by Lindamarie Peabody

Hey Everyone! It’s been awhile since the last issue, but life has been crazy! I am sitting at work today staring out at the snow that’s falling, wondering why I came to work today. I have been here three hours so far and I have had about five die hard customers who all asked the same question, "Why are you here?" I gave the same response to all of them and said, "because YOU are here!" They laughed and said thanks for always being open through rain, snow, blah blah blah...and it really got me thinking that I should have just stayed home and laid on the couch watching Lifetime all day. Is it dedication, money or my mother’s voice in my head telling me that you never should miss work unless you are truly knocked down by illness? Some co-workers call it a mental health day, some say I had to do something else instead and others just say it doesn’t really matter because that is why I have sick leave. I know as a Union Officer that I am expected to say that the sick leave you have accrued is yours and should be used however you see fit, but my true feelings say otherwise. I have done a lot of grievances involving attendance, and it’s the coworkers who ultimately suffer whenever postal workers call out. Management has already cut our staffing to the bone, so when a sick call comes in, everyone has to rearrange their day to cover the missing employee and it really creates a stressful environment. We wind up angry at this employee for sticking it to us, but it is only spoken behind one’s back and never to their face. Granted that is my opinion, but I bet if I asked who has the attendance problem in any office, the answer would come out in less than one second, followed by a who do they think they are coming in late and calling out sick every other day! I must admit that I am jealous of the people who can get away with this, but I feel that having a decent job with a decent wage is something that should be taken seriously. We all need to make coming to work a priority and yes, the occasional day off here and there using your annual is ok, but surprise sick days, unless you are truly sick, should be rare as opposed to being the norm. The advice is to save your sick leave, because you never know what the future will hold for you. As we age, many thing could happen where you will need to use it and if you don’t have it, life could get pretty tough being TRULY ill with no way to pay your bills. Make an effort to come to work, not for anyone’s sake but your own.

In other news, contract negotiations are in full swing. Our contract expires on May 20, 2015 and the priorities of our National APWU officers are simple. Stop the bleeding from the last contract, make a single wage schedule for all postal employees (regulars, PTFs, PSEs, etc.), focus on expanding the postal and banking services, and return to the forty hour work week. They want to make sure that what happened with our last contract never happens again. I am begging, yes begging, all of you to take the time to read the preliminary contract when it is ready and determine for yourself whether it will be good or bad for all of us. The last time many APWU members just followed like blind sheep and look what happened. Thankfully, we have a lot of smart people in Tri County and we were one of the very few locals that saw the enormous amount of problems with the agreement and voted NOT to accept it! It is your right and duty to examine everything we as a union do for you and speak up if you feel your money is not being well spent to protect your employment at the USPS. I hope we can get this contract back on track to protect the future of the Post Office and all of our valued members of the APWU.

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor