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The Scribe's Corner

by Eric K. Jackson

 

JUNE 2012

Management can dish it out, but they can’t take it. Summertime is here and our living is never easy as letter carriers. Not with management always looking to harass us.

A recent email went out went out to many postmasters. It basically said that disciplinary action should be forwarded to the District Manager for every infraction found during driver observations of the carriers. It further states “per the District Manager, you must stay with the driver until you find an infraction”. Sounds crazy, well this is one of many similar emails. This incarnation left President McCullough fuming as he had addressed this matter the first time it occurred. So, this time, the President sent the email with a letter to everyone including our Congressman and Senator.

Many postmasters called Jimmy (as they often do) to complain about the email. “You have to help us”. Their cowardice shows no limit as their response to the President’s urging them to stand up for themselves was “our union is not strong like yours”. So you break the contract daily and disrespect the office of President McCullough, and then ask him to do your dirty work as you hide and wince from the bullies that are your bosses. A union is only as strong as its members. So it’s not the lack of a strong union, it’s their absence of courage among other things!

The big picture here is those emails tells us how they really think about us. How do they expect us to respect them when they obviously don’t respect themselves?

Fight on 725!

Congratulations to Jim Forrest and Fran Stellman on their recent retirement. Jim, Special thanks to you for all the service and leadership you provided over the years to the Wayne Post Office.

JANUARY 2012

What a bass-akward company! The Philadelphia District has put a premium on MSP scans. They ordered offices to write discipline on all carriers who missed scans and actually requested to see the discipline letters. Now is this cost effective? Not only has it caused all kinds of stress to so many hard working carriers it has the supervisors muddying their underwear. The thing is it will cost them many hours to the union to defend these minor offenses. Is discipline the only way they can manage?

We happen to be one of the only jobs in the world where the workers actually know more than their superiors. Their FSS miscalculation has people all over the country out on the street until 8-9 P.M. That coupled with the return of mail volume has placed a hell of a burden on the workforce. So, we move into a new year with a lot of unanswered questions about our future. The only thing is we spend most of our day answering questions that the company has created to our detriment. Armed with the right information, we go about our jobs not only doing the job well but representing the company better than the people who run the damn thing! Branch 725 did a great job gathering petitions against 5-day delivery. That tells me there is some fight left in us. Those who participated, I ask that you continue your activism. I ask that you get another coworker on board and we go from there.

Happy New Year to all the members of Branch 725. We are energized and ready for another great year. We thank you for all the support you show each and every day.

Congratulations to Tim Mascuilli from the Coatesville post office on your retirement.

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

DECEMBER 2010

It’s that time of the year where thanks become preeminent in everyone’s thoughts. As Letter Carriers, we are proud to do the job that we face each and every day. The underlying premise from management though, is that WE should be thankful “just” to have a job. Okay, you just violated the contract for the umpteenth time, and your only comeback is “you should be thankful to have your job”? No, YOU should be thankful to have YOUR job. Where else can you get a job with the salary and benefits of the USPS just for reading a DOIS report, and using it and other circumstances to harass the people that actually do the work? To insinuate that we are not thankful for our job is ridiculous! That is so beside the point. That goes without saying. But we are just fed up with your selfish tactics that result in your abiding by the contract only when it meets YOUR needs.

Do you think its fun when you subvert the contract by bringing in TEs from other offices and have them stay for 18-day stints? Well, contractually, the word is “occasionally”, when referring to TEs being shared by offices. I may not be the smartest person, but “occasionally” doesn’t mean 18 days to me. And then to have those same TE’s throw mail in the cases of the other carriers before they return is just not right. It’s contractual, but not right. Even the worse carrier in the country has to carry his/her route. “Through rain, sleet or snow” applies to him/her as well. Somehow, they have to add pain, agony and “BS” to that slogan.

The executive board would like to thank each and every member in Branch 725. We are thankful to be able to serve you!

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

JUNE 2010

It’s amazing that the USPS can’t get out the message of the services we provide. You see, we are the best in the world at what we do. The problem is, no one knows what we do. We provide the best service and prices among our competition. Again, but no one knows it.

