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"Bostonian" Articles

 

THIRD QUARTER BOSTONIAN ISSUE 2010

                             CLERK CRAFT REPORT
 
                                       Bob Keough

Our National Convention took place August 22 through the 26th in Detroit, Michigan. Workshops were held on Saturday. Many important issues and resolutions were debated, some of which could shape the future of the APWU. The entire Boston delegation worked hard and did a great job. I thank each of them personally for their time and efforts. I am proud to work alongside such outstanding unionists. Barry Holland, Ray Bell, Janice DeMello, Linda Cheevers, Wayne Greenside, Mike McDonald, Joe Joyce, Bill Weaver, Jack Wheeler, Moe Lepore, along with the full-time officers, represented our local.

I was fortunate to have been picked to serve on the Clerk Craft Committee. The Committee was made up of 8 members from different locals. Our job was to review every Clerk resolution submitted to the Convention. The resolutions were discussed, and we passed along our recommendations to concur or non-concurrence to the entire Convention. The entire body then votes on the resolution. It was an honor to serve on this prestigious committee, and I thank Clerk Craft Director Jim McCarthy for the opportunity.

Talking with my fellow Committee members, it became very clear just how widespread excessing has become. Many parts of the country are facing large impacts. In some cases, clerks have been excessed 500 miles. Thousands of full-time clerks have been affected. Larger locals have had hundreds of full-time clerks excessed. Excessed employees are faced with tough choices: uproot and move up to 500 miles, convert to PTR, or quit. Families are being torn apart. Locals big and small are being impacted. The cuts are deep. Further excessings are expected as FSS comes online. We in Boston have been working hard to avoid these kinds of impacts. We are optimistic installation excessings will be avoided. FSS impacts will be minimal here.

There were several resolutions submitted, including one by Boston Metro, to expand Part-Time bidding rights. Currently Part-Time regular employees are restricted when bidding a Full-Time position. This issue was one of the most debated items at the Convention. The Clerk Craft Committee argued over this subject at length. I believe that seniority should be the sole basis for awarding bids. However, given the fact that so many locals have full-time employees excessed, many felt that now is not the time to expand PT bidding. The fact that PT regulars could bid a full-time position prior to excessed FT clerks getting their retreat rights caused the majority of the Committee to vote against these resolutions. These resolutions were brought forth to the entire Convention and voted down. I will continue to fight for the bidding rights for Part-Time employees. Article 12 excessing issues do need to be resolved; however this does not diminish the fact that we are an industrial union and our seniority is all we have. Although these formal resolutions did not pass, I believe that the currently qualified requirement for newly established positions language will be addressed during national negotiations.

A resolution calling for a $3.00 dues increase was brought forward to the Convention. President Burrus stated the National APWU did not need an increase, while many locals argued that declining memberships and increased costs, much of it passed from the national to locals, made a dues increase necessary. After much debate the resolution was defeated.

The Boston Metro co-authored and submitted a resolution supporting our troops and calling for the end of the war. The war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than any other war in American history at 105 months, passing Vietnam at 103 months. Suicide among our returning veterans has skyrocketed. The resolution calls for jobs for veterans and decent health care among other things. It also calls on the APWU to demand the end to the war and for all unions to do the same. The resolution passed overwhelmingly and with positive energy. National Human Relations Director Sue Carney spoke with passion and eloquence on the matter. Her dedication to veterans is remarkable. She ‘walks the talk’. She has dedicated herself to helping vets and veteran causes. I have been astonished at her tenacity and effectiveness. Thank you, Sue, for all you do for our veterans.

Our contract expires this November. Negotiations are set to begin September 1st. The body made it clear to the National that we will not accept any give-backs as they negotiate our National Agreement. More news will be forthcoming as negotiations take place.

National APWU elections will take place shortly. Ballots will be mailed out on September 13th. There are many important races taking place, including President, Vice-President, Organizing Director and Clerk Craft Director. Please take time to vote. Your vote counts and matters. APWU National President Bill Burrus will not be seeking reelection; he will be retiring at the end of this current term. Burrus is a remarkable guy. We wish him and his family well. He has served the APWU for many years and distinguished himself well.

