September 29, 2016
Postal Pulse Survey Drawings Thru December 31, 2016
Keep on turning in your survey to an APWU steward, bring it to a union meeting or mail it to the local and you will be entered into the 2016 drawings! All crafts (including APWU) and management employees are eligible for a $200.00 drawing!
CMAL members will also be entered into an additional four drawings for $100.00 each! Names are drawn at a Union meeting.
Mail Surveys To:
Central Mass Area Local 4553
American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
65 Southbridge St.
Auburn, Massachusetts 01501
As you are aware, a meeting was held on Thursday March 26, 2015 regarding the potential consolidation of the CMPDC into Boston and Middlesex-Essex. At this meeting the Postal Service made it clear that it was their intent to proceed with this consolidation on July 25, 2015. Due to the number of newly created duty assignments, expected attrition and the number of employees in a long term leave without pay status, the clerk impact will be reduced from 151 employees to maybe as low as 116 employees. The Postal Service plans to separate all clerk PSE’s at the CMPDC and Worcester in July, 2015.
The impact in Maintenance remains at 48 employees.
There will be no impact in the Motor Vehicle Craft.
At the end of this meeting, APWU Northeast Regional Coordinator John Dirzius clearly communicated to the Postal Service that based upon the current information provided, in regards to the residual vacancies and potential landing spots that this consolidation must be immediately postponed until the next move date or postponed until such time as there are sufficient residual vacancies for all impacted employees in all crafts.
The Postal Service representatives assured us that they would communicate our concerns and our position to the USPS North East Area Vice President and get back to us.
I will keep you all updated as best as I can.
Greetings sisters and brothers; finally there is some good news to report and it involves Postal Support Employees.
Over the course of the last few months we have had approximately 100 PSE’s converted to career status as part time flexibles and full time regulars. Congratulations to all those newly converted employees and to all the remaining PSE’s I want you know your union is pursuing additional conversions.
This being the first time that PSE’s had been converted and the Postal Service being the Postal Service the conversion process did not go as quickly or as smoothly as we would have liked. Hopefully as we move forward the process will be refined.
Unfortunately not all the news has been good. Last spring we were notified that our Postal Vehicle Services Operation had been identified as the first pilot site for what management calls “mode conversion”, which is a program they use to propose various scheduling changes to PVS work schedules in an effort to realize cost savings.
The first problem with this program is that is designed to reduce or eliminate “standby time” in PVS. The PVS operation in the CMPDC does not now and never has had any “standby time”.
The second problem is that our PVS operations is already among the most efficient in the country and an internal audit by the Northeast Area office concluded that there was no cost savings that could be realized by adjusting any work schedules.
The third problem is that the proposed schedules from USPS Headquarters are unworkable, add “standby time” to each route and are opposed by local management because they are not going to improve anything.
We have offered counter proposals and are currently awaiting an answer from USPS Headquarters. I will keep all our PVS employees updated with all news regarding this issue.
Also this past summer the Postmaster General announced that the moratorium regarding plant closings and consolidations was no longer in place and that the USPS would begin the process of closing or consolidating 82 facilities beginning in January 2015, and the CMPDC is one of these facilities.
Subsequently we were informed that we would be losing some mail in January but the anticipated changes will not result in any APWU represented employees being excessed outside the facility, but there will be major staffing changes coming.
The recent clerk staffing changes at the CMPDC, which the union vehemently opposes, are just the beginning of many changes coming our way should the Postmaster General actually be allowed to reduce service standards in January and virtually eliminate overnight delivery.
Our last chance to avoid these changes would be for Congress to actually do something, and all they can do now is to include language in an appropriations bill to delay these changes until Congress has time to enact proper Postal Reform. The only way Congress will care about this is if they hear about it and it’s up to us to make the noise. It takes all of about 2 minutes to go to the APWU website scroll down to “contact your legislator” enter your zip code and send a message to Senators Warren and Markey as well as your representative in Congress that your are opposed to any further reductions in service standards and any more closings or consolidations of Postal facilities. Many people have asked, “What can we do to keep the CMPDC open?” Well you can contact your legislators and you can vote. Please do not forget to get out there on Tuesday November 4th, a list of candidates endorsed by the AFL-CIO is enclosed, please get out and support those candidates who support working men and women like postal workers.
In particular I am asking any of our members who live in the Worcester 17th district to support Doug Belanger who is running for State Representative. Doug is a Business Agent and Vice President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the treasurer of the Central MA AFL-CIO as well as a selectman in Leicester. He is a tireless fighter for anyone who works for a paycheck.
I would also like to ask those in the 18th Worcester district to get out there for Mark Dowgiewicz running for State Representative also. Mark is a retired CT State Trooper and has been a selectman in Webster for 10 years. He has also pledged to support the APWU in any way he can.
Finally I am asking you not to vote for a candidate for Governor who is proud to accept an award for “excellence in outsourcing” and then goes on TV and cries about a story he made up.
Also enclosed is a sign up form for the children’s Christmas Party and BJ’s membership information.
Please note that our next General Membership meeting will be Sunday November 23, 2014, we are asking all who attend to bring a non perishable food donation or a new unwrapped toy or both. These donations will be handed over to the Central MA AFL-CIO to be distributed to needy union families and others. Donations of holiday staples such as stuffing, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, sliced pineapple and baked beans will be especially appreciated.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving a joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.
2012 YEAR IN REVIEW
Greetings brothers and sisters, I hope you had a Happy Holiday Season and wish you a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
At the November General Membership meeting the body unanimously approved several changes to the Constitution and Bylaws of this local. As a result of these changes the local will no longer publish a newsletter, communication to the membership will be disseminated in this manner.
For many of you this will be the last communication you receive from this local. I am expecting this local to lose approximately 70 members to retirement, which means our local membership will be reduced by over 10% by March 1, 2013 and our income reduced by approximately $30,000 annually.
For those of you not fortunate enough to retire at this time please note that the Constitutional changes we have made over the last year should enable the local to function efficiently for the foreseeable future despite the reductions in members and income.
To those of you who will be retiring I would like to thank you for your years of service to the United State Postal Service and more importantly your dedication to the American Postal Workers Union. On a personal note I would like to thank you all for your friendship and support over the years, and while I am happy for you all I will be sad to see you go.
One person I will not miss will be the former plant manager at the CMPDC. While there are many stories circulating regarding what types of trouble he has gotten himself into the only thing that’s certain is that he won’t be back in Shrewsbury. Coincidentally, as Mr. Fitzgerald’s troubles were coming to light several grievances regarding his behavior were being resolved, and as a result my exile from the CMPDC has ended. The Postal Service has agreed that I will once again be allowed access to the CMPDC and my access badge will be reactivated and during the month of January I will be allowed to walk the work room floor on each tour specifically to interact with employees and I look forward to seeing you all soon.
I am happy to report that our annual children’s Christmas party was once again a rousing success. The party was held Sunday December 2, 2012 at the PNI Club in Worcester and it was a full house. Magician Extraordinaire Fran Flynn mesmerized the crowd while lunch was prepared and after lunch was served old Saint Nick arrived and handed out gifts to more than 80 mostly smiling children. In addition to all the fun we collected a couple hundred pounds of food for the Central MA AFL-CIO food bank and raised $179 for APWU-COPA. The party couldn’t go off as smoothly as it did without our helpers and I wish the thank Mary Toohil and the rest of the Toohils for all they do to make this party happen as well as Joe Socha and his tribe of volunteers. Also thanks to Eileen Johnston, Norma and Kayla Rivera, Cindy Roy and Steve “Santa” Scola.
In Closing I would like to remind you of two things that come around every year at this time. The first thing is prime time vacation selections. The procedures regarding prime time vacation choices differ from office to office and can be found in the Local Memorandum of Understanding (LMOU) for your office. If there is no LMOU posted in your facility please contact the office and we’ll have one sent out ASAP.
