Division Director. Including the President, these officers constitute the General Officers.
Duties of Officers
SEC. 1. The President shall preside at all stated and special meetings of the general membership and all meetings of the Board. He shall appoint all committees, and shall be a member of all committees. He shall appoint all members to fill elective offices with the approval of the Executive Board until time as an election can be held in accordance with Article 11 of this constitution. He shall appoint all members to the position of steward in member installations after consultation with the Chief Steward of respective installation.
He shall be responsible for all work of the Area Local, and all officers of the Area Local shall work under his supervision. The President, subject to review by the Executive Board, shall have the authority to request members of this local to perform duties for the Local in a pay status payable in accordance with the provisions of Article 13 of this constitution with all other benefits being compensated the same as the President. He may hire and separate office help when needed by this Area Local. He shall have the authority to authorize all necessary and reasonable expenses needed for the administration of the local.
He or his designee shall be responsible for all submissions of grievances to Step 2 and Step 3 of the grievance procedure.
The President of this Area Local shall work full time and be compensated at a rate of Level 11 step P of the US Postal Service pay scale plus 17%. In addition, the President shall be compensated for the employers and employees share of benefits, including cost of living as now paid to postal employees, and any increase which may he granted later and including annual and sick leave benefits at a rate equal to that which would have been provided had he been in a normal duty status.
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Full-time officers of the Southwest Coastal Area Local enrolled in FERS who participate in the Thrift Savings Plan as Postal employees, may continue to do so as union officers. The responsibility of the employer (USPS) is shifted to the Southwest Coastal Area Local, therefore, the Local will contribute one percent of the salary that each full-time FERS-enrolled officer would be earning if he or she was still working for the Postal Service. The Southwest Coastal Area Local will also pay TSP a one hundred percent matching contribution of up to three percent of the officer’s postal salary (not the salary being paid to the officer by the APWU Local). The Local will pay into TSP an additional fifty percent matching contribution of up to an additional two percent of his or her salary. When a full-time union officer wishes to change the amount deducted from his or her paycheck, and have the Local make the employer’s corresponding matching contribution, the officer must himself or herself make these changes through the Postal Service. (Required by NED Resolution of November 2003)
On the anniversary date of the President’s installation, the maximum amount of annual leave and sick leave that may be carried over to the next year shall be Four Hundred Forty (440) hours each. Any annual and sick leave in excess of Four Hundred Forty (440) shall be paid at the current rate of pay. Any future contractual increases in leave carry over will be automatically included in this Constitution.
SEC. 2. The Vice President shall work under the direction of the President. The Vice President will preside over Special Meetings, General Meetings, and Executive Board Meetings if the President is absent.
SEC. 3. The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep a complete and correct record of the proceedings of this Area Local. He shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the President. He shall be required to produce at all meetings the minutes of past meetings for the purpose of ready reference, and an up-to-date copy of the Constitution and By-Laws.
The Secretary-Treasurer shall call a meeting of the Executive Board within ten (10) days after notification that the absence of the President will be of a permanent nature: the purpose of the meeting being to take necessary action to elect a new President: this election will be conducted in the following manner:
(A) Nominations and elections at this Special Executive Board Meeting.
(B) A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Executive Board present shall prevail in the selection. Where there are more than two candidates for the position of President, the candidate receiving the lowest vote will not be eligible for the next ballot. The new President will assume the duties of the office at the close of this meeting.
The Secretary-Treasurer shall establish and maintain a proper accounting system that will reflect the financial standing of the Area Local, and will furnish a statement of income and expenditures for the month just past at each meeting. The Secretary-Treasurer will collect all monies due this Area Local, and is responsible for all disbursements. The Secretary-Treasurer shall prepare such forms and make such reports to the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, at the National and State levels as may be requested and will prepare such forms and reports for the United States Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service or any other governmental agency or department as may be required by law. The Secretary-Treasurer will perform such other duties consistent with the offices as may be directed by the President.
SEC. 4. The Division Directors shall assist in processing all grievances within their crafts. They shall be responsible for organizing the membership within their craft. They shall also perform such other duties as may be assigned them by the President.
SEC. 5. The Chief Stewards shall:
(A) Recommend to the President, members from their respective installations to be appointed to the position of steward and alternate steward, according to the apportionment specified in the National Agreement.
(B) Recommend to the President, members to be appointed to fill any vacancies in the steward positions.
