Archive for February, 2011

Union Strong, Union Smart with New Union Plus Education Benefits

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

The rising costs of education are a hurdle for working families. But thanks to new Union Plus discounts, scholarships and rebates, AFM families and their children have help to get the college edge.

New Education Rebates: AFM Union Plus Credit Card holders can now qualify for rebates of $50, $125 or $250 for eligible education purchases made with their AFM Union Plus Credit Card.

Purchases made at educational institutions for college text books, tuition, tutoring, dining costs and other education-related expenses qualify for the rebate. In addition, fees from The Princeton Review college test preparation courses and SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, MCAT and LSAT test registration (College Board or other test providers) qualify for the rebate.

Amount of Eligible Education Purchase Rebate Amount
$200 $50
$500 $125
$1000 $250

Visit UnionPlus.org/Education to learn more and to download an education rebate application.

Union Plus Scholarships
Whether you’re attending the National Labor College or another accredited institution, Union Plus can help you cut the cost of a higher education with these scholarships:

  • $150,000 in Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school.
  • $25,000 in scholarships to help union members and leaders obtain degrees at the National Labor College.
  • New scholarships for Digital Learning classes for the National Labor College’s three new online degree programs in March and May.
  • Canadian members may also apply for scholarships if attending a school in the U.S. Visit UnionPlus Education for more information.

Save on College Test Preparation
AFM families and their children can now better afford the preparation needed to get that college acceptance letter. Your Union Plus College Test Preparation Discount can save AFM families 15-60% on college and graduate preparation classes with The Princeton Review:

  • Save on SAT and ACT Online and Classroom Courses
  • College Affordability and Admissions Courses at 50% off Lessen the Stress
  • Save 20-50% on GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT test prep.

Not sure what help you need? Sign up for a free, no obligation, full-length practice test and an advisor will help you review your results to see what type of help is best for you.

Canadian union members can also take advantage of the discounts. To enroll or learn more about your union-member-only discount, call 1-888-243-7737 or visit UnionPlus.org/CollegePrep.

Grants are also available to help you save for your children or grandchildren’s future. Learn more at UnionPlus.org/Education.

Local Compliance

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Locals are reminded that Article 5 of the AFM Bylaws (PDF) contains compliance standards and requirements designed to ensure successful operation of the Local and to provide appropriate representation to its membership.

Local Relinquishments

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Janurary 2011

  • Local 52-626, Norwalk charter revoked to Local 802, New York, NY (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 351, Burlington, VT charter relinquished to Local 171, Springfield, MA (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 27, New Castle, PA relinquished to Local 118, Warren, OH (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 472, York, PA relinquished to Local 294, Lancaster, PA (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 436-515, Pottsville, PA relinquished to Local 135-211, Reading, PA (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 469, Watertown, WI charter lapsed, reassigned to Local 193, Waukesha, WI (effective January 1, 2011)
  • Local 387, Jackson, MI charter lapsed, reassigned to Local 626, Ann Arbor, MI (effective January 1, 2011)

February 2011

  • Local 461, Anacortes, WA lapsed charter reassigned to Local 76-493, Seattle, WA (effective 2/1/2011)

2011 Conference Dates

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

2011 Conference Dates
(Partial list)

  • Western
    Vancouver, BC, CAN
    February 25-27
  • New England & New York
    Holyoke, MA
    March 18-20
  • Mid-States
    Milwaukee, WI
    April 30 & May 1
  • LCC/PCC
    Las Vegas, NV
    June 4-5
  • Southern
    Atlanta, GA
    June 11-12
  • OCSM
    Vancouver, BC, CAN
    August 10-14
  • TMA
    Dearborn, MI
    August 15-16
  • ICSOM
    Dearborn, MI
    August 17-20
  • Canadian
    Calgary, Alberta, CAN
    August 19-21
  • ROPA
    Portland, ME
    Date TBA

FIF, FWD and Per Capita Forms Online

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

A reminder for local officers that your Federation Initiation Fee (FIF), Federation Work Dues (FWD) and Per Capita forms are available at the AFM.org Document Library.

At this time, the Per Capita and the Canadian Federation Work Dues form are “PDF fillable”. This means that you can fill out these forms online, print, sign and submit these forms with your checks to the Finance Department.

The IT Department is working on making all forms “PDF fillable” for 2011.

Effective January 1, 2011 the “No FIF/Work Dues Report” card will be available at AFM.org Document Library. By completing the form online and clicking “send mail” an email will be generated and sent to the person completing the form and the Finance Department.

Local Recordkeeping 2011

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

For local officers, the New Year brings opportunities to start the year resolute to once again serve the membership at the highest level, and also, to refine the duty of recordkeeping and reporting. This article will provide information and reminders to locals, which may assist with this duty.

In compliance with the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) of 1959, as amended, unions have the responsibility to file certain documents and records with the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS). The annual LM report for US locals (LM 2, 3, or 4), and the local’s constitution and bylaws, are two of the most important documents that locals are required to file regularly with the OLMS. Additionally, locals are required to file any changes and updates to the local bylaws with the OLMS. This document is a public record, and as such, must be up to date and accurate. For US locals, the form 990 or e-card are also required reporting documents to be filed in a timely manner with the IRS.

It is important to ensure that locals’ LM reports are filed in a timely manner with the OLMS. Failure to do so sets up red flags and is an invitation for a compliance audit with the Department of Labor (DOL). It is equally important to maintain accuracy in annual reporting and from one year’s LM report to the next. For instance, if your local ended last year’s report with a balance of $5,000 in an operating account, it is important that your records reflect an identical opening balance for that account. Other actions that can bring negative attention to the LM report are simple math mistakes on the LM forms. It is advisable to always have a second set of eyes proof the LM report prior to sending it to the government. Accuracy and veracity are a priority in filing LM reports and the form 990 or e-card. All records backing up any LM or 990 reporting must be maintained for a minimum of five years, in order to verify the reports with the DOL or IRS if need be.

For more information on LM reporting and other compliance and labor matters, visit the Department of Labor website at: www.dol.gov. This site contains a wealth of information helpful to locals.

In order to have the information necessary to file accurate LM reports, it is highly recommended that locals maintain accurate day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month records. Every transaction, whether an expenditure or a receipt of funds, should be immediately notated, outlining the purpose for the expense or receipt of funds. A special note should be made regarding cash transactions, since cash transactions can be problematic if they are not properly notated. Anytime cash is received as payment, a receipt must be provided to the employee or officer on the spot, with clear notation for the records. Likewise, if cash is provided as a method of payment, be sure to obtain a receipt from the vendor to whom payment was made. Cash should be kept in a safe, and not in an office drawer or other unsecure location.

Another unnecessary pitfall among some locals is the practice of one local officer signing a blank check and leaving it with another officer to use in the course of business. Just as a reminder, this is not an acceptable practice and is an invitation for misuse of local union funds. Checks should never contain a signature unless fully executed in all other lines. All checks should require a dual signature. This is a common sense check and balance for financial responsibilities.

Additional elements germane to good recordkeeping and to safeguard your local are:

  • Reconcile bank statements monthly.
  • Prepare a quarterly financial statement and share it with your board.
  • Do not use ATM cards (debit cards) for any local purchases.
  • Make copies of checks for your records prior to any deposit.
  • Keep detailed records of any credit card purchases.
  • Do not mix personal and business accounts and expenditures.
  • Keep hard copy files to back up electronic files.

For more information or assistance, your AFM International Representative (IR) is available via phone, Internet, fax, and if necessary, in-person visits. If your local is contacted by the DOL for a compliance audit, please contact your IR right away. Click here for IR contact information.