But one thing occurred to me. The USPS can get a message out when they want to without fail. That message being 5-day delivery and all the in accurate propaganda that went along with it! Yet and still the only advertisement I’m aware of is the flat rate boxes. It’s a great deal, but what about everything else. We gave away the parcel business long ago but now we have to hear “the parcel business is our future”. No stuff Sherlock! We just gave up on the Express Mail market but now carriers in our district are mandated to take time extra time to deliver them as soon as we hit the street. But where have all the Express Mail boxes gone? Where is the advertisement for that and all our other services?

After yet another great job by our carriers across the country collecting upwards of a billion pounds of food for the needy, the USPS certainly takes credit for that in spite of the lack of support from them. Most of our offices were under staffed due to the edict against bringing in regulars for overtime. But they will pay the same money to PTFs who have become few and far between. Congratulations go out to Bill Mellon on his 50 years of dedicated service as an NALC member. He was awarded his service pin and letter from Fred Rolando by President Jim McCullough at the April general meeting.

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

MARCH 2010

MIARAP, NRP, FSS, are all becoming part of the letter carrier’s vernacular. We always said that management is full of it. What we were talking about then was acronyms. Now we think they are full of something else. These people in L’Enfant Plaza just don’t seem to want to work with the NALC. Instead they are primed to move forward with an agenda that many think will lead to the detriment of the Postal Service.

The only way to deal with the everyday reality that is a letter carrier is through training. Branch President Jim McCullough has put in place a program to give continued education to all our Shop Stewards. It started in March with the Region 12 Rap Session and continued with smaller individualized training given at the union office. Bless you Shop Stewards! For all that you do including being there for every complaint and venting session. You still show up after your long tour and get more training. And Kudos to Director of Education Les Dillman and Vice President Rhonda Massari for putting the training together. And you guys have to sacrifice time with your families as well!

Our branch meetings have been great lately. We have a “Gimme one” campaign going on where we are asking every letter carrier to attend at least one meeting a year. It’s the best way to get information and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Retirees please be advised that the Retiree’s Luncheon is on April 15, 2010 at the Lamb Tavern in Springfield, Pa. at 12:00 P.M. Retirees attend for free. All others are welcome to come for $5.00 per person. Call the office ahead of time to reserve a spot.

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725
www.nalc725.org

FEBRUARY 2010

Ah February, and love is in the air. Or is it? Two key issues for letter carriers right now are route adjustment and injury compensation. We are thankful to have Les Dilman and Rhonda Massari on our District team to protect our rights. Hopefully, we are starting to learn the process more and will get better at it.

However, with longer routes, the natural result will be more on-the-job injuries. It appears from this carrier’s perspective that management is using any excuse to deny OWCP claims and terminate carriers for perceived fraud. What do they have to lose? They are terminating first and just seeing if it sticks. And our hard working carriers who are injured on the job have to endure the stress of possibly losing their jobs. So much love in the air!

So brothers and sisters, pay particular attention to how you work, fill out your claims and please follow your doctor’s restrictions.

How do letter carriers show their love and dedication daily? Here is just one example; Letter Carrier Elizabeth Gibbs from the Upper Darby Post Office, while delivering her mail route saw that mail was backing up at one of her patron's house. Liz knew that the patron was elderly and became concerned that something was wrong. Liz saw him lying on the floor and entered the house and immediately started CPR and called 911. The Police and ambulance arrived and took the patron to the hospital. Unfortunately the patron died. Liz did everything that she could have possibly done to help this person and I am very proud of the way she took control of the situation. She was honored by the Upper Darby Township Council at their monthly meeting. Liz, you are a real HERO.

Eric K. Jackson/Jim McCullough, Branch 725

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DECEMBER 2009

The Philadelphia District has now entered into Phase 2 of the National Reassessment Process ( NRP)(Take a look at what happened in San Francisco when they went through Phase 2 about two years ago )Injured Carriers Beware! . The limited duty Process has now taken on a “life of its own”. At a recent meeting with Management it was explained that the process has three categories with regards to Limited Duty Employee. One is “full day”, next is “partial day” and thirdly is “no work day”. On a daily basis the local Management must find suitable work for their Limited Duty Employees and may go as far as 50 miles to find work for these employees. Here is the problem, if told to go to an office 50 miles or so away from his/her assigned office, the employee is off the clock when enroute to the assignment but if the employee finds suitable work “around the corner” they travel on the clock. The question that must be asked here is what is “around the corner”?