(C) Represent the Area Local in their respective installations in the absence of the President.
(D) Enforce the National and Local Agreements in their respective installations,
SEC. 6. The Executive Board, of which the President shall be Chairperson, shall determine the place and time of Executive Board meetings. The Executive Board shall make or authorize to be made all contracts, or expenditures of this Area Local, subject to review of the general membership. The Executive Board shall receive all petitions not otherwise provided for in this constitution, and will conduct all business for the proper management of the Area Local.
SEC. 1. Trustees: The Trustees shall be considered the “Watchdogs” of this Area Local. They shall review audits of financial records of this Area Local during the month of July, and will make a report of the audit to the general membership at the July Meeting. All official audits of this Area Local shall be done by a certified public accountant. Review of audits shall be made only with a majority of the trustees present; all must be notified of such review in advance.
They shall check and ascertain that all laws and regulations of the Department of Labor, Landrum-Griffin Law, and the Taft-Hartley Law are being complied with in the Area Local, and shall perform such other duties that may be required of them by the President.
The trustees shall be appointed by the President, with the approval of the Executive Board, There shall be a minimum of five (5). The term of office for the trustees shall begin on the first Monday after the July General Meeting and end on the first Sunday after the July General Meeting in each year that a local general election is held.
SEC. 2. A Director of Human Relations shall be responsible to set up and promote programs in the area of EEO, consumerism, retirement, social and economic fields which affect the membership.
SEC. 3. Legislative Director: The Legislative Director will be responsible for keeping the President and the Editor informed of legislation affecting the Area Local’s membership politically, socially, and economically, and to make recommendations on legislation. He shall develop a legislative program and present it to the Executive Board and to the membership for their approval.
He will promote the legislative program of the Area Local, State and National APWU before all public officials and the general public.
SEC. 4. The Hospital Plan Representative shall be responsible to the membership for answering questions and providing material concerning the APWU Hospital Plan. He must be a member of the APWU Hospital Plan.
SEC. 5. The Editor shall publish a news bulletin periodically to inform the membership in this Area Local of the progress, present problems and future programs of the Area Local; and to inform the members of any legislation which may be pertinent to the welfare of the membership.
SEC. 6. The Safety Coordinator shall be responsible for the implementation of all safety programs.
SEC 1. The standing committees of this Area Local shall be the Budget Committee, the Constitution Committee, the Grievance Committee, and the Steward Training Committee. Each standing committee shall have a minimum of five (5) members, including the President. All committee members shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the President.
SEC. 2. The Budget Committee shall meet in January and project a yearly budget. They shall further meet at least quarterly to update this budget. They shall report to the Executive Board and to the general membership.
SEC. 3. The Constitution Committee shall meet when necessary in order to analyze the existing constitution, and propose the Executive Board any revisions or amendments necessary to comply with labor laws and the State and/or National APWU Constitution. They shall be responsible for seeing that all approved amendments to this constitution are published in the Area Local’s publication.
Beginning in 1976, it will be the duty of the Constitution Committee to publish the constitution and furnish a copy to each member in good standing hi-annually.
SEC. 1. The Election Committee: The President at the regularly scheduled meeting in February 1981, and every three years thereafter, shall appoint an election committee No member of this committee can be a candidate for office in this Area Local. Members of this committee shall remain in force from the date of appointment until thirty (30) days after the results of the election are announced. All just expenses incurred by the committee in the proper discharge of its duties shall be borne by the Area Local upon approval of the Executive Board. Nominations from the floor will be accepted at this meeting and closed at this meeting. All nominations must be accepted verbally or in writing prior to the close of the February General Meeting
SEC. 2. The President, under the supervision of the Election Committee, shall select a recognized outside balloting association that will be responsible for the preparation, mailing, and tallying of the ballots.
SEC. 3. The Election shall occur during a seventeen (17) day period in March of each election year. Ballots will be counted the last Thursday in March with the new officers assuming office the following Monday.
SEC. 4 Requirements for holding office in this Area Local:
(A) Unless otherwise prohibited by this Constitution or by Federal Law, any member in good standing may seek office in this Area Local.