Locally we have been notified that the FSS machines will go on line October 14th. These machines have been delayed multiple times. The Postal Service is adamant the FSS will be ready on that date. We shall see. Tour-1 NWB is still undergoing an in-section. I will not do management’s job for them. They have repeatedly screwed up the in-section. I have made it clear that all retreat rights, in-sections and postings must be done in accordance with contractual requirements. Appropriate grievances will be filed if necessary. MPC positions will be posted for bid once retreat right issues have been resolved. Rumors of the mixed states mail leaving NWB have proven not to be true. We have not been notified of any impacts to tour-2 NWB at this time.

There are a couple of things we can do to protect our jobs. We estimate that over 50 window positions could be saved if every window clerk clocked on to the correct operation number at all times. Many times a window clerk will be throwing mail, but be clocked onto the window operation. Numbers would show too many people on the window and no credit is given for the distribution work. Obviously the numbers are skewed, but management does not care. They cut jobs based on these numbers. It may be awkward to keep swiping your badge, but protecting our jobs is worth it.

Window clerks "earn time" for each transaction performed. The more time earned – the more positions. An example given regarding earning time: a customer wants 10 books of stamps. The window clerk can scan one book and enter 10, thus earning time for only one transaction; or the window clerk could scan and enter each one individually, and earn 10 times as much time. Simply put, the more transactions – the more jobs. Lines are long and many offices short-staffed but please perform your duties the way you were taught. Your job is on the line. If you’re not on the window, please make sure you’re not on a window operation number, vice versa with manual operations. I also believe that all postal work is ours. We can do it all. We will take it all. If mail handlers are cut from an office, we will take the work. Lastly, if a supervisor is doing our work, we need to address that. It is not ok. Our craft is under attack. Call a steward or the hall to report any violations in your office or section.

In the plants, expeditors are required to follow a safety SOP. Adherence to the SOP causes trucks to back up and drivers impatient to leave. Supervisors pressure expeditors to cut corners. There have been several incidents of loads not secured properly, keys not taken and lock-boxes left open. Several MVS members have been fired. Management will come after our expeditors if something goes amiss. They will look for a scapegoat, and it won’t be them. The platform GMF is already short-staffed. Expeditors are running from door to door. Please work safely and follow the SOP. You are protecting yourself and your job.

A duty assignment that remains vacant after the completion of the bidding process becomes a residual position. Under normal circumstances these jobs would be posted the following bid cycle; however the Postal Service has invoked Article 12. Under Article 12, residual positions must be held for area excessing. This list of residual positions has grown. Approximately 30 Full-Time and 10 Part-Time positions are being held under Article 12. We are attempting to get out from under Article 12 to get these jobs reposted. This would also allow transfers in and out of our installation and allow Part-Time employees more bidding choices.

Hope everyone had a great, happy summer.
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SECOND QUARTER BOSTONIAN ISSUE 2010


                             CLERK CRAFT REPORT 
                                          Bob Keough

The 39th Annual Massachusetts and 1st Annual New England States Convention took place April 30th - May 2nd. Many national officers were in attendance, including General President Bill Burrus, Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell, Clerk Craft Director Jim McCarthy, Human Relations Director Sue Carney, and Legislative Assistant Director Steve Albanese. New England National Business Agents Steve Lukosus, Frank Rigiero and Tom O’Brien hosted workshops. The workshops took place April 30th and were well attended. I attended the IOD/NRP workshop taught by Sue Carney.

National officers addressed the delegates on Saturday. Each took questions. An important item talked about was five day delivery. There is no doubt that five day delivery would be disastrous for us. Not only would it mean the loss of many more clerk jobs, I believe it would be the beginning of the end for the Postal Service.  Our competitors will have no problem delivering mail on Saturday. It won’t be long before the Postal Service will be looking to eliminate another day of delivery. The monopoly would be over.  Our livelihoods are at stake.

We need our Congressmen and Senators to support six day delivery. Please take time to find out what you can do. A great place to start is the legislative page on the national website at
www.apwu.org. You can also find more information on our local’s website at bostonmetroapwu.com.


A resolution submitted by the Boston Metro was debated and approved by the delegates. It now moves forward to the National Convention which will be held this August in Detroit. I am confident that this resolution will be adopted by the delegates there as well. This resolution will require that the restrictive language in Article 37, Section 3, be removed. Current language severely limits part-time employees’ choices. Part-time employees find it very, very difficult to return to full-time. Seniority should and must be the sole determining factor for awarding bids. I am proud to have authored the resolution. As a member of the Clerk Craft Committee for the upcoming national convention, I will ensure that this issue is addressed. I am committed to this issue. We will work tirelessly to see that this resolution is passed and negotiated into our contract.

Locally, chronic short-staffing has reached the breaking point in many offices. Many clerks are forced to work long hours without taking a break. Some don’t take a lunch. It’s getting harder and harder to get a day off. Management dumps more and more work on us. One problem that is growing is boxline scans. Since there is not enough manpower to get the job done on time, often boxline scans are done, but the mail has NOT been thrown. Mail is not getting up on time, yet scans show the mail as up. We have supervisors doing the scan daily, as the mail is still sitting in tubs. The boxline scan should not be done until all DPS and First Class is done. Supervisors should not be doing these scans. The boxline clerk should do it only after the mail is up. I have addressed this issue with the Postmaster numerous times.


Instructions to scan box mail upon its completion have been issued.  It is not OK to scan it done if it is not done. Here is a portion of a management email regarding scans. It is in response to a phone call from me. It is from an area manager. "I spoke to … after receiving a call from Bob Keough and I explained and instructed … that the Box line is not to be scanned until the mail is up with the understanding that we would consider that the mail is up when the DPS and 1st class is up. This is same instruction I gave to all my managers…".


If your supervisor is performing scans or you are being instructed to scan in spite of the fact that the mail is not done, please contact the union hall. Management justifies staffing cuts through numbers. Most times the numbers are skewered. False box scans, false all-up scans, mystery shopper scores give the impression that everything is OK. The truth is lines are out the doors, box mail is not getting up. Clerks are pulled from the window to get the mail up. Most offices are short-staffed. R&P clerks are misused and supervisors are doing our work. Grievances are up.


If something isn’t right in your office, call your steward and file a grievance. We must protect our work and jobs. Management has not slowed down one bit. They have been busy trying to eliminate positions. Staffing packages continue to pour into this office. Massive impacts at NWB, Braintree, and Cambridge are the latest. An average of five staffing packages a week show up, most involving abolishments and excessings. Window clerks are stressed out and overworked, I know, but please do not give management an inch, cut corners or do them any favors. It only hurts us in the long run.

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SEPT/OCT 2009 BOSTONIAN

                           CLERK CRAFT REPORT
                                    Bob Keough


It was with great honor that I attended the laying of the wreath by our local at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Boston Metro members Jeff Baird, Bill Weaver, John Fraughton and Kevin Jones led the Boston delegation. I personally want to thank Kevin Jones and his wife, Elaine. I felt privileged to be there to share that day with them. Their son, Ryan, was killed in action in Iraq in 2007. Ryan’s commanding officer was in attendance. It was a truly moving experience and something I will never forget. One cannot walk those hallowed grounds without feeling a profound sense of respect and honor. I would also like to thank National APWU officers Jim McCarthy, Sue Carney, Steve Albanese, Cliff Guffey, and Greg and Karen See for attending.

As part of the incentive agreement, there is a moratorium on excessing through October 9th. This does not mean, however, that management has slowed down. I was recently notified that the CFS unit will be closed. The work will be transferred to Worcester. Management has not set a date at this time. I expect this move to take place before the end of the year. Meetings will be scheduled at the regional level over the next few months. Obviously there will be impacts to our mark-up clerks. I have met with all CFS clerks and will continue to do so as this develops.


As part of the Postal Services consolidation plan, nine offices in our local are under review for closure. They are: Logan, BU, BC, MIT, Soldiers Field, Nonantum, Faneuil Hall, Babson, and Tufts. Please contact your member of congress. Let them know the negative impacts these closings would have, especially to the elderly. The full time officers have been meeting with city, state and federal officials, contacting news organizations, leafleting, and meeting with neighborhood groups as part the fight to keep these offices open. Anyone interested in helping out, even just for a few hours, is welcome. Give the union hall a call.

 

Below is an article I came across on the Pittsburgh Area local’s web site. I found it to be informative and I am reprinting for the benefit of all window clerks.

The information we have presented on this page is something that every window clerk should take the time to review periodically. There is a host of good information on just about everything you would need to do your job correctly, safely, and in as stress-free an environment as possible. As always, let us know if we can add anything to the list.


Retail Rights and Wrongs


Dos and Don’ts

Do Not Take Shortcuts

Record Your Non-Revenue Transactions

Retail Equipment Problems

Uniforms

Training

Lobby Sweeps

Put Your Checkbook Away!

Reporting Shortages to the IRS

Security

Mystery Shopper

Compact Disk


If a Robbery Occurs . . .