The second thing that comes around this time of year is scholarships. As a member of this local there are several different scholarship programs available. The Union Plus Scholarship program awards a number of scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2013 and more information can be found online at www.unionplus.org or by contacting the union office. The APWU Scholarship program awards 10, $8000 scholarships as well as vocational scholarships of up to $3000 for specialized training in fields such as culinary arts, medical and dental assistant, electrician, auto mechanic, cosmetology etc. applications must be received by March 15, 2013 and can be found in the members only section of the APWU web site, www.apwu.org. Information regarding the APWU Accident Benefit Association Scholarship program, the APWU of Massachusetts Scholarship program and the Central MA AFL-CIO Scholarship program will become available throughout the spring and our local’s scholarship applications will be available in June. This information will be posted on bulletin boards as it becomes available, or if you want you can contact the office and we’ll get it out to you.
YEAR IN REVIEW
By: John Flattery
I really hate those “year in review” type articles I see in many publications, which makes what you are about to read, that much harder to write.
We began 2011 with an announcement from the Postal Service that area mail processing studies would be done in order to determine if it would be feasible to consolidate mail processing operations from the Middlesex-Essex processing and Distribution Center into the Boston P & DC, as well as possible consolidation of the Springfield P & DC into Albany NY, Hartford CT and Shrewsbury MA. As we end the year the union has been notified that the Springfield MA P & DC will be shut down and the operations will be consolidated into the Hartford CT P & DC and the CMPDC in Shrewsbury, however there are many rumors that the CMPDC may be among the next Processing and Distribution Centers to be targeted for consolidation. By the time you are reading this we should all know much more about the fate of the CMPDC.
2011 rolled in with the Tea Party Republicans attacking labor unions, and public employee unions in particular. These right wing nuts pushed legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio stripping employees of their collective bargaining rights, but thankfully common sense has made a comeback and the sane people of Ohio said no to the Tea Party Governor and the good people of Wisconsin have pushed to recall those right wing nuts that stripped workers of their rights.
It is these same Tea Party Republicans in congress that are trying to destroy the Postal Service and wipe out most of your salary and benefits. Despite the fact that Congressman Steve Lynch’s bill HR 1305 has wide spread bipartisan support in the Congress, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, a Tea Party darling, refuses to let HR 1305 come up for a vote, and instead has pushed his own bill which has little support anywhere. We need to get involved like the people in Wisconsin and Ohio did if we are to win our fight.
On September 27, 2011 Postal Workers across the country rallied to bring our message to the public. Our local sent a small contingent to the rally in Boston. I had hopes to bolster our numbers with members of the NALC, unfortunately when I contacted their office in Worcester I was informed they were committed to a rally elsewhere. The rally had a good turnout of members of all Postal Unions and many non-Postal Union members in attendance as well as many local politicians, including Congressman Lynch and Capuano as well as MA AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman.
Also in September Congressman Jim McGovern accepted an invitation to tour the CMPDC and meet with managers and employees, in the wake of news accounts regarding the possible closing of the facility. The Congressman who has been a longtime supporter of all Postal Workers promised his support in our fight to pass sensible legislation to save the Postal Service as well as to keep the CMPDC open. I would suggest it is Congressman McGovern and others like him who have earned and deserve the vote of all Postal employees.
One thing that hasn’t changed this year is how important it is to recognize our brothers and sisters who help the union by signing up new members and those who deserve thanks from us all are Dave Kane, Rhonda Bilodeau, Robert Chapman, Chuck Sonos, Cynthia Jasienowski, Steve Scola, Mike Lee, John Senckowski, and Eileen Johnston.
I would also like to thank the leadership of the Boston Metro APWU for their help in organizing so many of the Postal Support Employees who have their orientation in Boston, it is truly appreciated.
There was also no change with the Annual CMAL-APWU Children’s Christmas Party. The festivities were held on Sunday December 4th at the P.N.I. Club in Worcester. Magician Extraordinaire Fran Flynn mesmerize the children and Santa handed out presents to 83 boys and girls, and we also raised $180 for COPA, as well as a truckload of non-perishable food for the Central MA AFL-CIO food pantry. This party couldn’t happen without help and I’d like to thank all those who pitched in to make it a success. Many thanks to Mary Toohil for her help coordinating, which includes getting her brother Jimmy and sister in-law Ann to run the kitchen, also thanks to Mike and Matty Toohil, Eileen Johnston, Joe Socha and the entire Socha family, Norma Rivera, Cindy Roy and Steve Scola. Also thanks to all who donated food.
I would also like to thank the members who brought toys to the November meeting; they will be distributed to children who otherwise may not have received anything for Christmas, thank you all.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
TRILOGY OF TERROR
By: John Flattery, President
More often than not, coming up with a title can be one of the most difficult part’s of writing these stupid articles. Such was not the case this time around. Much like the 1970’s made for T.V. horror flick this article will contain three separate stories. However, while the movie features an evil little creature in only one story, the three tales I will share with you all feature the same villain.
On January 4, 2010 a mailhandler at the Middlesex-Essex Processing and Distribution Center was thrown out of work and subsequently issued a 14-day suspension. What on earth could he have done to deserve all this you may ask, well it seems that this particular mailhandler also happened to be a union steward and had committed the unspeakable crime of actually sending an e-mail to someone in Labor Relations and if that wasn’t bad enough it seems that this steward actually reported to work, requested union time from his supervisor and reported to the union office to work on a grievance. Of course these actions angered the acting plant manager to the point where he allegedly stormed to the union office proceeded to pound on the door, told the steward he was not to send any more e-mails to Labor Relations and he was to immediately return to his assignment. According to the steward as he was trying to shut down the computer the acting plant manager told him “you have about 10 seconds before you’re out of here” as the steward was walking out of the union office a comment was made by the acting plant manager and according to the acting plant manager the steward called him a “f…ing punk” at which point the plant manager had the steward removed from the facility. The steward returned to work less than 48 hours after being thrown out and was paid for the time he was off duty.
All this led to the steward being issued a 14 day suspension which was grieved and subsequently appealed to arbitration. The arbitration hearing was held on October 13, 2010 and the arbitrator threw out the suspension ruling it was not issued for just cause. The arbitrator found “…the confrontational nature of the interaction resulted, to a great extent, from the conduct of the plant manager” the arbitrator also stated that the stewards “…words and actions toward the plant manager were unprofessional but were provoked by the managers conduct toward him” and called into question the accuracy of the testimony of management witnesses.
During July of 2010, the 6th to be exact there was an allegation made by two electronic technicians that the plant manager at the Central MA Processing and Distribution Center had harassed them in separate but related incidents. One of the employees is a steward in the maintenance craft who had drawn the ire of the plant manager due to grievance activity (sensin’ a theme yet?)
It is alleged that the plant manager was outside the unoccupied union office demanding entry and at one point instructing an employee to break the door down. The union steward was summoned to the union office and ordered to open it, according to the steward when he asked the plant manager “why?” he was told “because I said so!” according to the steward the plant manager was yelling at him and making wild accusations before ordering him back to his work area, and one other witness stated the plant manager…”was very upset and blowing steam.” A short time later the plant manager approached the other electronic technician who described the plant manager’s behavior as “intense”. According to the employee the plant manager was yelling swearing making unfounded allegations and making veiled threats. Asking him how old he was and how many years he had in and then telling him that the steward had 40 years in so there was nothing they could do to him because he could retire but, that since he had only 23 years in he would be there a long time and they would be on him every day.
The employees requested a management inquiry into the allegations of harassment and the Postal Service determined that the witness statements supported that the plant manager employs an “aggressive management style”.
You have probably figured out by now that the acting plant manager in Middlesex-Essex who was found to have provoked an employee is the same plant manager at the Central MA P & DC who has an “aggressive management style” and it was this same guy that had me thrown out of the CMPDC and barred from returning for a little over two months.