(B) Any postal employee eligible to be a member of the American Postal Workers Union who voluntarily holds a managerial, supervisory or EAS position with responsibility for issuing or recommending discipline, or applying or interpreting the National Agreement for the equivalent of one pay period in a year shall be ineligible to hold office in the Area Local or to be a delegate to any convention held by the APWU or any subordinate body of the APWU, so long as the employee continues to serve in such position and for a period of one (1) year from the time the employee vacates such position.
Any postal employee as listed above who has submitted application for the listed positions shall withdraw such application prior to acceptance or nomination for any office in the APWU.
(C) Candidates for Division Director positions must be members of the craft they seek to represent, and they must be nominated and elected only by members of their specific craft.
(D) Candidates for Chief Steward must be employed in the office they wish to represent and may only be nominated and elected by members of that specific installation.
(E) In order to be nominated for office in this Area Local, a candidate must have been a member in good standing n the American Postal Workers Union for a period of at least one (1) year immediately prior to nomination.
(F) President, Vice President or any fully paid officer of the local may not hold nor run for another elected office in the Southwest Coastal Area Local.
SEC. 5. The term of office shall be three (3) years.
SEC. 6. The newly elected Executive Board shall
be installed and seated in April.
SEC. 7. No member holding an elective office in another Postal Union outside of the American Postal Workers Union’s jurisdiction is eligible for office in this Area Local.
SEC. 1. The regular business meeting of this Area Local shall be the General Meeting. During non-local election years, the General Meeting shall be held during the months of January, April, July and October. During election years, the General Meeting will be held during the months of February, April. July and October. If the conventions and election occur in the same year, the General Meeting will be held January, February, July and October.
SEC. 2. (A) At any regular meeting, fifteen (15) members in good standing representing not less than three (3) installations and five (5) members of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum.
(B) In the event that no quorum is present, the Executive Board will be empowered to conduct all business of this Area Local.
SEC. 3. A special or extra meeting may be called by the President, or upon written request to the President, by not less than three (3) Chief Stewards from individual installations. Notice of special meetings shall be posted in all member installations, at least three (3) days prior to the meeting. At special and/or extra meetings, only that business for which the meeting was called may be discussed.
SEC. 4. The Chief Stewards of all member installations are authorized and encouraged to conduct regularly scheduled meetings of the members of their respective installations. The date and time of these meetings will be decided by the installation members concerned.
SEC. 5. The Executive Board will be required to hold a meeting at least once each quarter prior to the General Meeting.
SEC. 1. (A) The Editor is authorized necessary expenses incurred in the publication of the Area Local paper with the approval of the President.
(B) The Executive Board is authorized to rent or lease and maintain appropriate offices, the rental or lease fee to be consistent with the fees of the other office space in the immediate area.
SEC. 2. Members working full time for the Area Local shall be compensated at a salary based on USPS pay scale of PS 11-step P plus 10%. All other benefits will be compensated the same as the President.
SEC. 3. Members of this Area Local not on a regular salary status with the Local, when requested by the President to perform duties for this Local, shall be compensated at a rate equal to that of his current pay status on the US Postal Service pay scale. This does not apply on a member’s regularly scheduled day off.
SEC. 4. Necessary travel will be reimbursed at the rate allowed by the Internal Revenue Service, or conveyance in kind may be furnished when deemed necessary.
SEC. 5. (A) Any fully paid delegate of this Area Local to conventions and other union assemblies shall be paid for cost of travel to be reimbursed at the rate allowed by the Internal Revenue Service for private conveyance, or all cost of commercial conveyance whichever is cheaper, all lodging, and all registration fees. The amount for meals shall be determined by the general membership, not to exceed the amount allowed by the Internal Revenue Service. He shall be paid that money which he would have received had he been in a normal duty status.
(B) Partially paid delegates to conventions and to other union assemblies shall be permitted under this constitution. The amount of such funding is to be decided upon by the general membership at a regular or special meeting.
(C) Non-paid delegates shall be permitted under this constitution with the number being determined by the general membership at a regular or special meeting.
Refer to Article 15 of the National APWU Constitution and Bylaws as amended August 16, 2002.
SEC. 1. Any propositions to repeal, annul, or alter any section or article of this Constitution must be submitted to the Secretary-Treasurer in writing. Such proposed amendments shall have affixed thereto the signatures of at least ten (10) members in good standing in addition to the sponsor of the proposed amendment. The submitted proposal shall cite the article and section numbers to be amended, followed by the proposed change, and by the full text of the section or sections as it or they would read upon adoption of the proposed amendment. The Secretary-Treasurer shall read same at the current regular meeting. Debate shall be opened at this time and any proposed changes to the amendment shall be in order.
