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The Scribe's Corner

by Eric K. Jackson

 

December 2011

The Executive Board of Branch 725 would like to wish everyone a healthy and safe holiday season. Among the many things we all should be thankful for is our families. That’s why we do all this and put up with all the aches, pains, and daily fights with management.

Earlier in the year I spoke of management’s outright assault on letter carriers. Their fight has not lessened. In fact, it has intensified. They get training daily and keep coming at us with new B.S! The latest is to revoke our driver’s licenses and send our people into city office for walkout routes. Management sent out emails that urged them to make sure they find something wrong with us when they do their daily street observations. The implication is to find things to write us up with. Another email addressed attendance. Now here we go again with this stupid over-enforcement of the uniform policy. Get the picture? This stuff is very serious now!

Let’s not let these fools beat us. You know the saying, “do things our way, it gets done efficiently, do it their way and we make a lot of money”. Let’s do things the right way. Don’t give them the pleasure of stressing us out. More importantly, don’t let the spineless weasels intimidate us! Make them treat you with dignity and respect.

Thankfully, we have volume at a time of walks and reviews. To that end, Les Dillman and his staff down at the district have done a great job with route adjustment. We are actually putting in routes to some offices. Now imagine if all of us take our mail to the streets like we are supposed to do. I am thankful I belong to a great union, country, and Branch 725!

Eric K. Jackson,Branch 725

November 2011

Let’s take a look in the mirror! We have been proactive in letting our membership know what’s in store for you through all channels. We are shocked that more people don’t show up at our meetings. Are you tired of the doom and gloom news that we report? Well, tuff s%#*! It’s cloudy outside and about to pour any minute.

There is no good news at the time and none is on the horizon for us. National is busy staving off the attempts at 5-day delivery (that projects to approximately 60,000 letter carrier jobs lost). They are also hard at work negotiating a new contract. And as a result of the financial crisis of the USPS, the “stuff rolls downhill approach” has reached our doorstep.

District management has been meeting regularly and in my opinion trying to eliminate as many jobs through discipline as possible. We have some idiot managers out there who still seem to think that more firings build up their resume when it comes to the next job. Anything you do that is slightly incorrect, they will hammer you and leave it up to the union to try and save you. They have nothing to lose!

Cell phone use in any way (including Bluetooth) is one of their new ways to get you. If you have an accident or are accused of anything while driving, they will revoke your government license and send you to 30th St. Station for foot route duty for up to 60 days. We are here to fight for your rights. But please don’t send us to the gunfight with a water pistol! We love you, we respect you, and so, we simply ask you to be extra careful in doing the great job that you do daily.

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

October 2011

Have we become our own worst enemy? In uncertain times we must reset and look in the mirror first.President Jim McCullough has spent the summer reiterating to carriers the importance of following work floor and street duty rules that essentially benefit us. How many people in your office are casing DPS, FSS, and/or ADVO circulars? This is happening at a time when these very routes are under review. The answer “it makes it easier” is just unacceptable! “We are fighting for our jobs and livelihood” as stated by President McCullough are words that we should be focused on.

Philadelphia District Director of Route Adjustment Les Dillman has worked hard this summer to get the routes under review adjusted fairly. But he can’t do it by himself. If we don’t provide him with the proper information then what can he do for us? During our consultations, 3999 one day walks, review of those very 3999’s and adherence to the very idea of walking your route consistently and professionally is what makes him effective.

Are our carriers more concerned about a 5:00 window of operation than management? Our obligation is to inform management when we cannot complete our assignment. Most of our offices are under review and are establishing our street times now. So how can we know when we will return? Don’t be intimidated into eating any time!

Vice-President Rhonda Massari has been turning up the awareness on the importance of political activism. How many of you have written a letter, emailed or called your Congressman or Senator to address our postal issues? Your Postal Record will tell you the issues. It takes only minutes to do. The US Army has a motto that applies: “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

September 2011

Thank you Letter Carriers! You have now endured not only a brutal winter, but a summer filled with heat waves. I say thank you because that is the only thanks you are probably going to get----from one of your own. As usual, management is too busy making excuses and complaining instead of leading and effectively managing.

