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The Scribe's Corner

by Dave Carfagno

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DECEMBER 2008

What an incredible victory for Barack Obama! Americans have spoken and the message is clear--We Need Change! What a resounding rejection of the failed policies of the last eight years. Voters turned out in record numbers to make sure their voice was heard leaving no chance for a continuation of the same for the next four years. Leaders around the world seem encouraged by our choice to lead us through these difficult times but it is more important for us, as a nation, to unite and support Mr. Obama’s efforts and ideas to fix the ailing economy and restore hope in America. Congratulations and thank you to all who voted; your vote did make a difference. Special thanks to those who knocked on doors and manned the phones; your contributions are immeasurable! It is somewhat comforting to think letter carriers have a labor friendly President to work with through the uncertain times ahead for postal workers and the post office itself. We will need the cooperation and understanding of a President who is with us and not against us. Looking back, we can be proud the NALC was able to defend itself against the Bush administration’s anti-union policies and intent to privatize the Postal Service.

Job well done but now is not the time to sit back and relax. We will have to work harder than ever by continuing to contact our Congressmen/ Women and Senators to let them know that letter carriers vote and we work hard to elect the people who work with us. By signing up for e-Activist and continuing to contribute to COLCPE you are doing your part to help elect friends of the NALC.

Best wishes for happy and healthy Holidays to you and your families.

Stay Safe!
Dave Carfagno


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OCTOBER 2008

By the time this article goes to print, we should have all the details on management’s “early out” offer to letter carriers. From what I understand there’s no buy out, no incentives of any kind and there will be a penalty for leaving early. Not such a great deal but if you want out badly enough here’s your chance.

I was told I was crazy but I have been saying for a few years that an early out will eventually be offered to letter carriers. My reasoning was volume was dropping, emails and faxes were more popular than ever and on line bill paying was becoming the norm. As a result routes were being consolidated and carrier positions were disappearing. Clerk work was disappearing as well. What else could management do? They couldn’t move excess clerks into the carrier craft and accommodate excess carriers, too. As far as layoffs, why would management keep the higher paid, older civil service types and let the lesser paid, faster and more acquiescent employees stay home?

With loss of revenue and mounting expenses from the rising cost of fuel resulting in loss potential in the billions, I guess management feels compelled to do something to satisfy their “sense of urgency” to reduce costs any way they can. I think an early out is a great idea but I don’t think carriers will be running for the door unless incentives are included. There may be those who are so disgusted with the daily struggles of the job that they may take advantage of this opportunity. It sure does sound tempting but before you make the decision to go make sure you weigh all the facts and figures because once you leave you can’t come back.

Stay Safe!
Dave Carfagno

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AUGUST 2008

The rising gas prices could not have come at a worse time for the Postal Service. With dropping volume and shrinking revenue we do not need the added burden of millions of dollars in fuel expense. Imagine what this could mean for letter carriers in the next few months and beyond. Everything we do may be measured and monitored like never before.

I’m sure we’re all feeling the sting at home, as well. The expense of filling up our cars, alone, is enough to have a major impact on our finances. Adjustments will have to be made and purchases will have to be prioritized to make ends meet if the trend of rising gas prices continues.

A change needs to be made in the way our leaders do business! Better yet, how about a change in leaders? I recently saw a bumper sticker that said “Stop Bitching and Start a Revolution”! I’m not suggesting taking violence to the streets but if we continue to sit back and watch our financial security go down the drain we will have no one to blame but ourselves. For now, you can call your Congressmen/Women and Senators to LET THEM KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!! Come November GET OUT AND VOTE!

If you are a retiree in good standing of Branch 725, you are cordially invited to attend the semi-annual retiree luncheon at Barnaby’s restaurant on MacDade Blvd. The date is Wednesday, September 10th at 12:00 noon. There is no cost to you! This is our “Retiree Appreciation Luncheon” recognizing you for the contributions you have made to the NALC. If you plan to attend, please, call the union office at 610-461-8333 to reserve your seat. We hope to see you there!

Stay Safe!
Dave Carfagno
Br. 725

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JULY 2008

The Food Drive has come and gone; I apologize for the late acknowledgment. I want to thank all branch members who, once again, donated their time and energy to make it another success. As the totals came in from our offices it was apparent that we may have been a little light from previous years but it wasn’t from a lack of effort on our carrier’s part. It still amazes me when I see everyone come together to help those of us who are less fortunate. Many local food banks have come to rely heavily on the replenishment of their supplies through this annual NALC drive. Once again, Jack Coyle led our branch and worked closely with President Jim McCullough to make sure things went smoothly. Jack has been organizing this event for the branch for years and we appreciate his dedication and genuine interest in its success.

Thanks to Eric Jackson, our branch webpage is current and ready to provide information to our members (retired and active). Eric has updated and expanded the page to include some new and refreshing ideas. What a great way to get the latest information, news and events of the NALC. To assist making this webpage even better, please send any pictures or information of interest to Eric at ekjackson@comcast.net. Be sure to visit http://www.nalc725.org and see what’s up!

With the summer months here we will have much time and many opportunities to enjoy friends and family. Have a great time however you choose to enjoy the warmer weather but please do so safely!

Remember there are no monthly meetings in July or August.

Stay Safe!

