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Rhonda's Featured Articles
The Vice President's Report
by Rhonda Massari
On this page you will get reports from Rhonda Masari. She brings a wealth of information to the table. From national issues and decisions, to her grass roots past as the former Director of Route Inspections and Director of Education, Rhonda will bring a varied perspective. So hang on for the ride!
PATRICK MEEHAN TOWN HALL MEETING
I had the pleasure of attending Congressman Patrick Meehan's town hall meeting in Springfield on Wednesday night August 31, 2011. It was a lively and spirited meeting with the main focus on jobs. The audience was at times disruptive and angry. Several in attendance called for civility and respect for each others opinions. Tensions ran high as many in the audience were extremely frustrated with the current jobs situation and the performance of our elected officials. The meeting lasted exactly 1 hour and after a brief presentation on the economy by the Congressman, the floor was opened for questions. I would venture to say every question save one was on jobs and the economy.
I attended the meeting hopeful that I would be able to thank Congressman Meehan for co-sponsoring HR 1351 but also to express our concerns for his support in preserving 6 day delivery. As it turned out, I had the opportunity to ask the last question of the night. I did get the opportunity to thank the Congressman and I asked him if he would oppose any and all legislation which would reduce the level of delivery service to anything less than 6 days. I was disappointed in his response. As he answered, he briefly explained his support for the paper transfer of surplus funds in the pension fund to pay for the unfair congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, however, he stated that he thought it would be a difficult battle and 6 day delivery could be a trade off to obtain the objectives in HR1351. This was not the answer that I wanted to hear. Unfortunately, the forum was not one in which you could rebut or clarify your position or plead your case.
That being said, I urge all of our members to contact the Congressman and let him know that you appreciate his support but that you are adamant that 6 day delivery must be preserved and not used as a bargaining chip in order to obtain our other objectives.
I would like to mention that several letter carriers were also in attendance and wearing our Union shirts. The Congressman noticed and made a comment to that fact. To those of you who want to help, but are not comfortable speaking in public or making phone calls, write a letter to your representative and simply attend event such as a town hall meeting. Make sure to wear you Union shirt so that you are noticed. Believe me when I tell you that it is significant and noted.
I would like to thank Barb and Andy Kearney and Bill Mellon for taking the time to attend this meeting. It is activists such as these that are going to make a difference in whether or not we succeed. Will you join them the next time? Stay tuned. There is something coming to a community near you very soon.
The job you save may be your own.
One of the many questions we hear on a daily basis has to deal with the lost of routes. Whether it is a result of the JARAP process or through the implementation of Flat Sorting (FSS), many of you want to know how and why we are losing routes when it appears that no routes should be lost.
I want to take this opportunity to discuss the COR mapping system.
COR is an acronym for Carrier Optimal Routing. The objective of this mapping program is to optimize delivery patterns thereby reducing travel to, travel from and travel within times. It also determines the number of park points and relay times based on the new travel patterns. The object is to create a delivery pattern which is the most efficient for each route in a zone or station which obtains the most savings. COR utilizes a variety of information to meet this objective. It creates lines of travel for carrier routes by using the information put into the system.
There are many challenges that we face with the use of COR. The main problem we face at this time is Garbage in, Garbage out. You might recall, several years ago, seeing postal employees on your route looking at and documenting addresses, streets, parking restrictions and traffic patterns. Perhaps they questioned you about the difficulty of crossing certain streets or where the delivery zone ends? In any case, this documented information was entered into the COR program which is the information used to adjust our routes. Garbage in, Garbage out.. Ironically, this program was originally developed to structure trash collections. You just can't make this stuff up!
That being said, the COR mapping system is here to stay. We must deal with the outcome and make sure we correct mistakes incurred by the program.
To those of you whose routes are being adjusted because of the implementation of FSS, it is imperative that you are aware that the Union had no part in this process. Management has the right unilaterally adjust these routes. You are however, entitled to a 60 day review to correct any issues that arise out of this unilateral adjustment process. Hopefully, during the 60 day review, problems will be addressed and corrected. If you feel that this is not being done, please see your shop steward.