On October 26, 2010 I was in attendance at a town hall meeting for all tour 3 employees at the CMPDC, during this meeting I asked a question which the plant manager attempted to ignore, when I pressed for an answer many of the employees indicated they also would like to hear the plant manager answer my question and then– well lets just say something happened.
While a few managers have a slightly different recollection of the events, I contend that the plant manager threw a fit and during this fit I maintain I was harassed as defined by the Postal Service.
According to Publication 552, the manager’s guide to understanding, investigating and preventing harassment, the roll of Postal Service management is as follows.
· Avoid behavior that could be interpreted as harassment; lead by example!
· Identify and stop work place behavior that could constitute harassment.
· Respond promptly and appropriately to those who come forward with complaints of harassing conduct.
The Postal Service was notified of my allegation of harassment and a request for an investigation was made back in October and the prompt response came two months later in January of 2011. I was interviewed as was the plant manager – as far as I know no one else was interviewed despite the fact that there were around 30 witness statements collected and provided to the investigators.
The purpose of this article is not to point out that I think the plant manager is a bully and a tyrant, I think the guy is such a schmuck that I won’t even mention his name. The purpose of this article is to let you know what a joke the whole zero tolerance nonsense is. When I reported this incident to the members at the November Union meeting I said now we’ll find out if zero tolerance applies to all postal employees and I guess now we know that if a bargaining unit employee does something it won’t be tolerated but if a manager has done something there will be zero concern.
I plan on forwarding this article to the Postal Service’s Vice President; Northeast Area operations along with a letter simply letting him know how disappointed I am with the Postal Services indifferent attitude regarding my allegations, especially given this guy’s history.
I guess zero tolerance policies don’t apply to postal management and apparently the mangers guide to understanding, investigating and preventing harassment is nothing more than a collection of words.
All The Right Reasons
By: John Flattery, President
This may come as a bit of a surprise but I’m not an actual board certified genius, as a matter of a fact there are some things I actually have a hard time figuring out. For instance, it makes no sense to me why someone cuts me off in traffic and then drives about 5 miles per hour. I can’t figure out why everybody screams about illegal immigrants but no one says anything about the criminals who give them jobs, and why anybody would ever buy a Jethro Tull record is beyond me. I suppose somebody could try to explain these things but I still don’t think I’d understand.
There is one thing I’ll never figure out and no one could ever explain to me and that is how anyone can work as a clerk, maintenance or motor vehicle employee for the United States Postal Service and not pay dues to the APWU. Anybody that works for the United States Postal Service ought to be paying dues to whatever union represents them for one simple reason, it’s the right thing to do.
There are many other reasons to belong to the Central MA Area Local – American Postal Workers Union, and I’m not sure that everyone realizes what we have.
Every member of the CMAL-APWU is automatically enrolled in the American Postal Workers Accident Benefit Association’s value plan at no additional cost. The ABA value plan pay’s you $12 per day for each day of disability from a covered accident and also provides a $6,000 accidental death benefit.
The CMAL-APWU also offers Delta Dental to all members. A single plan is $34 per month and a family plan is $81 per month. The open enrollment period for the dental plan is April 1st through June 1st of every year.
We also offer discounted movie tickets to our members. Any member can purchase up to 20 prestige movie tickets for $7 per ticket each year. Additional tickets can be purchased for $7.75 per ticket. Prestige tickets can be used for all movies and show times with no restrictions and they can be used at all Showcase, Multiplex and Cinema De Lux theatres nationwide.
If you have any legal issues we can help you there too. The CMAL-APWU has a contract with the law office of Katherine Smith that not only provides legal services to the local; it also allows members 50% off her established hourly rates. Attorney Smith will represent members before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP), and the Employees Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB). Attorney Smith will also maintain contact with an attorney to provide general practice legal assistance to all CMAL-APWU members, and if possible those services will be provided at a reduced rate.
Each year in May and November CMAL-APWU members have the opportunity to join or re-new a BJ’s membership at a reduce rate, you can also receive a second membership card for a household member at no additional charge.
Anyone who has paid college tuition knows how valuable and sought after any scholarship money can be. There are many scholarships available as a result of your membership in the CMAL-APWU. Our local awards two $500 scholarships each year to a member, members spouse or members child. In addition to these scholarships there are many other scholarships available to the children of our members, and they include the American Postal Workers ABA Scholarship Program, the National APWU offers the E.C. Hallbeck Scholarship Program and the Vocational Scholarship Program, the APWU of Massachusetts awards one four year scholarship each year, members can also apply for scholarships from the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, the Central MA AFL-CIO as well as Union Plus.
When the union office is notified that a member has been hospitalized we send a get well card and a $25 CVS gift card. Upon notification that any member becomes a parent we send along a card and a $15 CVS gift card. When we are informed of the death of a members spouse, child or parent we send a $25 donation and in the event of the death of a member we send a donation of $100. Of course the key here is notifying the union of one of these events, we can’t send anything to anyone if know one lets us know about it.
Each December we host a children’s Christmas Party for the children, grandchildren, godchildren, nephews and nieces of our members. Children 10 years of age and younger all get a gift. Lunch and dessert are also provided along with entertainment and a visit from Santa.
While you are working you can purchase APWU aprons from the Local at a cost of only $2.00, and when you retire we send you a check for $100.
So there you have it, not only is being a dues paying member the right thing to do, you get all these great benefits just for doing the right thing, and that is why I can’t and will not ever understand why anyone would choose not to pay dues.
At this time we have 112 non-members amongst us and 624 members which makes us about 85% organized. We need to change that number and we need to change it quick. As more and more of our members retire they are not being replaced, which means our membership is getting smaller and smaller. This local exists on the dues we receive and if the membership keeps getting smaller we take in less in dues and that has an impact on what we can do for the membership. If we don’t get these non-members to join the CMAL-APWU it will mean that you and I are going to have to pay more dues to simply sustain what we have now.
We are in the process of updating our non-member list and will be sending it out for all bulletin boards. If you don’t see the list soon you need to let us know and we’ll make sure you get one. We need to get these non-members to join the APWU and you are the ones who can sign them up. Don’t forget one more benefit of belonging to the CMAL-APWU is that when you join we send you a check for $50 and if you get someone to join we send you a check for $50 – again just for doing the right thing, and with that in mind I’d like to thank Eileen Johnston, Justin Doucette and Sharon DePeter for the help in signing up three new members.
So get’em to join for all the right reasons, hell get’em to join for all the wrong reasons I don’t really care – just get’em to join – the union you save will be your own.
People Like me
By: John Flattery, President
I think we can all agree that this world would be a much better place if there were more people like me. The reasons are obvious, people like me, and hopefully your one of them, want their union to be put on a more level playing field when dealing with employers. People like me want to make it easier for employees to form a union and enter into collective bargaining. People like me think it is simply not right that an employee can benefit from being represented by a union and then choose not to pay any dues. People like me think that it makes sense when awarding government contracts that preference be given to companies that provide their employees a living wage, health insurance, retirement plan and paid sick days. People like me wanted Craig Beckers appointment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to be approved by the senate because Craig Becker is a people like me. Unfortunately our new United States Senator Scott Brown is not a people like me, but before I get into that let me tell you a little bit about the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the NLRB.
The NLRA was enacted by Congress in 1935 to "protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining and to curtail certain private sector labor and management practices which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy". The NLRB is an independent federal agency created that same year to administer the act. The board is made up of five members appointed by the President with senate consent. Each member serves a five-year term, and the terms are staggered so that one members term expires every year. Craig Beckers appointment would fill one of three vacant seats on the board and give the democrats a majority on the board. The republicans fear that the NLRB would then become too labor friendly and enact policies, which will help workers.