DOS AND DON’TS


Regardless of whether you have individual financial accountability or have shared stock (segmentation) or work in a retail store:


1. Scan and enter every sale item, even a one-cent stamp, a first-class stamp, or a retail envelope. Input every item into your POS ONE, IRT, etc., because you never know whether that friendly customer is a Postal Inspector. Although you may make your adjustment later, the Postal Inspector doesn't know that. They will immediately suspect that something suspicious is going on. Is your job worth it? INPUT EVERYTHING!


2. Use your POS ONE cash drawer. If you don't, you may be suspected of manipulating funds.


3. Change. DO NOT make any change from your personal funds. Always go to your supervisor, T-6, or another clerk. Make the even exchange of money visible and return to your window immediately to place the money back into the drawer.


4. Too many "GL Adjustments", "Error Corrects", "No Sales", etc. This may give the appearance that funds are being manipulated. Avoid this when possible.


5. Input all credit/debit transactions into your POS ONE and IRT at the time of sale.


6. Do not retain more than $100 in your drawer. This is a violation of the F-1. Is your job worth not complying with Postal rules and regulations?


7. Error on PVIs: Fill out Form 3533 and submit it on the same day. Don't try to use it on your next transaction.


8. Receipts: Always give your customer their receipt. Do not input "postage affixed" to reuse a PVI or to place stamps on a package. Again, you may be suspected of manipulating funds.


9. Don't have IOUs in your stock for any reason.


10. Never hold checks for any reason.


11. Never use your own drawer to buy stamps, cash a check or buy a money order for any reason!


12. Be sensible, using a certain amount of caution with every transaction and task. Take the time you need to do the job correctly. Don't let management rush you and don't take any shortcuts. (See below) This is particularly important in light of the downsizing of window clerk jobs.


13. Don't ever talk to a Postal Inspector without Union representation... NEVER NEVER NEVER!


14. Always conduct yourself as though you are being observed. Chances are, you are being observed. Take reasonable care and follow all postal procedures. The use of shortcuts may lead to your postal career being cut short.


DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS

Shortcuts result in losses of money and JOBS!

- Carry out each task on the window as you were taught in window training.

- Make certain you witness the verification of monies you turn in and obtain a signed receipt.

- Utilize the appropriate terminal key when retrieving accountable mail or otherwise assisting customers in non-revenue transactions.

- Never accept stock while on window - take time to count!

- Never accept or swap stock without a Form 17.

- When retrieving a certified or registered item, you should log off (if using retail equipment) to "non-revenue" prior to leaving the window and lock your drawer.

- The Union can best protect you from discipline and paying for shortages if you help protect yourself by following proper procedure.


RECORD YOUR NON-REVENUE TRANSACTIONS

Save your jobs:


Management cuts staffing, in part, by measuring POS-ONE DOWNTIME. Unfortunately, not utilizing your Non-Revenue Transaction codes as instructed (probably because you don't have, or make, the time to) robs the office of vital window coverage.


Please help stop this vicious downward cycle by
accurately recording Non-Revenue selections.


Of course it is equally essential that you timely return to the appropriate Transaction functions lest the entire period be recorded as downtime.


RETAIL EQUIPMENT PROBLEMS

You need to:


- Document all equipment failures by notifying your supervisor in writing and keep a copy.


- Include the date, time and type of equipment, i.e., POS terminal, IRT, calculator, etc. Make sure to detail the specific malfunction.

- For POS problems, call the HELP DESK so a ticket can be generated to document that a problem exists and a fix can be initiated.


HELP DESK Phone Number....1-800-877-7435   (1-800-USPS-HELP)

UNIFORMS

Requirements:

Retail personnel at Post Offices whose official assignments at a retail counter are for a minimum of 4 hours daily for 5 days a week on a continuing basis, or for not less than 30 hours a week, are required to wear the prescribed uniform while performing their duties.

Employees who do not qualify for a uniform allowance under the criteria described above must wear the appropriate uniform for the position if it is provided to them outside of the uniform allowance program.


The uniform is required when a clerk is scheduled to work the retail window.

If you are forced by management to purchase clothing with personal funds to wear at the window-- please notify your steward and file a grievance to be reimbursed for your time and purchase! Make sure you save your receipt to document your purchase.