Management states that there have been test sites that show this process works but I do not see the Postmasters/Supervisors in this area making calls on a daily basis to find work for their Limited Duty Employees. After all, they are too busy filling routes that are left vacant on a daily basis; they are also busy misusing DOIS to tell Letter Carriers what their day is going to be.

In this President’s opinion this process has disaster written all over it. The Union understands that employees must be doing productive work but answering the phones, fixing case labels and going over red books is productive work. The Brothers/Sisters I am sure did not go out and deliberately injure themselves. Management also claims that when some employees receive notice from NRP they miraculously become better, how insulting is that?

Happy Holidays to all! With my best wishes

Jim McCullough President

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NOVEMBER 2009

Having recently joined the ranks of the retired I have become very interested in the security of our pension. I read statements from people like senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma who said to the Senate in July “If you think it [your federal pension] is guaranteed, you have another thought coming because the world economic system is going to determine whether we can honor that pension. That is what is coming. We are very close.” Yeah, that bothers me a little! I didn’t invest thirty six years of my life in the Federal Government to have my pension reduced to bail out the geniuses who created this financial mess!!

According to NARFE (National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association or www.narfe.org) Senator Coburn is not alone. Congressional leaders John Boehner of Ohio and Eric Cantor of Virginia suggested in June that the retirement annuities of federal workers should be reduced and that feds should have to work longer to receive full annuity. Cost-of-living adjustments and health benefits are vulnerable, too.

I know retirees are instrumental in contributing to COLCPE and they routinely contact their Congressmen and Senators on behalf of the NALC when issues arise that jeopardize the security of active carriers and the Postal Service. Now may be the time to pay a little more attention to issues that directly affect our pension—our security. Please don’t leave this important issue to someone else to address. We need all carriers (active and retired) to be relentless in contacting all your representatives and voice your opinions and intention to campaign vigorously against anyone who would jeopardize our right to collect a “full” pension that was earned with blood, sweat and dedication!!!

It just never ends- does it?

Stay Safe! Dave Carfagno Br. 725

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OCTOBER 2009

The Branch has now gone through the first phase of MIARAP, and the results are mixed. Some offices were unaffected, while others were hit pretty hard. I hope now Letter Carriers see how the process works; that we all learned a lesson and know what management is looking for in phase two of the process. This will be an ongoing process for the near future. Letter Carriers must be able to maintain his/her street times on a daily basis. The office time may vary from day to day because of volume however street times should not. Take your breaks and comfort stops and scan where you should be scanning.

In the near future the Postal Service will begin to excess Letter Carriers from their respective offices. The Union will be overseeing this process at all stages to make sure the National Agreement is adhered to during this process.

Rumors are running rampant about five day delivery. As of the writing of this letter they are still strictly rumors. The Union is fighting hard to keep six day delivery and to protect the jobs of its members. Many things must take place before the Postal Service can go to five day delivery.

I would like to personally thank President Emeritus and MBA Collector, Don Coughlin and Director of Retirees, James “Whitey” Wagner for their service to the Branch for many years. Both Brothers have retired from the Executive Board effective the end of the year. President Coughlin was on the Board for over a quarter century. Whitey has been on the Board for over fifteen years. Both will be sorely missed!

Fraternally and sincerely,

Jim McCullough
President

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AUGUST 2009

Although the weather in the Philadelphia has been cool and sunny lately, the climate on the workroom floor has been pretty hot. The effects of the route evaluation system are being felt throughout our local and from what I hear there are many unhappy campers toughing out the results.

Routes are being eliminated at an alarming rate and that means extra work for many unwilling recipients. Get used to it because if the numbers indicate that your office needs attention you will be revisited for further route reductions in the very near future. Are we finally getting the message here? Management is going to keep this up until our numbers prove there is no more room for consolidation. It’s up to us to prove we have enough work and the stop the “I’m working smarter not harder” (as in casing circulars and DPS) reasoning. What you are doing is setting yourself up to work harder than you ever did before and that’s really not smarter-- is it?