Now comes Senator Brown who while campaigning downplayed the fact that he was a republican rarely referring to himself as a republican. Instead he told us he was an independent thinker and would not be a part of the republican machine. Upon his election he trumpeted the fact that he was a in fact a Republican Senator from Massachusetts and can now be seen introducing Mitt Romney at republican functions, campaigning for John McCain and taking calls from Sarah Palin. He first said he did not wish to be seated until February 11, 2010 so he could hire staff and prepare himself. Then when the Republican Party feared that Craig Beckers appointment may be confirmed they went to Mr. Brown who immediately demanded to be seated earlier so he could vote with the republicans and block Beckers appointment. In announcing why he had voted to block Beckers appointment Brown said "Craig Beckers theories about how the workplace should function, if ever put into practice, would impose new burdens on employers, hurt job creation and slow down the recovery" funny he didn’t mention workers and he seems to have forgotten that the purpose of the NLRA was to encourage collective bargaining not to prevent it. So there you have our Mr. Brown, he turns out to be another republican who wants to make it more difficult for unions to survive.
I realize that many of you may have voted for Scott Brown, and I absolutely believe it is not my place to tell you who to vote for, that is your right. It is absolutely my place to tell you as your union representative who I think you should vote for to make your union stronger if you choose to vote for someone else so be it, just don’t bitch to me that the union is weak if you cast a vote to weaken it.
People like me think its important to say thank you to people who help their union, and with that in mind I would like to thank everyone who helped make our Annual Children’s Christmas Party a success. The party was held Sunday December 6, 2009 at the PNI Club in Worcester. Magician Extraordinaire Fran Flynn did a great job entertaining the kids until the arrival of Santa Clause and all those presents. This party would not be the success it is without the help of Mary Toohil who puts it all together, her brother and sister in law Jimmy and Ann Toohil and their crew who take care of all the food, Norma and Kayla Rivera who take care of the COPA raffle and sign in table, and the entire Socha family who take care of the presents, Eileen Johnston who tries really hard and of course Art "Santa" MacNeil and his helper Brenda. Thank you to all. The kids had a great time; we raised $149 for APWU-COPA and collected a truckload of food for the Central MA AFL-CIO Food Bank.
Last but not least people like me think that our Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament is a good thing and should be continued. Unfortunately Joe Azzarone who has run this tournament for the last few years has retired and we need someone to run it this year. The tournament has been a great time and over the last few years we have raised about $2000 per year for our scholarship fund. If you ever thought that you would like to do something to help your union this could be your chance. Please contact me if you are interested otherwise a great tradition could go by the wayside.
By: John Flattery, President
I’m sure you all agree that one of the true giants of the silver screen is Wile E. Coyote. While most remember him as the silent adversary of the Roadrunner he also appeared in several other Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies classics, and 5 or 6 with Bugs Bunny. As a matter of fact it was the Bugs Bunny masterpiece "Operation: Rabbit" where he was first identified by his full name and it was also the first time he spoke. Who could ever forget the classic line he delivered whilst filling a carrot with explosives "Wile E. Coyote supergenius, I like the way that rolls out of my mouth, Wile E. Coyote sup-er-gen-i-us." Of course his shed is then hit by a train and explodes, but that’s how it goes for us supergeniuses.
Being a supergenius can be burdensome, you see when you have so many big ideas it is tough to remember them all. Such is the case for me. Back in the summer of 2006 I had the brilliant idea to list in my articles the names of those members who had acted as an organizer and signed up a new member. I am somewhat embarrassed to report that I have dropped the ball and it has been just about one year since I have recognized those organizers and for that I apologize. So let me say thank you to: Norma Rivera, Barry Donovan, Kelly Tiffany, Donna Belliveau, Tim Igo, Brian Mildish, Kurt Helander, Joe Rahmberg, Bob Fitzgerald, Dick Surette, Earl Duncan, John Senckowski, Les Bomba, Ron Matczak, Ed Morin, Chris Adams, Mike Lee, and Robert Gatautis. I really do appreciate all you have done.
As I was compiling the list of organizers I kept track of the number of new members who have joined the APWU in the last year, we had 28 employees join the APWU in that time which is certainly good news, however in that same period we have had 34 members retire and that does not include those who have taken the latest retirement incentive and I am expecting to see as many as 35 members take that offer. That would bring to anywhere between 60 to 70 the number of retirees in one year which will have a significant impact on the finances of this local. This local survives on the dues that each member pays, and as the number of members drops so does the amount of money we take in. It is an unfortunate fact of life that union representation costs money, and as our income is reduced it will be more difficult to provide the quality of representation and benefits that many have taken for granted. As we all know the USPS is not hiring anyone to replace those employees who retire so there is no chance to sign up the new hires. However there are still far too many non-dues paying employees out there and those are the people we must get to join the APWU. It is vital to our survival that every clerk, maintenance and motor vehicle employee pay their fair share. The last thing I want to talk about is a dues increase but if our numbers continue to fall we will have no choice and I think it is incredibly unfair that you and I will have to pay more money to provide representation for those who pay nothing.
If you work with someone who is not paying dues please get them to join the APWU. Remember, consistent with our 50/50 organizing drive each new member gets $50 as does the organizer.
Previously I had mentioned that we could lose as many as 70 members to retirement this year. Not only will the impact be financial, worse yet we will be losing some pretty good people and friends. Among those who have retired or will be retiring soon are many who have been active in this local in one way or another over the years and I would like to thank you all for your loyal membership in the APWU. Two current stewards will be retiring soon and I would like to thank Jim Haskell and Stan Gniadek for their service to the membership. Jim as been a steward in the CFS unit in Worcester for 10 years and Stan has been a steward in Westboro since 2001. Thank you both for all you’ve done for the CMAL-APWU it is very much appreciated. Last but certainly not least I would like to say thank you and goodbye to Paul Wojsznis in Acton. "Lefty" has been an APWU member since 1972 and was a steward or alternate steward in Acton for most of those years, he has been a great friend to the CMAL-APWU and the people he worked with. Lefty is one of the best guys you could ever meet and he will be missed – thanks Lefty for everything.
While I’m on the subject of thank you and goodbye. CMAL-APWU Clerk Craft Director Joe Azzarone has resigned as both craft director and tour one steward in the CMPDC. I would like to thank Joe for all he has done over the years on behalf of the membership of the CMAL-APWU. The Executive Board has approved my appointment of Norma Rivera to replace Joe as Director of the Clerk Craft and Bob Chapman as an alternate steward on tour 1 in the CMPDC.
Since I’m already thanking Joe let me keep right on going – thanks again to Joe Azzarone for putting together another successful golf tournament. The 18th Annual Scholarship golf tournament was held on Columbus Day, October 12, 2009 at the Raceway Golf Course in Thompson, CT. I am happy to report that the weatherman was good to us this year and 70 people played in the sunshine. More importantly we were able to raise $1,997 for our scholarship fund. So again thank you to Joe and thank you also to our Sponsors, the Central MA AFL-CIO, The Voluntary Benefits Plan, The Boston Metro Area Local APWU and Stacy Publishing. A special thanks to the folks at Brew City on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester for coming through in a big way again and making an extremely generous donation. Please help repay their generosity and stop in for some of the best food on Shrewsbury Street as well as an unbelievable beer selection. Finally I would like to thank Steve Sargent in Worcester for donating two Pub 99 gift certificates to the tournament it was sincerely appreciated.
"THEY CALL ME THE SEEKER"
By: John Flattery
I have searched and searched, as the great Pete Townsend once said, "I’ve looked under chairs, I’ve looked under tables", I’ve gone through the contract forwards, backwards and upside down, I’ve even done a google search but as Bono would say "I still haven’t found what I’m looking for". I actually considered enlisting the help of St. Anthony, but I don’t think he could help find it because it doesn’t exist, besides he’s probably busy helping someone locate their car keys.