I say this only because the tough times will only be getting tougher from here on in. As carriers, this is nothing new for us. We endure…..not only just the elements but many other things that only a Letter Carrier could know. Now, more than ever, we will need the help of each and every union member to face the near future. Just being aware that our jobs are actually being debated daily will serve you well. We will be asking you to write letters to your political representatives, to talk to your family and neighbors about our issues and to most importantly, stay informed about those issues that affect your future.

JARAP and FSS have moved forward and more routes and being eliminated. Only now more excessing might eventually occur. At the same time, our national leadership is preparing for the upcoming contract negotiations. This is at a time when public opinion is not on our side because so many people are ill-informed. We are simply lumped in with all other postal workers as well as all unions across America.

The positive side is obvious. We still have jobs. But we will never give up fighting for all the rights and benefits that we have. Just take a look at the automotive industry. They had to take a step back, and now their contracts are up at a time when they are very profitable. Stay strong!

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

August 2011

How we endure bad times says a lot about our character and morale fiber. Not long ago the USPS was one of the only government agencies making a profit. Carriers were working hard and making a lot of overtime to support their families.

Now as the whole world deals with the current recession we find our company being attacked by everyone when all we want is law reform so that the USPS is properly charged for our CSRS and Future retirees’ healthcare. With that, we now are now entrenched in realistic challenges that test our resolve. The pressures of consolidation, FSS and JARAP on carriers inevitably turn us on ourselves. Consolidation has created some uncomfortable feelings with regard to seniority and bid assignments. Having to move to another office after many years is bad enough. Having someone else come into your office and bid your route away doesn’t feel good either. It only gets worst when the office you inherit is selected for FSS. Then when those carriers exercise their rights to move off those FSS routes to non-FSS routes things can get sticky.

No one is wrong in these circumstances. The one thing we must understand is upholding the rights of everyone and not a few. During these times we must not give in to the pressure and let Postal Management divide us. The reality is that things will get worse. More cuts, more consolidation. Let’s face it head-on. Our strength as carriers is what separates us from the rest. During the September 7, 2011 Union meeting at the Cheese Club in Havertown, a vote will be taken from all members in attendance to approve the merger of Branch 6144 into Branch 725. The vote will be taken during the course of the meeting.

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

June 2011

Congratulations go out to the following 50-year members; John Amodei, Robert Dougherty, Francis DiSanti, Primo Mastrocola, Sheldon Broadbelt, Francis Corcoran, Elmer Disanti, Michael Dimaio, Vincent Deletto, and 55-year member John O’Conner.

What great milestones these people have reached. 81 year old member Primo Mastocola states, “when I started, we made $2.16 per hour”. I think that should give us all pause to know how far we have come in this great union. But in these challenging times our resolve is tested daily. How we do will depend on us. Only together will we prosper during these tough times. With the FSS machines coming on line as we speak, another unchartered area becomes evident. That, coupled with another round of JRAP and management’s insistence on being the most reactive, unresponsive, and elitist group in the country presents us with a choice as union members. Do we hold it together and face these obstacles as Letter Carriers. Or do we melt, look out only for ourselves and make their jobs so much easier in eliminating our jobs, rights and benefits. The latter is a loser’s mentality. Now, in all the meetings I’ve attended and offices I’ve visited, “loser” is never what I would describe seeing. What I know Carriers to be are good, hardworking and caring people. Let’s face these times together as a unit and head-on.

Our “new” branch website (www.nalc725.org)has just reached its 3rd year anniversary. Along with the Postal Record, www.nalc.org national website, and your local union billboard, it presents our only way to stay current in these ever changing times. Many thanks go out to the past and current executive board. But the foresight and vision goes out to Dave Carfagno. We were one of the first in the country to have one.

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

April 2011

HELP WANTED - Great working family people who want what’s best for themselves and their families. Postal employees who will stand up for their basic rights and benefits. Employees who will not give in just to avoid being made uncomfortable. Runners, bootlickers, and suck-ups need not apply.

Of course I exaggerate to make the point. The very large majority of you are as frustrated as I am by tactics by management that only serve to divide and conquer this union. It only hurts unionist when you realize how easy it is to do. Thankfully most of you are smarter than that! Just the fact that you have taken the time to read this entry says that I am not referring to you. Your time is as valuable as the next person. Yet you have taken a few minutes to get information that is put together for you and by you.

So, it is you that this article focuses on. Without you, this union is nothing. We do our job representing you and your rights because you pay your hard earned money to us to make decisions that help everyone and not the few. The problem becomes tougher when some of our brothers/sisters become unaware that unions are under attack. We are under attack at the state levels and federal levels with regard to some right wing activists and politicians. But the area that we have always had our fight is at our offices. That will never change, but it’s never been a time where management has had more of a disregard for the contract than now. So, I say don’t give up…….just fight harder and make their lives as uncomfortable as ours. Feel OUR pain! Remember us, the people that make this engine run.

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725

February 2011

Standards are rules that everyone must live by. We all embrace them because most people just want to know what the rules are. Double standards are never good. So why is there a double standard when it comes to the letter carriers and the Union being required to abide by the National Agreement, when management goes on there merry way, doing whatever they want to do? Management has no intention of abiding by the National Agreement; most of them do not even know what is in the National Agreement. On a daily basis management violates Article 8 of the National Agreement, when it forces non-ODL Letter Carriers to work, because of their bogus "window of operation”. When grievances are filed and ODL Carriers are paid, management goes right back at it again the next day. Under Article 15, there are time limits set up for the DRP. When Management does not abide by the time limits, they should lose the grievance. But the DRT remands the grievance back when management fails to response within the time limits and gives management a "second bite of the apple". As a Union President, I have a major problem with this issue. The DRT must abide by the National Agreement!

They cannot decide what articles of the National Agreement they will uphold and which ones they will not. I, for one, am tired of my Letter Carriers having their "feet held to the fire", for every issue in the work place, when management is not being held accountable for their actions.

As a Union, we must step up our efforts to make sure that what is good for the craft employees is good for management. The Brothers/Sisters who make up this great Union deserve no less.

Jim McCullough
Proud President, Branch 725

January 2011

Congratulations go out to two new fifty year members. They are Fred Degenova and Frank Capozzi from the Darby and Wayne Post Offices respectively. You gentleman deserve a king’s ransom for not only your dedicated service, but also for enduring the onslaught of crap put out by management.

Hypocrisy! There seems to be an ongoing theme with Postal Management. The financial report released for last fiscal year (2010) stated that the company lost $8.5 billion. Let’s not talk about the reasons why. The key point in the report stated that the company “drove productivity to record highs in 2010”. Hello, so you are saying that the company is more efficient and productive than it’s ever been. And you burry that point in all your numbers unless it fits your needs.

All of this goes on while reports show that executives have incentives in their contracts that allow for 25% bonuses and such. Are these the “great minds” that we need to retain so badly that we give them incentives while cheating the “lower” managers out of their bonuses that were coming to them? How about getting rid of all of the incentives for management! With that, we rid ourselves of all the incentives to disrespect us, strip us of our dignity, and otherwise succumb to the pressure of their superiors. This “sh#*%t rolls downhill” approach has resulted in so much stress to so many people that the ending term sums it all up…. “Going Postal”. Hidden in all this financial mess, the workroom floor issues don’t seem to matter anymore. We would certainly save so much money (literally billions) if the USPS would just adhere to the contract. When one of us gets keys thrown at them by a supervisor, it hurts all of us!

Eric K. Jackson, Branch 725