The official APWU position on uniforms is as follows
:


"The Union did not agree to this. Any employee who is forced to buy shirts, ties, pants or skirts should file a grievance to be reimbursed for his/her time and expense!" [Assistant Clerk Director Tommy Thompson]


The language agreed to in "Operation Switchover Retail Uniform Do's and Don'ts," question 12, reads: "New retail employees who do not have uniforms are to wear their own white or light blue button-down shirts, navy blue tie (for men) or scarf (for women) and the alternative trousers (blue or gray) until items from the new lines are authorized for wear."


In other words, if employees own it, they should wear it. The language does not state that workers must buy the items. Furthermore, the language applies to new employees only.


The language of the ELM 932.11g in Postal Bulletin 22023 (5-4-00) is also clear: "Employees who do not qualify for a uniform allowance under the criteria described above must wear the appropriate uniform for the position if it is provided to them outside of the uniform allowance program.


TRAINING

Be Aware!


All window clerks receive 40 hours of training in a classroom environment before being scheduled for their qualifying examination. When the qualifying exam is successfully passed, the future associate is provided OJT by a certified Retail Coach.


The OJT should be completed in five consecutive days immediately following successful completion of the exam. In any case, the OJT must be completed within 14 calendar days. The 14-day time period does not include scheduled Annual Leave during the same time period.


If you feel are not being trained properly you should contact your steward immediately. Don't wait until after the fact to file a grievance.


LOBBY SWEEPS

Look Around...


Are supervisors doing lobby sweeps in your office? If they are and your office has over 100 bargaining unit employees it is a violation of Article 1.6A of the contract. Stations and branches are considered a part of the main facility so if there are over 100 total installation employees, 1.6A applies.


Lobby Sweeps involving retrieving hold mail, certifieds, registered, parcel post packages, etc. is distribution. Supervisors are prohibited from performing the core clerk function of distribution in 1.6A offices.


In offices of less than 100 bargaining unit employees Article 1.6B applies. It contains language allowing, "when the duties are included in the supervisor's portion" description for performance of bargaining unit work. Contact your union representative to see if you have a grievance in your size office.


PUT YOUR CHECKBOOK AWAY


Know that . . .


ALL
demands for money must be put in writing. That demand for money should be in the form of a Letter of Demand. No demand for money should be given orally. The Letter of Demand must contain the employee's appeal rights in the grievance process.


A grievance must be filed within 14 days of receiving the Letter of Demand. Contact your union representative immediately if you are issued a Letter of Demand. Also, if the demand is grieved, the grievant does not have to pay the demand until the issue has reached a final resolution.


Even if the Letter of Demand reaches resolution in the grievance/arbitration process you may elect to continue under the Debt Collection Act. You would not pay the demand until the Debt Collection Act decision has been reached. If you have any questions on demands for money, contact your Union representative.


REPORTING WINDOW SHORTAGES TO THE IRS

Miscellaneous Deductions, Schedule A, Form 1040, Line 20:


When you get a Letter of Demand, did you know you can claim this off on your income taxes if you itemize your deductions? We're talking about Line 20 of
Schedule A, Form 1040, since this repayment is considered a "loss." You also have three years in which to do this, if you want to file a 1040X, which is an Amended Return Form.

Employees who claim the standard deduction cannot deduct these expenses.

To establish entitlement to the deduction, you must have proof of payment; proof of the amount and nature of the deduction; and proof of the obligation to make repayment. This includes a copy of both sides of the cancelled check by which reimbursement was made, a copy of the USPS notice demanding reimbursement of the shortage (your Letter of Demand), and a copy of Article 28 of the National Agreement. The USPS notice and the Agreement will demonstrate that the claimed deductions meet the "ordinary and necessary" requirement which Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes upon deductions incurred in connection with the production or collection of income.


Employees who itemize deductions on their federal income tax can claim deductions for job-related expenses, provided the total exceeds two percent of adjusted gross income. Only the portion of employee expenses that exceeds two percent of adjusted gross income is deductible. You can add your window shortage payments to other employee expenses to arrive at your total job-related expenses. Employee expenses include such things as union dues, uniforms, special work shoes or tools, and other job-related expenses for which you are not reimbursed by your employer.

IRS Publication 529, "Miscellaneous Deductions" contains information regarding job-related deductions.

NOTE: Window shortages for postal workers are not specifically mentioned under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) or regulations of the IRS, so IRS examiners may try to disallow the deduction. However, precedent for related types of deductions involving similar shortages (but not for postal workers) are found in two cases by the U.S. Tax Court (Marshall J. Hammons v. Comm., 12 TCM 1318 [1953] and Alvin Butchko v. Comm., 37 TCM 894 [1978]).