SEC. 2. Prior to the next general meeting, the proposed amendment shall be publicized by posted notices and in the Area Local publication.
SEC. 3. At the next general meeting following the introduction of the proposed amendment, the Secretary-Treasurer will again read the proposed amendment. It will be discussed. If any further changes are passed, the amendment as changed will be reposted as per section 2. No further changes will be accepted.
SEC. 4. It shall require two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members present and voting to secure adoption of any proposed amendment, except as may be otherwise provided in this Constitution.
SEC. 5. Proposed amendments containing the same subject matter as previously defeated amendments shall not be presented again for a six (6) month period from the date of the defeat of the originally proposed amendment.
SEC. 1. The Election Committee shall be responsible for the conduct of Area Local elections, and shall decide all controversies arising out of the election process. Any member who feels aggrieved in connection with the conduct of an election shall file his grievance with the Election Committee within seventy-two (72) hours after his grievance arises. (For the purpose of this article, the term “election” shall include nominating procedures.)
Appeals from the decision of the Election Committee shall be to the National Election Appeals Committee; shall be in writing; shall set forth all relevant facts on which the appeal is based; and shall be filed with the National Election Appeals Committee within five (5) days from the decision appealed from.
SEC. 2. Officers declared elected through applicable procedures of the Area Local shall assume and hold office pending final determination under the appeals procedure provided in Article 21 of the National Constitution.
Order of Business
SEC. 1. The order of business of this Area Local shall be:
1. Meeting called to order.
2. Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Roll call of officers.
4. Minutes of the previous general or special meeting shall be submitted for approval. Minutes of the previous Executive Board meeting shall be read.
5. Report of officers, committees, and delegates.
6. Unfinished business.
7. New business and/or open forum.
8. Meeting adjourned.
9. Debate shall be limited to five (5) minutes per speaker. No person shall be permitted to speak more than once until every person has had a chance to speak. No person shall speak more than twice per issue.
Sec. 1A. This section would be in effect only during nominations/elections of delegates or voting on Hearing Board recommendations.
1. Meeting called to order.
2. Pledge of Allegiance.
3. Roll call of officers.
4. Nominations/election of delegates or Hearing Board results.
5. Approval of previous General Meeting minutes.
6. Reading of previous Executive Board minutes.
7. New business and/or open forum.
8. Meeting adjourned.
9. During Hearing Board results, debate shall be limited to fifteen (15) minutes for each party. The only parties who shall be allowed to debate will be the maker of the charges or their representative and the charged party or their representative.
Sec. 2. The order of business may be suspended at any time by a two-third (2/3) vote of those members present and voting at any regular meeting.
Rules of Order
In the absence of other authority, the deliberations of this Area Local shall be governed by "Roberts Rules of Order, Revised".
Amendments to these By-Laws may be made by the Executive Board.
In the Constitution, for the sake of brevity, the term "he" shall be understood to mean "he or she".
Southwest Coastal Area Local
Sexual Harassment Policy
It is the policy of the Southwest Coastal Area Local that all members, stewards and officers are responsible for ensuring that the union is free from sexual harassment. Because of the Southwest Coastal Area Local's strong disapproval of offensive or inappropriate behavior, all members, stewards and officers must avoid any action or conduct which could be viewed as sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexually harassing nature.
Any member, steward or officer who has a complaint of sexual harassment by anyone, should first clearly inform the harasser that his/her behavior is offensive or unwelcome and request that the behavior stop. If the behavior continues, the member, steward or officer must immediately bring the matter to the attention of the Southwest Coastal Area Local. If the President is involved in the harassing activity, the violation should be reported to the Vice President of the Southwest Coastal Area Local.
The Southwest Coastal Area Local will take appropriate remedial action if deemed appropriate. In the event the person who was violated wishes to bring charges against the harasser, Article 15, Section 3(f) of the National APWU Constitution must be followed. This includes a 120 period from the date of the incident in which to file charges.
False allegations are serious as well and will be addressed.
Adopted May 31, 2014
This version of the Local Constitution (as amended July 31, 2014) has been voted upon as being the current and correct constitution by the following:
1) General Membership
2) Executive Board
3) Constitution Committee
5) Budget Committee