It, is the new rule, which reads, "management may now disregard the contract" – and it doesn’t exist, however I am convinced that the idiots running the Postal Service believe it does exist, it doesn’t! I understand that the economy is a disaster, but that doesn’t mean that the contract doesn’t matter. I realize that mail volumes have dropped like never before, that doesn’t mean the contract is null and void. I know that the Postal Service is in trouble, I get it, I’m not stupid, I’m 44 years old but I read at a 49-year-old level. Really, I understand how bad everything is but the rules are the freakin’ rules! I swear, the next time some dopey Postmaster tries to justify violating the contract by telling me how bad things are, or worse yet says something like "they should be happy they have a job" I’m going to tear off my toenails. Equally as frustrating is our own members allowing contract violations to go unreported because they feel that the Postmaster is trying to help. It’s not the unions fault that many offices are understaffed, that doesn’t give them the right to ignore the contract, it’s not the unions fault that the budget doesn’t provide enough hours for what needs to be done, that doesn’t mean that the contract no longer applies. We need to fight for every minute, and when you allow violations to occur and won’t report it or are unwilling to provide a statement to the union your screwing your fellow workers and cheating yourself.
While it is true that the Postal Service is in trouble, I see trouble brewing for the APWU at all levels. We don’t have the number of members we used to have, which means we don’t have the money we used to. Locally we are seeing a lot of people retiring lately, and while I’m always happy for anyone who climbs over the wall and escapes it means the loss of one more member, and in case you haven’t noticed we are not hiring anyone, so no one replaces the retiree which means we can’t ask the new employee to join the APWU, because there is no new employee. However there are still far too many non-members in facilities represented by the CMAL-APWU and that needs to change. Unfortunately representation costs money and the only money we get is dues, and the less dues we collect the less we can provide. Whether it is movie tickets, gift cards, dental plan or ABA membership or paying code 84 for area stewards to go out and file grievances, paying utilities, the list goes on and on. So if you think that the non-members decision to not pay dues won’t affect you, your wrong eventually it will. Please get that non-member to sign up, it means $50 for you and $50 for the new member.
Finally, I’ve been asked by one of our members to disseminate some information throughout the local regarding the New England Organ Bank. The pamphlets were sent out in early June to all CMAL-APWU represented offices with our monthly mailing for bulletin boards. Please check it out or visit www.neob.org and see how much of a difference you can make by becoming an organ/tissue donor. According to the New England Organ Bank the need for donated organs, corneas and tissue continues to grow. More than 100,000 men, women and children currently await lifesaving organ transplants. Sadly an average of 18 people die each day due to a lack of available organs. Becoming a donor is simple; you can do it when you apply for your drivers license, please give it some serious thought.
Have a safe, enjoyable summer.
THANK YOU DUDLEY DICKERSON
Dudley Dickerson was an Actor who appeared in over 150 films during the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s. He is best remembered for his role as the cook in The Three Stooges masterpiece “A Plumbing We Will Go”. His classic line in the movie “this house is sho’ going crazy” is the inspiration for this article. It seems like everyday the Postal Service does something that makes me think “this house is sho’ going crazy”.
You may recall a little ice storm that struck much of the area back in December. The storm essentially crippled much of Central Massachusetts. Hundreds of thousands were without power, downed trees, limbs and power lines made travel impossible for thousands, many not being able to get out of their driveways or off of their streets. Transportation to some Post Offices was cancelled because the trucks couldn’t physically get to them.
Section 519 of The Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) deals with administrative leave and the events and procedures for granting administrative leave. The ELM goes on to define Acts of God as involving community disasters such as fire, flood or storms and that “the disaster situation must be general rather than personal in scope and impact. It must prevent groups of employees from working or reporting to work”.
Naturally one would assume that administrative leave was granted, after all the impact of the storm was general in scope and prevented hundreds of employees from getting to work. Hell, the transportation was cancelled because access to some offices was not possible.
Well “this house is sho’ going crazy” – administrative leave was not granted to anyone for what was being reported as a once in a century type storm. Even those employees who work in offices which were inaccessible were not granted administrative leave, because lets face it, just because it’s impossible to get to work doesn’t mean that you don’t have to go there.
The day of the storm I spoke with many employees and Postmasters regarding what was going on, many offices had no power no heat and in some cases no water. It became apparent that everyone was waiting for word from the District Manager regarding what action to take and the lines of communication seemed to be down too.
I tried to contact various District type big shots and finally got in touch with Rich Pace, acting Poom (Post Office Operations Manager) and he acted just like a Poom, he said something stupid. After relaying the severity of the situation as reported to me from various locales throughout Central Mass. and sensing just a little bit of indifference I tried to emphasize how dire the situation was and I was told something to the effect of “look you have to understand it’s not that bad where I’m at” and I thought “this house is sho’ going crazy” all you had to do was turn on a television or radio and you knew how bad things were but apparently if you look out the window in North Reading, MA and see blue skies it must be sunny everywhere. You just can’t make this stuff up. We have filed dozens of grievances throughout central MA regarding management’s refusal to grant administrative leave and hopefully we’ll have them resolved soon.
In their never ending quest to micromanage each post office the Massachusetts District has unveiled a new creation, the desktop function four. It appears to be exactly as described, some management type employee sits at a desk and looks at some numbers and then tells a Postmaster how to staff his/her office. The recommendations all seem to be similar, change full time regulars non-scheduled days, start them around 8:00am and split them two hours for lunch, bring the PTF’s in early and get them out quickly – and the Postmasters are being told that they must work on the clerk side for at least three hours per day. The Postal management type employee selected to perform these desktop function fours is none other than our old friend Scot Florio, who is still technically the Postmaster in Leominster, he just hasn’t worked there (thank goodness) since last summer. When I found out Mr. Florio was the desktop function four guy I thought “this house is sho’ going crazy” – and for possible legal purposes I’ll leave it at that.
If your Postmaster tries to change the hours or non-scheduled days of a full time regular they need to notify the union – but so should you, - don’t assume the Postmaster notified us, they often don’t. If the Postmaster is increasing the amount of bargaining unit work they perform and PTF hours are being reduced you need to contact the union immediately. If management brings in a PTF from another office and you are not getting 40 hours you need to contact the union. If you are instructed to scan the box section as all up before it actually is all up – don’t do it. No manager can order you to enter false information. So, if you are told to do it or you see your supervisor or Postmaster do it let your steward know about it right away or call me.
I had been hoping to find some way to put into words how imbecilic the mystery shopper program is so that I could follow it up with a “this house is sho’ going crazy” but my literary skills are ill suited for such a task. For those of you not familiar with the mystery shopper program, just imagine the most absurd idea ever and then multiply it by 17. What the mystery shopper program does is require window clerks to ask customers an endless list of questions in an alleged attempt to generate revenue, but what it really does is piss off customers and make window clerks feel foolish. As I was saying, I had hoped to be able to more completely describe how idiotic the mystery shopper program is but I would need more pages than we can afford and I would be forced to use language not suitable for this fine publication.
The examples of “this house is sho’ going crazy” could go on forever, especially now that panic seems to fuel almost every decision made by USPS management, but we have some CMAL-APWU issues to tend to.
At the January 25, 2009 general membership meeting, proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws of this local were voted on and approved by those members in attendance. The changes to section One of our Constitution and Bylaws will now require that “upon notification of the death of a member the president shall order a tribute of $100 to be presented duly inscribed “from the Central MA Area Local, APWU”. Previously we had sent a tribute of $25. Another change to section One involves the sending of fruit baskets to members hospitalized for reasons other than childbirth. Previously the local was required to send a fruit basket worth $35 or fair market value to members who were hospitalized. The problem was that the prices and availability of fruit baskets varied widely throughout central MA and with delivery charges added in it was costing us upwards of $80 to send some members fruit baskets. The change as adopted is “upon notification that any member is hospitalized for reasons other than birth of a child, the president shall ensure that such member is to receive a benefaction with a value of $25 along with a card to read “on behalf of the Central MA Area Local, APWU”. The $25 benefaction will be a CVS gift card with a value of $25. Here’s where we need your help, we don’t always know if someone is hospitalized so you need to let us know, tell your steward or call the union office so we can be sure to send out the cards.
Also changed was section nine, which deals with the local’s paper. Previously the editor was required to send out six issues of the “Union Views” per year. For economic reasons it was proposed to change the Constitution and Bylaws to require the editor to print and distribute the “Union Views” “….no fewer than 4 times each year on a quarterly basis”.
Finally, I’d like to remind those of you about to send your son or daughter off to college next year to keep your eyes posted on APWU bulletin boards for scholarship information. Applications for the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, E.C. Hallbeck and Vocational Scholarships are available on the APWU website (www.apwu.org) or simply call the union office and we’ll get one to you. The deadline is March 16, 2009. The Central MA AFL-CIO will be awarding four $1,000 scholarships this year. Applications are available at their website (www.cantralmassaflcio.org) or call the union office. Information regarding the APWU-Accident Benefit Association scholarship application will be available in June.
One of the great joys of being local president is that rare instance when some melancholy little postal worker comes up to me and asks, “how come you suck so much?” I’ll usually thank them for the inquiry, pat them on their head and go on my way. I’ve never given them an answer, until now. The reason that you think I suck so much is because I’m dying. I don’t mean me personally, as far as I know I’m fine. The one whose dying is the local president, and you is killing me. I don’t mean you specifically, I mean you in a more generalized sense. You is not an individual person, you is a group and we all know who you is. Hell, every once in a while I might even be one of you, but its been a long time since there was any you in me.
You is the non-member, the one that doesn’t pay dues yet reaps the benefits that others pay for. The worst of you doesn’t pay dues then actually has the nerve to want to file grievances or ask a union representative a question. You certainly can be an insolent little bastard.
You wants to have a “do not mail” registry, you complains about the amount of junk mail you receives and you pays bills online.
You either doesn’t vote or you votes for candidates that think that we make too much money and have too many benefits. You is more concerned about gun rights than workers rights and you never gives any money to COPA.
You shops at Walmart to save a buck, you bitches all the time that other public employees are underworked and over compensated and you is against Project Labor Agreements because you doesn’t have a damned clue.
You is a victim, and whenever anything bad happens you blames the union. You thinks it’s the unions fault that yous bid was abolished. When you gets by passed for overtime you blames the steward and when you gets 2 hours of overtime pay as the result of a grievance you never says thanks!
You likes to talk a lot, but you is almost always wrong about everything because you doesn’t pay attention to anything the union says. You never reads anything on APWU bulletin boards, you never checks APWU web sites you probably throws out any mail from the APWU, you probably won’t even read this.
You thinks that being represented by a union means you can do whatever you wants. You is under the impression that the union can make postal management not violate the contract. You doesn’t understand that what the union can do is enforce the contract through the grievance arbitration procedure, and unfortunately that takes time. You says stupid things like “If I win the grievance then I’ll join the union” and when you doesn’t get yous way you quits the union.
If you thinks being a kiss ass will lead to special treatment you will do it, you will tattle on other workers like a small child and you will write out statements against fellow workers, because you has little pride and no soul at all.
Things certainly have gotten crazy lately and being local president has not been a tremendous amount of fun lately, but I do love the job. I know I’m no Moe Biller, but I can’t help but wonder how much better I could do my job if I didn’t have you working against me.
One thing you doesn’t do is sign up new members. Any CMAL-APWU member who recruits a new member is performing a service to the union and for that I am grateful, and it pays to organize. Not only does the new member get $50 so does the organizer. While the organizers have already received their money I’d like to offer my thanks to Alan Swartz, Jules Laroche, Deborah Coyle, Bob Fitgerald, Brian Mildish, John Senckowski, Wanda Krysil, Barry Donovan and Richard Morin – Thanks again!
One last reminder – Monday October 13, 2008, also known as Columbus Day the 17th annual CMAL-APWU Scholarship Golf Tournament will be held at Raceway Golf Course in Thompson, CT. Details are elsewhere in this issue and if more information is needed please call the union office at 508-755-6833 or 1-800-974-2798. It’s always a great tournament and the money raised is for a great cause!
by: John Flattery
Recently I received a letter purportedly on behalf of a group of postmasters. This letter characterized me as cowardly – and oh by the way it was anonymous. As if getting an anonymous letter calling me a coward wasn’t funny enough the letter writer went on to explain that he/she/it did not write the letter “…to create more problems simply to hopefully add solutions.” I don’t know about you but it has been my experience (and believe me I’ve got plenty) that to start a dialogue with an insult only makes it a little tougher to find solutions.
This anonymous group of postmasters were upset with me for withdrawing from Safety & Health Committees throughout the district. In early March I had notified each postmaster as well as the USPS Massachusetts District Manager of Safety that the CMAL-APWU would not be a participant in any Safety & Health Committee in any facility in the Massachusetts District. This action was not taken lightly and was necessitated by a lack of concern for our members in the Pepperell Post Office. Things had gotten pretty bad in Pepperell and no one seemed to care. So I sent them all a letter stating that if the District wants to be committed to Safety & Health then it had to be committed in every office and if they didn’t care about what was happening in Pepperell they were not fully committed. They were informed that the CMAL-APWU would not participate in Safety & Health Committees until such time as there were some changes in Pepperell.
As to the body of the letter the first thing I took note of was that it must not be necessary to demonstrate one’s grammatical abilities in order to become a postmaster – and jeeze Louise don’t these postmasters ever check their facts before they speak/write. Of course that was a rhetorical question for we all know that the postmasters creed is “never let the facts get in the way”. To be fair there was one legitimate point amongst this anonymous drivel although I believe it was accidentally legitimate. I did a poor job of communicating with the CMAL-APWU representatives on the various Safety & Health Committees as to why we were withdrawing and for that I apologize to each and every CMAL-APWU Safety & Health Committee member.
If these postmasters were actually as concerned as they profess to be perhaps one of them could have picked up a phone and called me to see if there was something they could do to help. Instead what they did was bitch to each other about what an ass I am – and then write me an anonymous letter calling ME childish (which I don’t necessarily disagree with), by the way don’t underestimate my ability to be petty and shallow too!
So here’s my advice to captain courage and the anonymous postmasters. First of all, if you want to help, how about picking up a phone and calling the district manager and tell him you agree with me that the postmaster in Leominster should be in a different position. You all can’t wait to bitch about him to me, how about telling someone who can do something. You could refuse to issue a letter of warning to some window clerk who doesn’t ask some rat bastard mystery shopper one dumb question. How about when the function four team comes rolling through your office you refuse to sign off on it because you know there’s no way your office will operate efficiently with the cuts they want you to make? Tell your boss your not going to send home PTF’s and then do the work they used to do because such an action would surely be a violation of the National Agreement. The anxiety caused by a cut in hours or being excessed is truly a health concern of this union and should be of concern to you. Of course to do any of those things would take some backbone and people that send anonymous letters generally don’t have much backbone. My final two pieces of advice to these anonymous postmasters would be stop writing anonymous letters because it’s stupid and then kiss my anonymous ass.
Elsewhere in this fine publication new members of this local are recognized and rightfully so. I am pleased to welcome them to our little CMAL-APWU family. I would like to thank them for making the decision to become an APWU member and I would like to thank the members who helped them arrive at that decision. Playing the role of organizer is something that everyone can do to help the union and it pays too! Remember our 50/50 organizing drive has been extended through December 31, 2008 and that means that when you get that non-member to join the CMAL-APWU you both get $50.
