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3.24.22 – APFA Receives Article VII Arbitration Awards

Thursday, March 24, 2022

On March 19th, Arbitrator Ruben R. Armendariz issued a decision in Article VII charges brought under the APFA Constitution and Policy Manual against former APFA National President Bob Ross. Arbitrator Armendariz barred Ross from serving in any APFA position for life, ordered Ross to resign as San Francisco Base President, ordered Ross to repay APFA a substantial sum of money, and ordered an independent audit of certain expenses.

This decision follows a February 18th, 2022 decision that barred former APFA National Treasurer Eugenio Vargas from holding any APFA position for life and fined him half the cost of the arbitration, among other remedies.

Arbitrator Armendariz also ordered sweeping changes in the APFA financial policy, which requires training on allowable expenses, and instructed APFA to create a separate body of trained forensic accountants. This ruling demonstrates that this organization has spent years operating without proper financial controls. We have attached the decisions below and encourage all members to educate themselves on these issues.

These charges were brought by APFA members Melissa Chinery and Sandra Lee under Article VII of the APFA Constitution. We thank them for bringing these issues forward. The fact that we are in this place illustrates the need for more reform. You deserve to have your dues money spent according to the strictest financial standards. The dues dollars that allow our union to operate and provide our paychecks are your dollars, and we have a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard union finances.

When our administration took office, we supported financial transparency and committed to upholding the language that members have the right to review the financial information of the union under Article III of the APFA Constitution and federal labor law. Previously, this union has prevented members from reviewing all financial documents. Following prior legal advice, members were only allowed to view monthly financial reports and the LM-2 reports (our annual Department of Labor filing). We believe our past outside attorneys and advisors guided us improperly. We will continue to ensure members are not kept in the dark about dues spending.

To view the Chinery-Lee v Ross Arbitration Award, please click here.

To view the Chinery-Lee v Vargas Arbitration Award, please click here.

Next Steps: Ensuring Financial Transparency and Accountability at APFA

These decisions are a wake-up call for our entire union. As an independent union, we have no parent body to scrutinize our actions and must hold ourselves to the strictest standards. In the coming months, we will be reviewing the APFA Policy Manual to further reform APFA’s financial policies. We will fully cooperate with Arbitrator Armendariz’s decisions and will draw on the expertise of legal and financial experts.

Financial accountability and transparency have been a priority for our administration. We have taken several steps to ensure that APFA is handling your dues dollars responsibly, including:

  • Increasing membership visibility into our financial reports, including audits, LM-2 filings, monthly financial reports, expense and mileage reports, credit card statements, signed contracts and agreements, and payroll registers.
  • PA/AR removals (flat rate of 5 hours per day) used for all known meetings (such as Board of Director’s Meetings and Executive Committee Meetings). PA/AR days are pre-planned absences placed onto a union Representative’s schedule before PBS processes and count towards the Representative’s PBS award max (Policy Manual 5.C.1.g).
  • Enforcement of the Financial Reform Initiative resolutions passed at the March 2021 APFA Annual Convention, which included the following updates to the APFA Policy Manual:
    • Resolution #8- APFA Issued Credit Cards creates a new section 5.L in the Policy Manual and limits APFA credit card usage to National Officers. It also requires accountability by ensuring that another National Officer has to sign off on charges, requires strict documentation of all charges, and implements twice-yearly reviews of credit card activity by the Budget Committee. At least one (1) random audit will be performed by the Budget Committee every six (6) months to ensure proper spending, and training on the policy will be required by all incoming National Officers.
    • Resolution #9- APFA Apartments puts more stringent guidelines on spending and inventory for APFA provided apartments. The Budget Committee shall maintain a table of the approved costs for purchasing new or replacement items. It adds a new inventory system to track all items belonging to APFA.
    • Resolution #10- Business Related Meals adds policy for group meals to ensure compliance with the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) regarding meals purchased using an APFA credit card. All meal charges must be accompanied by a written explanation of the specific union business conducted during the meal and the full names and titles of all attendees.
    • Resolution #11- Rental Car Policy & APFA Provided Transportation adds language that any APFA Representative on union business in DFW should make every effort to utilize APFA-owned vehicles before using a taxi, rental cars, or other paid forms of transportation. This resolution also revises, further defines, and limits APFA Policy Manual Section 5.H.4 by limiting rental car usage by incoming National Officers to thirty (30) days, except in extenuating circumstances and only upon approval from the APFA Executive Committee.
    • Resolution #12- National Officer Relocation updates the amount allowed for a National Officer to move to DFW. Instead of offering $10,000 round trip for a move to DFW, the Budget Committee shall maintain a table of approved relocation costs. Relocation reimbursement may be provided in accordance with the table.This resolution also limits the time in which a National Officer must decide to move to DFW or take an APFA provided apartment. This change allows the National Officer three (3) months from the election date to make their decision.

      This resolution also limits the amount of time a National Officer may reside in a hotel while deciding to move to DFW or take an APFA apartment. If a National Officer elects to live in an APFA apartment while in DFW, they will not be paid moving expenses if they suddenly change their mind and decide to relocate to DFW.

    • Resolution #13- Collection of Non-Dues Related Monies Owed by APFA Representatives adds a new section to the APFA Policy Manual, Section 7.J. It states that Representatives owing non-dues related monies to APFA will receive written notification from the National Treasurer and ensures payment or a payment plan within thirty (30) days of receipt of such notification. If no payment is received, the monies will be sent to a collection agency.
    • Resolution #14- Resignation or Recall of a National Officer adds new language. Before this resolution, APFA had no written policy or procedure outlining pay and benefits for a resigning or recalled National Officer. This resolution adds a new Section 6.E to the APFA Policy Manual outlining the pay and benefits for a resigning or recalled National Officer and will remove the possibility of any future National Officer exit agreements.

 

We will continue to review policies that have been in place for many years and make the changes necessary to ensure APFA is compliant with the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards for labor unions.

In Solidarity,


Julie Hedrick
APFA National President

1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

Phone: (817) 540-0108
Fax: (817) 540-2077

 

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