To those of you, whose routes are being adjusted through JARAP, make sure you verify your travel to and travel from. The District Evaluation and Adjustment Team will address your concerns during the 30 day review. One of the positive parts of the JARAP agreement allows for the local office contacts to correct many issues locally. The local parties play a much bigger role and have a lot more responsibility in the outcome of route adjustments. Take the initiative and be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. No one knows the office and routes better than the local parties. Keep in contact with your DEAT and help them help you resolve any issues that arise from the adjustment process. I just want to assure you that your Union is working tirelessly to improve this process. It is our goal to one day, get management to agree to let the letter carrier gather the information on his or her route and use the accurate information as the basis for a route adjustment.
In the meantime, hang in there and continue to provide the best service to your customers as you can under these difficult circumstances. Together, we can and will succeed. Thanks for all you do!
There are common mistakes that carriers make which deliberately affect the outcome of the route adjustment under JARAP..
*LOAD ON OFFICE TIME
*STAY IN OFFICE TOO LONG
Carriers who do one or all of the above are hurting the outcome of their route evaluation in JARAP. The JARAP process calls for the lesser of the two office times to be selected.
1. Average office time �this is your office time based on your time clock rings. OR
2. Standard office time. - Standard is what we refer to as 18&8. When you do one or all of the above, the chance of going over standard (casing less than 18& 8) is greater. If you go over standard you will LOSE that time. Remember, we can only select one of the two office times. The time a carrier goes over standard is lost because of the provision of the agreement.
Example: Carrier X has enough mail for 2 hours of office time based on the 18&8 casing standard. This carrier decides to load his truck on office time so he can have more time on the street. Let's say it takes 15 minutes to load. Carrier X has essentially lost 15 minutes of office time because staying in the office 15 minutes longer has pushed his office time over standard. OVER STANDARD = LOST TIME!
Example: Carrier Y decides to case her DPS. It takes her 20 minutes. Again, this carrier is staying in the office too long and this causes her to go over standard. 20 minutes lost due to going over standard. OVER STANDARD = LOST TIME!
Now, carrier Y will in all likelihood be more efficient on the street and take less street time because she doesn�t handle the DPS on the street. This is a double whammy. Lost time in the office AND lost time on the street. This carrier thinks because she worked 8 hours or longer that her route will be evaluated as such. This is a common mistake.
Most carriers assume that they can perform these bad habits and it has no effect because they are working 8 hours or longer daily and that the time clock rings will show the time worked. After all, the carrier got paid to do the work. The problem is, all too many times, carriers are not aware how these seemingly harmless habits are dramatically hurting their route evaluations.
Just because you work 8 hours everyday, does not mean that your route will be evaluated as such. The outcome of your route evaluation is firmly in your hands. Protect yourself and your route. Make sure that you perform office work in the office and street work on the street. It's that simple. There are no complicated math equations. Times have changed and we must adapt to these changes.
If you are not sure what duties should be performed in the office or on the street, see your shop steward.
The job you save may be your own. Rhonda Massari
JARAP- The contractually negotiated agreement in which a District Evaluation and Adjustment Team (DEAT) consisting of one management and one union member evaluates and adjusts routes. This process uses carrier time clock rings and local input to evaluate and adjust routes. The Union is involved throughout the entire process. Local input has a crucial role. If a carrier disagrees with office and or street times, he or she can provide the DEAT with 1571's or 3996's showing discrepancies in the data. The agreement called for work hour/workload reports to be posted for the review period months of March, April and May. Each carrier had the opportunity to review his or her daily clock rings/times and had the opportunity to either resolve the data issue or provide documentation to the District Evaluation and Adjustment Team for correction. The agreement also calls for a copy of each 3999 to be provided to the carrier within 3 days that a carrier is walked. The carrier has the opportunity to discuss the walk with the supervisor and challenge any deductions taken. No longer will carriers be asked to comment on walks that occurred previously without first seeing the office and street comments along with the actual times of delivery. This provision applies to walks which occurred on or after 03/22/2011.
FSS ADJUSTMENTS - 0 input or involvement by the Union.
ZERO-ZILCH-NADA-NUNCA NONE!!!!! Get the picture?