In closing I want to remind all you golfers and all you hackers too – mark your calendars for October 13, 2008. That’s right Columbus Day can only mean one thing – the 17th annual CMAL-APWU Scholarship Golf Tournament. Last years tournament was a great success and hopefully this years will be even better. Joe Azzarone is putting the finishing touches on the tournament so watch your bulletin boards for all the specifics, but keep the date open.
WHAT’S A DIPLOMAT TO DO
by: John Flattery
This being the first article I’ve written since being re-elected it is probably not the best time to tell you that you may have made a mistake, I may not be the right person for the job. During my first three years as President of this fine local I realized that diplomacy was a major part of the job, and when it comes to the art of diplomacy I’m pretty much a finger paint type of guy. In my former role as CMAL-APWU troublemaker I was much more comfortable, it came to me naturally, sort of the Conrad Dobler of the APWU. When I would watch, then local President Frank Rigiero putting out the fires on the bridges I was trying to burn down I though little of it, I never realized how hard it can be to build bridges – until now.
Patience has always been a virtue, which has eluded me, however I was determined to, in the words of one of my boyhood heroes, “restructure my personality”. For three years, well maybe two and one half years I tried, I mean I really tried to stop being a troublemaker. It was like a Lenten journey that lasted for 30 months, but I tried, and outside of a few spats with a handful of idiotic supervisors, a smattering of squabbles with a couple of asinine postmasters, some nasty exchanges with various labor relations representatives and one little picket in Leominster – well I guess I could have tried harder, but we all fall short.
While admitting my shortcomings as a diplomat I must offer a defense for not attaining my goal. You see, the people I’m trying to work with seem to have little interest in having things work. I’m not speaking of the usual suspects; I don’t expect much of them, and why would I? Really, how can I be expected to work with someone like the Postmaster in Worcester who tells me he’s only ignoring the contract because he has to! – memo to Steve Rosetti, that’s not exactly what I call “manning up”. I suppose I might be able to deal with who ever happens to be in charge of the CMPDC, if the Manager of In Plant Support wasn’t a woman who I consider to be a liar a sneak and a cheat. Leominster, puh-lease how can I be expected to be tactful with a man I believe to be the personification of evil? Although these petty little people strain my ability to exercise a little more savoir-faire they are not the problem, because they have superiors who allow this type of behavior and only those managers can change their behavior and of this writing I don’t think they care to.
“They” would be the District Manager and the two POOM’s (Post Office Operations Manager). This power trio ain’t nuthin’ like Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton – more like Moe, Larry and Curly without the laughs. Mike Powers is the Massachusetts District Manager for the U.S.P.S. and there’s not much I can say about the man because I’ve only met him once, but I’ve only been President for a little over three years and he wasn’t on my Christmas card list either. I met Mike several years ago at a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) meeting. The committee, which was comprised of representatives from various federal agencies, was meeting in the Worcester Post Office and since Mike was in the house he stopped by to introduce himself. The Postal Service was the largest federal agency involved in our CFC and the success of the campaign was largely dependant on the USPS, and love was in the air. Mike pledged his support to the Committee to help make it a successful campaign. Shortly thereafter the Committee was disbanded due in large part to the lack of commitment on behalf of the Postal Service – ‘nuff said!
John Cantwell is the Senior Manager of Post Office operations for the Massachusetts District (POOM#1). While I don’t have many dealing with him I’ve dealt with him enough that he at least knows my name. Recently while trying to address a concern of this local I was directed to Mr. Cantwell who I spoke with a couple of times regarding the issue. As of this writing I am of the opinion that Mr. “C” did two things. I believe the first thing he did was to make sure that our problem would not become his problem and then I think he blew me off. A word to the wise here, if it ever comes to pass that you find yourself dealing with Mr. “C” and he promises an investigation, don’t expect him to send in Columbo.
Least but not last is Don Clark, Manager of Post Office Operations, 014-017 (POOM#2) I’ve know Don for many years and it was Don who served as my inspiration for this article. Not so long ago Don and I were discussing a situation in a particular Post Office. In response to a clerks comments that their work life was becoming increasingly less satisfying, he matter of factly said, “I don’t care if they’re happy.” I think that pretty much sums up why it’s so hard to be diplomatic, after all it’s not easy getting along with people who don’t want to get along.
That’s more than enough about those who don’t want to get along, now I’d like to talk about some great people that help us all get along a little better, I’m speaking of course of our CMAL-APWU organizers. There are still far too many non-members out there and the one thing we can all do is to sign them up. I realize that most people have a little common sense and understand that joining the APWU not only makes sense it’s the right thing to do, and they are easy to get signed up, however there is another group that perhaps needs to be enlightened. Remember, not only is it the right thing to do, but when you sign up that new member you both get $50 in accordance with our 50/50 organizing drive which has been extended through December 31, 2008. I would like to thank Bob Fitzgerald, Joe Rahmberg, Norma Rivera, Jim Haskell and Earl Duncan for being APWU organizers; your dedication is truly appreciated.
In closing I would like to say thank you to everyone who contributed to APWU-COPA during 2007. Due to your dedication to the cause and your generosity the CMAL-APWU contributed $6149 to APWU-COPA last year eclipsing our goal of $5848. Unfortunately 100% of our contribution was made by 15% of our membership. It is my hope that in 2008 we can get more members to make a contribution to APWU-COPA. The job you save may be your own.
by: John Flattery
Writing these articles can be such a pain in the ass. There are many times when I feel like banging my head on my desktop because I can’t think of anything to write about. Then there are those rare instances when there is so much I want to write about but not enough space. This is one of those rare instances, and we’ll get to the title at the end.
One thing that had to be included in this article is goodbye. Goodbye and rest in peace Craig Robinson. Attorney Craig Robinson passed away June 17, 2007 at the too young age of 54, he leaves his wife Linda and a son Chris. Craig had been the local’s attorney for many years and had represented dozens of members with EEO and injury comp claims. Craig was past president of the Springfield, MA Area Local-APWU, put himself through law school while working at the Post Office and was General Counsel for many Unions. Craig was a tremendous supporter of organized labor and a true friend to anyone who ever worked for a paycheck. He will be missed.
Something I wanted to write about was the new look of the “Union Views”. If you have been paying attention you would have noticed that instead of being folded in half this fine publication is now quartered. This is a result of the new mailing regulations, which are basically a gift to the big mailing houses. There simply is not enough space for me to say all I want regarding this topic, we will get to this in the next edition.
Although I had not planned on writing anything about the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) but conditions warrant a few remarks. Back in 2005 the OIG took over much of the work previously performed by the Postal Inspection Service, and lets just say they have been more aggressive than the inspection service had been. Lately the OIG has been very active in Central MA, and I do mean very active! Also, if you are approached by someone identifying themselves as a special agent for the OIG ask for union representation. Remember you must ask for union representation, they will not offer it.
As has become my habit, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Shaun Mason, Bob Kopacz and John Senckowski for their help in organizing. Brother Senckowski has done a tremendous job in signing up new members and it is truly appreciated. Remember the 50/50 organizing drive continues through December 2007, sign up a new member and you both get to $50.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that the children of three of our members have been awarded scholarships that were available as a result of belonging to the CMAL-APWU.
Agnes Nam has been selected as one of the recipients of the American Postal Workers Union E.C. Hallbeck Memorial Scholarship Program. She is the daughter of Il and Mia Nam, both clerks in the CMPDC.
Christina Terrill has been selected as a recipient of the Central Ma AFL/CIO Scholarship. She is the daughter of Jim Terrill, also a clerk in the CMPDC. Congratulations to all! Remember, it pays to belong to the APWU.
Now, back to the title. Not so long ago, somebody in Labor Relations for the USPS Mass District made an off the cuff comment to me about the number of grievances filed by our local. The comment was something like “why do you file so many grievances” and I found the answer in the Worcester Post Office.