Dave Carfagno
Br. 725

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JUNE 2008

From the many carriers I talk to, regardless of what office they're from, I hear the same thing--mail volume is disappearing. The fact is, it may never return.

As I mentioned last month, management's route inspection team continues to revisit our offices to capture time, yet carriers are still throwing DPS, circulars, marriage mail and whatever else they can stuff into their case. The more we get away from carrying mail the way we're supposed to, the more routes we will lose, period! I agree that routes have been lost because of the dropping volume, but I also believe we are helping management eliminate routes by not protecting our times because we are ignoring the M-41. If you don't know what that is, maybe it's time you go to a union meeting.

Let's correct this before it's too late. There's no reason to neglect office duties because management believes they do not exist. Do your part by protecting your route time (office and street) and , also, the time of the routes you may pivot on. If you double-case, make sure you perform all procedures as if it was your own route. Pull forwards and vacation holds before that vacant route is split up and taken to the street. Don't fail to be thorough because a "pivot" is forced on you. Lost office time equates to more street time and fewer routes.

On the street, make safety first! Never leave your vehicle running while unattended. Always turn your engine off, remove your keys, curb your wheels and secure your vehicle when exiting. Follow safety rules, regulations and state laws when driving, and always park legally. It's postal policy!

Invest the time to do the job correctly; the route you save may be your own!

Stay safe!


Dave Carfagno,

Branch 725 scribe

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May 2008

As I get closer to retirement, I think a lot about the early years of my career. I can't help but compare what it was then to what it is now.

Most recently, I've been thinking about the route inspection process of old as compared to today. Thirty-plus years ago, we endured the process once a year, every year. All inspections were done in-house and, after all data was compiled, the adjustments were made ASAP. How you fared during that one week determined how you worked through the entire next year; therefore, it was extremely important to get it right. If your route was over eight hours, you got a cut; if it was under eight hours, you got something added. It was that simple! At the time, we thought once a year was a little excessive, but there was one very good outcome--we got good at it!

The trend has definitely changed over the years. Some offices have gotten away from the traditional count and route walks, opting for a less-stressful method of adjusting routes, relying on historical data, instead. There are mixed emotions on this approach. Some carriers, who are unfamiliar with the process, are relieved and thankful to avoid it; others are willing to take it head on and give it their best shot. Whatever your office decides, make sure you are ready to accept responsibility and live with the consequences. Be sure to attend any training offered by the executive board so you have an understanding of the process, either way.

Who knows? If volume continues to drop, there's a very good chance of history repeating itself with the return of yearly visits from managers intent on capturing whatever time they can.

Be smart! Work smart! Stay safe!


Dave Carfagno,
Branch 725 scribe

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APRIL 2008

The TE’s are quickly becoming a part of our workforce and, as I said in a previous article, it is important to embrace them as dues paying brothers and sisters. Put yourself in their place. I couldn’t even imagine starting fresh in today’s post office with all the crazy stuff going on. Would you do this job with no health benefits? Go figure! I’m not sure they know exactly what they’re in for but, I do know this much, without the help, support and guidance of fellow carriers it could be an extremely difficult (and possibly short) career for them.

The good news is that all new carriers are given defensive driver training that is designed to prepare them to face the daily challenges that driving for the Post Office presents. After the successful completion of the 16 hour defensive driving class the trainee must then complete the skills course training and finish with an end of training road test. In short, between the defensive driver training and the 3 days spent at the Carrier Academy, these “newbees” are given the tools they need to start a safe and productive career, right? In theory that would be correct but we know too well what happens when DOIS driven managers work their magic. Within a week or two most safety practices learned will be ditched for quicker, less safe, manager pleasing delivery methods.

Through a combined effort and a good example, shop stewards, OJI’s (On Job Instructors) and co-workers, can reinforce the safe work methods needed to help all new carriers become professionals to get the job done safely and aide their transition into the workplace.

Stay safe!

Dave Carfagno
Branch 725

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MARCH 2008

The "Special COLCPE Issue" of The Postal Record has provided a pretty good indication as to how our members regard the NALC's request for donations for this worthy and necessary cause. It was not an overwhelming show of support. Either you don't understand what COLCPE is all about or you just don't care! Thank you to those who get it and care enough to do something about it.

Now more than ever, we need to step up and feed the need to back candidates, regardless of political affiliation, who are looking out for the best interest of letter carriers. If they support us, we support them! We can't just sit back and let anti-union politicians walk into office without a fight. Please consider helping support this effort by signing up for payroll deduction. It is a simple and easy way to donate and help elect those who are truly in our corner. If you need help signing up, please check The Postal Record, see your shop steward or call the union office for assistance.

Special thanks should be given to all retirees who fought the fight during their active carrying years and continue to help by generously donating to COLCPE. You continue to make a difference and we appreciate it!

Speaking of retirees, March 12 will be our semi-annual retiree's luncheon held at Barnaby's Restaurant, located at 2107 MacDade Boulevard, Holmes. The time is 12 noon and the costis $5 per member. It would be great to see all of you again and talk about the old times. Please call the union office at 610-461-8333 to save your spot. We are looking forward to another successful event, so please clear your schedule and plan to attend.

Stay safe!


Dave Carfagno,

Branch 725 scribe

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