SECURITY

Keep in Mind . . .

The contract, in conjunction with postal manuals, requires the Postal Service to provide clerks with adequate security. Report any security problem in writing to management. You may use APWU's Report of Security Problem or Poor Financial Practice Form to report the problem. If you choose not to use APWU's form, put it in writing somehow. Retain a copy as proof.

Common security problems to look for include: a yearly lock and key check not being, done (this needs to be done to insure no ones' keys can open another's drawer or safe compartment); drawers not securing or locking on the counter line; retail equipment failures; duplicate key inventory envelope PS Form 3977 problems including the required 6-month check not being conducted; others having access to the envelope by it not being secured in a proper safe compartment, or tampering with the envelope; and password or code for retail equipment should only be known to the clerks themselves.

If you have questions on what constitutes a security or financial problem, contact your APWU representative.


MYSTERY SHOPPER

This is important:

The postal service has implemented the Mystery Shopper program throughout the country. This program is designed to improve customer service. The program is intended to have the clerks ask five (5) questions of the customer in order to provide the best service possible. It had been agreed with the postal service, that the Mystery Shopper program would not be utilized as a tool for discipline.


Since the postal service is not living up to their side of the agreement, window clerks are to ask these questions to avoid being disciplined. If window clerks are issued any form of discipline under the Mystery Shopper program, contact an APWU steward immediately.


COMPACT DISK

A low cost, informative program
! The APWU Clerk Division has developed a Window Programs CD containing handbook and manual references as well as policies, and grievance and arbitration decisions helpful to window clerks.If you are interested in obtaining a copy (at a cost of $5.00 each), you may write the APWU Order Department, 1300 L Street N.W., Washington, DC 20005.

OR you can order it online at the APWU Store. The direct link to the CD Page a
llows you to order Item #0172.


Any questions regarding your rights, grievances or contact issues should be directed to your local union or National Business Agent.


DON'T BE A HERO
.

If a robbery occurs:

- Don't take any risks.

- No amount of money is worth your life.

- Remain calm and try not to provoke the robber.

- Contact the police when safe to do so.

                    ----------------------------------


CLERK CRAFT REPORT
JAN/FEB 2009

This month I would like to begin my article by talking about a recent tragic event that took place at the Codman Square Post office. Early on Monday, December 1st, window clerks Janet Gateley and Tom Keady were working the window when chaos erupted. Gunshots rang out and people scrambled. Just outside the front entrance lay a young man who had just been shot.

Tom and Janet jumped into action. They immediately called 911 and ran to give aid. Aside from providing emotional support, both employees did everything they could to help this young man. Sadly he did not make it.

I am writing this because we believe that Janet and Tom should be commended and honored for their actions that day. They both showed great courage. Their heroic efforts to save this young boy’s life and to comfort him are, in my mind, extraordinary. Despite the unhappy ending, we want to publicly acknowledge and salute Janet and Tom for their selfless actions that day. Both employees have been nominated for the Annual Scott Miller Rescuer’s Award, and they certainly are deserving.

Quite understandably both Janet and Tom were shaken up that day. After the incident, both went home early. When they returned to work, they were told they must use their own leave! We have asked the Postal Service to do the right thing and give them Admin. pay for the remainder of their shift. They have repeatedly refused to do so. We are talking about 4 hours each here!! Further, the Postal Service, to this day, has not acknowledged Janet or Tom. No visits from the area manager, from the postmaster, nothing. The Postmaster has stated that if he pays Tom and Janet Admin., he would have to do it for everyone. Mr. Postmaster, how many clerks have held a young man’s head in their hands as he passed away?

 

Our local has paid Janet and Tom for the leave that they used that day. We will continue to demand the Postal Service do the right thing. Many members have called or emailed the hall nominating them for the Scott Miller Award. We honor Janet and Tom for their actions that sad day.

On to other matters, we continue to receive staffing proposals from management, from both the plants and from our stations. Many of these include job cuts. The days of in-office Function 4 audits are over, replaced by desk-top audits. Information from stations is accessed through computers, and staffing is based on these reports. Most of our offices have had some type of impact. We continue to fight to minimize impacts to our members.

