APWU Clashes with USPS on New 3971 Language

12/01/2017The Postal Service’s Request for or Notification of Absence (Form 3971) has been amended to include a new section applicable to those going on leave without pay (LWOP) for official union business.  This new section states:

LWOP – Union Official (Required Certification)

By signing this form, I certify this request is not for the purpose of engaging in partisan political activity as defined by the Hatch Act and its implementing regulations

This certification is an overreaction by the Postal Service to the July 14, 2017 report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC).  The Report of Hatch Act Investigation: Facilitating Labor Union’s Political Activity Through Use of “Union Official” Leave Without Pay stated that “The postal unions and individual employees and members are permitted, and should be encouraged, to maintain PACs, endorse candidates, and enlist union members to support their electoral agendas on their own time.”

The Postal Service grossly overreached and is trying to suppress postal employees from exercising their First Amendment rights as protected by the Hatch Act. Furthermore, by changing PS Form 3971 and changing the ELM 514, the Postal Service is violating the APWU/USPS Collective Bargaining Agreement.

APWU has filed a national dispute, a charge with the National Labor Relations Board, and is reviewing other possible legal action to overturn these changes.

APWU members are not second-class citizens! We refuse to be denied or intimidated into not fully using our political voices on issues and candidates who will protect a public and thriving Postal Service.


For information on the Hatch Act, please see below.

What You Can and Can’t Do at Election Time

Your active participation in the political process is essential! As public employees, postal workers need to be familiar with the Hatch Act, which limits how we can participate in party-related political activities.

Postal employees:

  • MAY be candidates in non-partisan elections.

When NOT on postal property, in uniform or on the clock, postal employees:

  • MAY register to vote and register others to vote.
  • MAY donate money to candidates.
  • MAY attend political rallies and meetings.
  • MAY campaign for – or against – candidates and issues.
  • MAY get out the vote.
  • MAY distribute campaign literature and express opinions.

Partisan politics on the clock, in uniform, or on postal property could violate the Hatch Act, so please adhere to the following:

  • NO partisan political activity while on the clock.
  • NO partisan political activity in a postal or federal building.
  • NO partisan political activity while in a postal uniform.
  • NO partisan political activity while driving a postal vehicle.
  • NO partisan political activity using official postal equipment.
  • NO partisan political activity via social media (including email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) while on duty or in a postal facility.

What is Partisan Political Activity?

Partisan political activity includes any actions that are supporting or opposing a candidate in an election (federal, state or local) when he/she is running as a member of a certain political party (Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Green, etc.). On a ballot, if there is a letter after their name, it is a partisan candidate. Most positions in federal and state elections are partisan, for example Governor or U.S. Senator, but there are some local seats which are not, for example a school board member.

Partisan political activity also includes asking for money or volunteers for a candidate and/or political party to utilize in an election. This also includes inviting any co-workers to a rally or event supporting any political party. Making political contributions yourself is also partisan political activity and can not be done while on the clock, in uniform or on postal property.

However, any activity surrounding a piece of legislation or political issue is NOT partisan. Encouraging co-workers to call their members of Congress to support or oppose a bill is allowed.

If you have any further questions concerning permissible activity please contact the Legislative & Political Department at 202-842-4211 or by email at legislative@apwu.org.

USPS updates PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence

Postal Workers Campaign Activity while on Leave under Investigation

Wisconsin letter carrier to testify at Senate Hearing on political campaigning by postal workers

7 thoughts on “APWU Clashes with USPS on New 3971 Language

  1. The problem is the Union has never represented the interests of the worker. They represent self serving interests but are a necessary evil because management is much the same.

    The Union is supposed to be NONPARTISEN so this should not even be an issue.

  2. So Mr. # 1 hates radical left wing nuts, socialists, progressives, and Communists. I see that you believe in right wing tyranny. And that workers shouldn’t have union rights. Just quit the Postal Service and find a nice non union dream job! You must enjoy President Donald Dump. Don’t worry, the Ratpublicans will take care of you. Be sure to send your children to a tax payer funded school, don’t pay tuition. Make the progressive left wing nuts pay for your obligation. However, there are times when right wing people think it’s alright to suck off taxpayers.

    • Management don’t love nor care for you so what the next step to take; W. Todd you are right again!

  3. funny the a-pee-u is spending more effort over this pap then fighting the Function 1 Scheduler screwing everybody………makes you wonder about this union filled with radical left wing nuts. stopped paying money into this dues collection agency because of their pc/marxist/socialist/progressive/communist doxie crap.

    • Postal Joe, There is a misnomer about having someone or entity to represent you or a body of people. To represent you, the employee or member must relinquish their personal voice to the representer. The decisions made may not reflect how the employees feel or in their best interest. Checkout this joke!

  4. Leave it to the APWU…they worry about the stupid s*** like this that no one cares about and yet they are willing to throw all members and retirees under the bus with the endorsement of the Postal Reform bill, (that everyone should care about) because it will forever screw up our Health insurance!! Why pay dues with this kind of stupidity in charge??

Comments are closed.