It is important that you know the distinction between the two. While I agree that no method for adjusting routes is perfect, the JARAP process is by far a superior way to adjust routes in comparison to the method used for adjusting offices to FSS.
Take the time to know which process your office is in. It is entirely possible that if you have two zones in your office that one zone is being adjusted using the JARAP process and the other using FSS methods. If you are not sure which process you are under, please see your shop steward.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly commend Director of Education Les Dillman for an exemplary job as the District Lead Team member for the Philadelphia District. Under his leadership, the members of the NALC are well served and represented. He has improved the communication within the process and has handled many situations to the benefit of all letter carriers. He has been a staunch advocate for your rights and I would like him to know that his efforts are greatly appreciated. In other words, Les, GOOD HUSTLE!!!
In Solidarity, Rhonda Massari
Stay Out of Our Box
*Pizza and Chinese restaurant menus.
*Local political brochures
I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of reaching into a mailbox thinking I am picking up a customer's outgoing mail only to discover that a local business or organization hired cheap non-union, non-Postal labor to
deliver their advertisement.
I understand why the local businesses and organizations go this route. They want to target a local demographic to promote a small business and just can't afford the required mailing lists along with all the Postal regulations, not to mention applying for and paying for a bulk mail permit.
But, we can't ignore these mailings. By using the mailbox, this "mailer" is essentially stealing. Bring the mailing back to your supervisor and report this business. Your Postmaster will notify the business or organization to cease and desist immediately and if they do not comply, they will be billed postage for all the deliveries on your route and any other route which was affected.
The good news is that the Postal Service has actually launched a new program which targets these "mailers". It's called Every Door Direct Mail. These businesses or organizations do not have to buy mailing lists and provide addresses on these mailings. They can target delivery areas from one to ten miles from their business location and they will be given the number of deliveries in that area. In turn, the Postal Service will deliver theses mailings. Hopefully, this program will cut down on the use of non-union; non-postal services and help local small businesses grow their business while using the USPS.
If you deliver to a business and you've noticed that they are using delivery methods other than the USPS, let them know about "Every Door Direct Mail". Give your Postmaster the information on these businesses or organizations so that he or she can sell this new program.
We all have to embrace the changes coming and work toward making the USPS strong and viable for years to come.
The job you save may be your own.
Brothers and Sisters,
First let me start by apologizing to all of you who check the Vice President's page and have found no articles for quite some time. My home is down to only one computer and I have a 16 year old daughter. Need I say more?
With the start of this New Year, how many of us have made our annual New Year's resolution only to have already broken it? Maybe you have resolved to stop eating junk food or go to the gym 4 times a week or stop watching too much TV?
Well, my resolution is to be a more positive person especially when it comes to my postal life. All too often, we tend to focus on the negatives. I am certainly guilty of that. This year I have resolved to focus more on the positives. Sure, I know full well that our daily work life in the Post Office is overwhelmingly negative. We start and end our work day being told in one way or another that we are not valued as employees. Never let anyone tell you or make you feel invaluable. Never give anyone, especially a supervisor or Postmaster the power over you to make you feel anything but spectacular. It takes a very special kind of person to deliver the mail.
I want each and every one of you to know that you are very valuable! The men and women of the NALC are what hold this organization together. YOU are the ones who work tirelessly day in and day out to provide a valuable service to our customers six days a week despite the many roadblocks put in your way. YOU are the ones who foster new ideas and facilitate the changes that are needed to keep the USPS a strong a vital organization. YOU are resolute in our goal to protect our jobs, wages and benefits all while trying to save the Post Office from itself. YOU are the difference.
We face many challenges and we may feel overwhelmed at times but, if we RESOLVE to face these challenging times head on, together, we can effect change. Change often comes slowly. So slowly that it is unbelievably frustrating but we CAN and DO make a difference.
Why am I so sure that we can make a difference? I know because, we have YOU.
Hang in there and thank you for doing what you do.
Postal Hysteria (2/4/2011)
Brothers and Sisters,
I am sure that many of you have seen or at least heard about the Fox news story which ran last week.
Like many of you, I was approached by many of my customers about this event. I have to say, it was quite embarrassing. I do, however, take solace in the fact that this was a very isolated event. I am confident that letter carriers everywhere do their job daily with pride and dignity.