Our national union has filed grievances regarding the elimination, a/k/a compression, of entire tours. Tour-3 NWB and Tour-2 GMF have been impacted in our local. Unfair labor charges have also been filed with the Labor Board. Locally we have demanded that all casuals be separated. Management has agreed. We will address any back filling grievances should the need arise.

Lastly, I will be meeting with management over the next few weeks to discuss the staffing of the FSS machines at NWB. I will keep the membership informed as details become available. We will fight to establish as many decent mail processing positions as possible. Call me at the union hall if you have any questions about this or anything else.


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NOV/DEC 2008

As the holiday season draws near, I would like to take this occasion to extend to you and your family my best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season. Please too, remember our young sons and daughters serving our great country, particularly those in harm’s way. The sooner they return home the better.

By now, I am sure that everyone has heard or seen something about the changes coming to our craft. It’s no secret the USPS has been on a campaign to eliminate MPC positions. Printed below is the directive from USPS headquarters the APWU obtained.

      Subject: RPG Two Tour Initiative

Importance: High

"Plant Managers,

On this week’s MOS telecom it was stated that the two-tour initiative to "close the GAP" must be given top priority. The entire nation is expected to move to a 2-tour operation, while still protecting service.

Given the continued workload decline and recent RPG scenarios, the NYMA agrees with moving towards a 2-tour operation because of the economics of scale that it would provide. The first step in this process is moving to a 2 8-hour tour automation operation (AFSM and APPS/SPBS operations to follow). For the month of October, the weekly RPG model (AVG heavy weekday): ensure that you have contingency machines for your operation so that service is protected: ensure that your PM schedule for all machines can be supported by your maintenance staff October 10th — Present your overall staffing impact to clerk craft and EAS (net reduction in employees) October 17th---

Present your new bid package for clerk, maintenance and EAS October 24th---Present your overall implementation plan, including timeline and transition plan.

We are working towards an early January 2009 implementation date. Each week we will be providing suggestions and tools on how to effectively develop your plan."

As a result of this, our local was notified on November 11 that management intends to abolish and excess all Tour-3 MPC positions at NWB and to abolish and excess 25 positions from Tour-2 in the GMF. As of this writing we are in the process of meeting on these proposals. Here in Boston, our local has negotiated an agreement which allows employees two bid cycles prior to being abolished. Therefore, at this point, the effective date of these actions will January 31, 2009. Meetings with all affected employees take place each step of the way.

I personally believe that these are deliberate attacks on some of more senior members. Cutting the jobs of senior people, sending senior employees home through the reassessment process, and shutting down the Express Mail administrative office are, in my view, attempts by management to force retirements. We have heard the constant reports of how much money the service is losing, yet management drives away business on a daily basis. Yes, mail is down, but that’s not the reason the Postal Service is losing money.

We have supervisors telling people wanting passports and pictures to come later or another day. Supervisors are desperate to get boxline mail up, even to the point of sending potential customers away. The Postal Service is moving ahead with costly FSS deployments despite OIG recommendations to the contrary. Additionally, the Postal Service pays out millions and millions of dollars in grievance settlements with the APWU and the other unions each year. Huge mailing discounts are given to mailing houses and big business. So to me, their crying about losing revenue is a joke. They are top heavy with managers, supervisors and countless other management types.

I suggest that they begin by cutting these positions and, oh yeah, GET RID OF THE CASUALS! The Postal Service needs to clean its own house! But typically, management’s solution will be to cut the positions of the hard working men and women that move the mail, that service the public, the people that show up every day despite oppressive conditions. They will rush to cut clerk positions. There will be upheaval and disruptions to many of us over the next few months. This is nothing new to our craft. We have been through this many times now. Our craft will get through this too. The APWU will ensure that management adheres to all their contractual obligations. Impacts to employees will be minimized as much as possible.

Now more than ever, we cannot allow or tolerate any supervisor or manager to do our work. We must not allow them to violate our contract in any way. There is no contractually acceptable reason that would allow a supervisor to perform clerk work. Please call the hall if you witness this. These type grievances are important whenever management proposes to cut a position in a section. So please, let’s protect our work and jobs.

I would like to personally thank our stewards, chief stewards, and Area VPs for their hard work. I am constantly amazed at their tireless efforts and good work. It is a pleasure to work with all you. Our brothers and sisters that have stepped up are the reason that the Boston Local has always been recognized nationally as being one of the best. "2008" is no exception. Thank you all.

Happy Holidays to all,

Bob Keough
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