The only way to stop the bleeding is to hope for an increase in volume or carry mail like we are supposed to. If you’re not sure what that is, well, that just might be the real problem!

Attention retirees! Please make plans to attend the Retiree Luncheon on September 16, 2009 at Barnaby’s on MacDade Blvd in Holmes, PA. Call the office and reserve your spot. As part of the Executive Board’s own stimulus package—it’s free!!

Have a great summer!

Stay Safe!

Dave Carfagno
Br. 725

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SEPTEMBER 2009

Bill Young--for all your years of service and dedication to the NALC we thank you and wish you many years of good health and prosperity in your retirement. Fred Rolando—good luck in your new position and we offer our help and support to you and the Executive Board for all the challenges that lie ahead. We know it won’t be easy for any of us!

In some of my past articles I touched on my feelings about the direction the Postal Service was headed. How, in the face of dropping volume, management continued to focus on “the numbers” instead of concentrating on better service and growing the business. Also, how I thought management may even be trying to destroy the Postal Service from within. I thought the demise of the Postal Service could be closer than we could have ever imagined. But this was just my opinion and I wasn’t really alarmed because, after all, what do I know?

After reading Fred Rolando’s inaugural letter to the membership, it hit me like a ton of bricks—we are in serious trouble!! When our President suggests that we “have serious discussions with family, friends and co-workers” you had better understand just what it is we are facing and know exactly what you can do to deal with it. Support for our leaders nationally, locally and co-workers on the workroom floor can do much to help in the tough times ahead!

Attention Retirees! Don’t forget to attend the luncheon on September 16th at Barnaby’s in Holmes, PA. Call the office (610-461-8333) to save your spot.

Attention State Convention Delegates! If you haven’t received your itinerary and credential cards for the upcoming State Convention, please, call the office for this information.

Stay Safe!

Dave Carfagno Br. 725

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JULY 2009

The summer is here so please remember there will be no membership meetings in July and August. I guess that’s where the positive stuff ends.

Unless you have been comatose the past few months, you are aware that route evaluations are in full swing and it’s a very good possibility you’re gonna get that little extra piece to make your route a full 8 hour route, ASAP! Through my friends down at driver training I’ve been informed that a large percentage of people scheduled for training are clerks being excessed into the carrier craft. Not good news! I’m guessing that before long you may have some new but not necessarily happy faces working next to you. Who would have ever thought this day would come? This should be very interesting watching their transition into a whole new world where the rules are very different and accountability for every second is just a fact of life. What will be the learning curve or time period be to allow them to adapt to this major adjustment in their careers? Maybe it’s part of management’s master plan to fire them for substandard work performance? Who knows?

With all these extra clerks and route eliminations equating to surplus carriers; the big question remains—What will they do with all these people? Will they finally put together and early out with incentives? Possibly but not likely given their current financial situation. Will they resort to laying off? That’s something I don’t even want to think about but may be their only way out.
Either way, it’s going to be a very different Post Office; what lies ahead could be unpleasant for all.

Using 3996’s and 1571’s may still help the situation. It’s never too late!

Stay Safe! Dave Carfagno

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JUNE 2009

In a past article I mentioned the changes in how route inspections were conducted over the years. I compared the process of old (yearly inspections) to the modern day version (as needed and not nearly as regular). I closed with the caution that we may soon return to annual evaluations. Little did I know it would soon be every 6 months.

For all carriers who are tired of pivoting and doing pieces of routes you don’t know or like; for all of you who I’ve heard say “I just wish they would make my route 8 hours and leave me alone” your time has come. The new “Modified Interim Alternate Route Adjustment Process” is designed to do just that; make sure your route is 8 hours!

This may be good news to some but take a second and think about it. Management has been using carriers with “down time” to pivot for some time now. They have become very accustomed to using us to do extra duty to cover open routes. Will they suddenly be able to adjust and accept that we have a full 8 hour day and scratch “pivoting” from their daily plan? In reality will they leave you alone even with an 8 hour route?

The good news about this process is that all data used to adjust routes will come from the regular carrier’s actual times. More good news- our branch is represented by very knowledgeable and qualified carriers who will be looking out for your best interest during this process. Please remember that if you get an addition to your route, it is a result of YOUR numbers. Don’t shoot the messengers!