Although I thought he was long retired I guess I was wrong, and this could be his most funny role ever. He enjoyed success in television as “the nervous man” on the old Steve Allen show and then as bumbling deputy Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith show. I loved him as the Incredible Mr. Limpett and Luther Heggs in “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” but his current role as a Supervisor of Customer Service in Worcester is a scream.
Back in June several window clerks in Worcester discovered money missing from their paychecks. It only took a little searching to discover the reason. Management started collecting money for credit shortages from as long as 10 years ago. The only problem was these window clerks didn’t owe the money. This prompted many discussions between myself and management in Worcester. During one of these discussions I asked S.C.S, John Aramony why he had chosen to ignore the contractual requirements regarding salary offsets and he replied, “I had my reasons” whoa boy, I’m still laughing, he hasn’t been this funny in years.
And they want to know why we file so many grievances; you have got to be kidding!
by: John Flattery
Ask anyone in management to describe me in one word and I’ll bet the most common adjective would be gracious. Lets face it I am one affable dude. It is my cordiality that makes it so easy for me to praise others and with that in mind I’d like to say thanks, gracias, danke, merci, grazie or as my little Jewish friends would say – toda. No matter which language you speak it all means thanks and I’d like to say Thank You all for your patience over the last two months while we were conducting Local Negotiations. As I write this article we are in the process of wrapping up Negotiations and have in fact negotiated local agreements in more than 60 offices. In about 20 other offices we have agreed to carry over the existing Local Memorandum Of Understanding for the life of the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement. While these negotiations were going on our accessibility was limited but for the most part everyone was very understanding and as they say in Malaysia – Terima Kasih!
While I’m in a thank you mood I’d like to express my gratitude to John Healy. John has been the CMAL-APWU Director of the Motor Vehicle Craft since 1986, he has served as a steward and alternate steward for the Local as well as serving as Director of the Motor Vehicle Craft for the APWU of Mass. John has been a delegate to just about every State Convention I can remember and in general done yeoman's work for this local. Well Brother Healy is retiring, and by the time you’re reading this he will probably be gone. While his retirement will create a huge void within this local it is a well deserved retirement and on behalf of all the members of the CMAL-APWU I’d like to wish John a long, happy and healthy retirement and as they say in Lithuania, Aciu.
Other members whose efforts should be lauded are those who have signed up new members. I’d like to give a Danish shout out to Dave Charette, Lou Beshiri, Judy Carlson, Art Hemond and Sheila Goodrau – tak! If you want to do something to help your union then sign up that non-member. Remember the CMAL 50/50 organizing drive continues until December 31, 2007 and calls for each new member to receive $50 and the CMAL-APWU member who signs up a new member also gets $50!
Within the last month every member of the CMAL-APWU should have received a mailing from the local union office. This mailing contained a flier regarding COPA. APWU President, William Burrus, has asked each local to collect at least $8 per member, which means the goal for the CMAL-APWU is approximately $5,700, but I think we can do better. I am asking every member to donate at least $20 to COPA and there are all kinds of ways to donate. You can contribute through PostalEase, electronic fund transfer, check, money order or credit card, whatever works for you. Just find the handy dandy form located somewhere in this issue and make that contribution. Since I’m the one asking you to part with your money it only seems fair that I give a little too. I am donating a block of $2 Mass State Lottery scratch tickets to be raffled off. Here’s how it will work. Sometime in September I will receive a list of the names of all CMAL-APWU members who have contributed to APWU-COPA along with how much they have contributed. For every $20 you have given between January 1, 2007 and August 31, 2007 your name will be entered into a drawing for the 300 scratch tickets. It’s so simple even a Postmaster could figure it out. There is one more thing I would like to add. If my wife finds out about me donating the tickets she’ll probably kill me, and she’ll probably find out so please make that contribution now. If she’s gonna have my head I’d like to at least have our local meet our goal. So please for the sake of my health and my marital status Give, Give, Give! The life you save may be my own.
Finally, the members in attendance at the May 20, 2007 general membership meeting voted to cancel the June 24, 2007 meeting. The next meeting of the Central MA Area Local will be September 23, 2007. Nominations for offices of the Local will take place at this meeting, two scholarships will be awarded, we will draw the second and third quarter VOE survey winners names and hopefully give a book of scratch tickets to some lucky winner as we celebrate our locals COPA success.
Have a safe and happy summer.
“One More Reason to Boycott the VOE”
by: John Flattery
If you have been paying attention you probably realize that we are having some difficulty in the Leominster Post Office. In my opinion the Postmaster is the cause of the problems that exist. I have heard rumblings that Scot Florio is actually a Latin phrase which loosely translated to English means “Personification of Evil”, I’m not sure but I am investigating the possibility. It is not my intent to explain in detail why I feel Mr. Florio is a walking argument for abortion; it would take far too much space. I often wonder why somebody would decide to toddle through life just being a god awful son of a bitch; I mean what purpose could they serve? Well Mr. Florio’s purpose it seems was to help me expose just how much of a scam the voice of the Employee Survey is.
Back in November of 2006 I had the unfortunate experience of speaking with Mr. Florio in his office. During this conversation Mr. Florio mentioned the VOE results to help make his point. When I requested to actually see the results I was told they were not available. After having to file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board I was finally given the information. After receiving the information I realized two things. First of all Mr. Florio misrepresented the facts back in November and secondly the survey is a scam. The Postal Service can milk these surveys to get whatever results they want. Mr. Florio however has found a better way to ensure only positive results. If you think someone will fill out the survey in an unfavorable manner, don’t give it to them in a timely fashion. That is the only reasonable conclusion I can come to after learning that Central MA Area Local steward in Leominster, Joe Matthews was given his VOE survey on February 23, 2007. Upon opening the envelope he was informed that it had to be received in Illinois by February 21, 2007. Aaah yes, leave it to Scot Florio to take the voice of the employee out of the voice of the employee survey. Maybe now we should refer to the VOE as_________.
The recently ratified 2006-2010 Collective Bargaining agreement provides that there shall be a 30 consecutive day period of local implementation which shall occur within a period of 60 days commencing April 2, 2007 on the 22 specific items enumerated below, provided that no local memorandum of understanding may be inconsistent with or vary the terms of the 2006 National Agreement.
What does this mean? It means that starting April 2, 2007 we will begin negotiating every local agreement. Article 30 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement lists the 22 items, which are to be negotiated at the local level and throughout the agreement there are many other items, which may be negotiated at the local level.
What should we do? In order to prepare for the upcoming negotiations our Northeast Regional Coordinator Liz Powell, has arranged for a training session to be conducted in her office on March 15, 2007. What you should do is review your local agreement as well as the 22 items identified in article 30 and see if there is anything you think should be changed. If you have any suggestions fill out the form that can be found in this issue of the union views or check the bulletin board in your office for a form. If your office does not have a copy of the local agreement posted, please contact the union office and we will get one out to you. Once the 60 day period has expired your local agreement can not be changed until the next contract is negotiated, which is sometime in 2010.
The last thing I have to say about LMOUs is please be patient. During the 60 day period we will be negotiating over 80 local agreements, needless to say our availability will be limited during this time. We will do our best to return all calls and your understanding and patience will be appreciated.
In closing, I’d like to thank the following CMAL members whose efforts resulted in those new members who have recently joined our local. Thank you Dave Kaake, Jim Cort, Jean McFaul and Bob Blood. Remember everyone can be an organizer and we’ll pay you $50.
VOE Survey Drawing Extended To December 31, 2009
Keep on turning in your survey to an APWU steward, bring it to a union meeting or mail it to the local and you will be entered into the 2007 quarterly drawings! All crafts (including APWU) and management employees are eligible for a $100.00 drawing!
CMAL members will also be entered into an additional four drawings for $50.00 each! Names are drawn at a Union meeting.
Mail Surveys To:
Did you know that you can support COPA through PostalEase? That's right, PostalEase makes it easy to make a small contribution to COPA from each pay check.
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