Unfortunately, as with any sensationalized event, the Post Office management has overreacted and responded by insinuating that all letter carriers are not doing their job.
In this case, they have directed all supervision to be out on the street on a daily basis in an effort to catch letter carriers not working. It may not be your supervisor. It may be someone from another office. They are micromanaging the Scans and questioning carriers as to why they were at a particular address at a time other than the day they were last walked. They are once again overreacting.
I personally have no problem with street supervision. It is part of a supervisor's duties. I like the fact that they are doing their job. What I don�t like, is that they are doing this in response to a single event which happened in a single installation. Instead of addressing the problem in that office, they are punishing many for the sins of a few.
We are all professional letter carriers. We know our jobs. We know the rules and regulations. We know we have to do the route in the order as it is on the case. We know we have a 30 minute lunch and two 10 minute breaks. We have a 1564 that we follow. So, as a reminder, if you have to be off your route, or must deviate for some reason, please make sure your supervisor is aware of the situation. Communication may save you aggravation down the road.
Hopefully, this overreaction will calm down soon (it usually does). So, as a reminder be where you are supposed to be. Do what you are supposed to do and we will all get through this Postal hysteria unscathed.
Most of all, be safe.
August 2, 2009 FERS Legislation
July 2, 2009 The Postal Serice is Changing....Quickly
Brothers and Sisters,
Once again, those of us under FERS have been denied the same sick leave consideration towards retirement as our fellow CSRS brothers and sisters. You can thank Senator Tom Colburn (R-OK). Not only did he cut this amendment out of S.1390, he said this as well:
if you are a federal employee and unhappy with me trying to defeat this amendment, you should pay attention to something. There is no guarantee to your federal pension based on the economics we face today in this country. If you think it 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.
It is one thing to try to stop legislation, but quite another to THREATEN federal workers.
It is because of those in Congress like Sen. Colburn that we must be proactive and prevent him and others from taking away our benefits with the stroke of a pen.
If you do not contribute to COLCPE..Now is the time to start. We must fight together to protect our interests. This is not the time to be complacent.
Please contact the office to sign up for automatic payroll deduction or look for instruction in the Postal Record on how to sign up.
The job you save may be your own.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Things within the Postal Service are changing so quickly that at times it seems as if we can't catch our breath! Daily, we are being inundated with reports of the demise of the Postal Service.
I hear all the time from carriers asking �What is the Union doing? I answer with a question. Who is the Union? Each and every time the answer is a compilation of answers consisting with the naming of officers of the branch, shop stewards, National Officers and any others who have taken a roll of leadership and responsibility to try to protect the rights of letter carriers. The fact is YOU are the Union!!!
- Declining mail volume
- The hiring, then immediate firing of TEs
- Reports of 5 days delivery
- Reports of layoffs, 3 yrs in August 2009 6 yrs in Jan 2010
- P.O. won�t be able to make payroll by end of fiscal yr 2009
- Route reductions ETC.
Now I want to ask the questions, What are you doing? How are you helping?
The answer is simple. Be a professional Letter Carrier. Perform your duties on a daily basis, following all the rules and regulations. Use your 3996 and 1571. Make sure you make the appropriate clock rings. Work safely. By doing this, you will be taking an active roll in the outcome of your route structure. You will insure that your route will be evaluated fairly during the MIARAP review. Your daily, demonstrated performance in the office and on the street provide a foundation for your route evaluation.
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
I couldn't have said it better myself!
Have you signed up to be an E-Activist? When you do, you will be given updates on the latest legislation and NALC positions. No need to fear the rumors. You will be informed.
Have you signed up for automatic COLCPE contribution? Just $5.00 per pay can help keep worker friendly representatives in Congress. It is such a small price to pay to save you job and insure the welfare of your family.
Have you called your Congressional representatives? We need to get HR 22 and the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) passed. Your phone call can make a difference.
Remember to get involved. Make those small efforts! Be professional daily. Be an E-Activist. Sign up for COLCPE. Call your congressional representatives. Come to monthly Union Meetings. Encourage other Letter Carriers to become involved. Small efforts = success
Here's to our success.