Stay Safe!

Dave Carfagno
Br. 725


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APRIL 2009

The Branch has just returned from Region 12’s Rap Session in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Branch was well represented at the sessions. First let me say thanks to our National Business Agent Bill Lucini and RAA’s Napadano and Ray McDonald for a job well done. The breakout sessions were very informative and pertinent to the issues that are prevalent in the Postal Service today.

President Bill Young was in attendance at the Rap Session and Bill spoke very frankly about the problems that the Postal Service was facing. He spoke of the importance of passing the HR-22 bill that is currently in the House of Representatives. He also spoke of some issues that were on the table with regards to keeping the Postal Service in business. The talk of five day delivery, laying-off employees, not matching the Thrift Savings Fund and many other issues, none of these are good for the Letter Carriers in this country.

The issues in the workplace are still a problem that I believe need to be addressed in the Philadelphia District. Almost every day is an adventure in this District. E-mails from the District arise that are a violation of the National Agreement such as the use of TE’s in lieu of PTF’S and the use of non-ODL Carriers because of the bogus “window of operation”.

I am very concerned about the drastic drop of mail in the last couple of months. The drop off may be attributed somewhat to the economy but the Postal Service was losing volume long before the economy went south. We need to get back to being a service oriented organization instead of a bottom line organization.

One thing we must do as a Union and that is to stay united!

Fraternally and sincerely
Jim McCullough
President, Br 725

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MARCH 2009

If I were to measure the success of my career by the amount of friends I have made, I would have to rate it a 10! As years passed and I logged more miles with the Postal Service and I became more involved with the NALC, I met a lot of great people and made some very good friends. I have to admit a number of them are from Br. 542 in Norristown where I began my career. Now this isn’t meant to disrespect my friendships with people from other branches, including my current one, but I was with these guys in my influential years and the bond has never been broken. It’s impossible to keep in touch with all the guys all the time but when the opportunity comes up it is always memorable.

With that in mind, I would like to congratulate my good friend and former Norristown PO coworker Sal Paschall for receiving his Gold Card and pin for 50 years of NALC membership. At the Br. 542 annual Christmas party, President Pat Fullam made the presentation for this treasured milestone to Sal with his wife Lena by his side and many of his old buddies in attendance. An event like this presents the perfect opportunity to bring old friends together to reminisce about “the good old days” and we all took advantage of that opportunity. Good luck Sal; looking forward to your 75th.

Well I must be overcome with the Valentine Day spirit because I’m still feeling the love. I’d like to offer sincere wishes for a speedy recovery to another good friend and our own President Emeritus Don Coughlin. Don underwent surgery recently and is currently recuperating at home. Get well soon, Don. See you in AC!

Stay Safe!
Dave Carfagno
Br. 725


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JANUARY 2009

Happy New Year!! As I write this article there is a major investigation being conducted at the high-tech mail processing and distribution center here in Philadelphia. It seems some managers may have been delaying trailers full of mail in an effort to keep overtime down and justify their efforts to excess clerks and eliminate routes.

In a related article in a Philadelphia newspaper titled “Where Mail Goes To Die” a local reporter tells of customer complaints ranging from undelivered requests for donations for an annual fundraiser to very late delivery of periodicals and time sensitive advertisements. The reporter also writes of trailers full of mail not only sitting in the lot but sometimes being diverted to other distribution centers only to return days later- unprocessed! All we her about is how volume is down. Is volume really down or is the mail sitting in trailers in parking lots across the country?

Can carrier morale survive another slap in the face after we do all to keep up the image of the Postal Service? We’re in this together fighting to survive billions in lost revenue, right? Yet, irresponsible managers are allegedly delaying and possibly destroying mail according to the report.

As far as “Customer Connect”- are you kidding me? Will customers really believe our promises to deliver their mail swiftly and efficiently? Are there any carriers out there who will put their credibility on the line and make promises to customers our superiors won’t keep?

The allegations have been taken seriously; the investigation includes a Congressman and the OIG. It will take time to complete and you wonder what the outcome will be. You can only hope it will be fair and thorough. Where is Alexander Lazaroff when you really need him?

Stay Safe in ’09!
Dave Carfagno
Br. 725


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