by Lindamarie Peabody

CHANGE. It means a lot of different things to different people, but one thing is constant in that is can be stressful for most of us. We don't know exactly what the future holds for postal workers, but our new Postmaster General Patrick Donohue has made it clear that every part of our organization will be scrutinized and ultimately streamlined into a more efficient entity. He has already planned to cut 7500 positions and either close or consolidate 12 districts. He has mentioned a possible VER (voluntary early retirement) and RIF (reduction in force) if necessary to achieve his goals and the rumors have been flying. At press time there are no details about either and the union suggests that we never believe anything until we see it in writing. Most of these positions involve management and it is giving them a taste of what all of us clerks have been feeling for quite awhile now. While we all have some types of worries about how our postal careers will fare in the midst of all this change, we still feel confident we will have a job...somewhere. In the past it has always been the clerks who have been kept in the dark about excessing and now managers are also not being given information or are being forced to scramble around to find jobs. Part of me feels like saying, "Yeah, they deserve it!" but another part of me says, "If the post office doesn't care about their own management we are definitely going down the tubes!" I wonder if any of these displaced managers now understand why we get so upset when they alter the numbers in our office to meet almost impossible goals, and that they are ultimately working themselves out of their own jobs! My hope is that some part of their brains pick up on this and someday learn that the truth, whether liked or not, is still the best way to go for all involved. Unfortunately, the mentality of them against us is never the way to go to run a successful company. Every company that does succeed ultimately has trained managers (of which we have few) and dedicated employees (of which we have many) and it seems like we are only setting ourselves up for more failure. Until we get managers who can manage correctly and learn to work together, this business will continue on its downward spiral. Change is coming to all of us and we need to be ready for it. We received a DUO projection sheet about some of the consolidations in our area. We have provided a copy for all in this newsletter so make sure you check it out. A DUO is just what it sounds like - combining two or more offices to streamline our operations and save facility costs such as on leases and rent. The DUO sheet provides target dates and clerk job reductions. Neither is set in stone and the union will fight for each and every job that is lost. As Carol Ann (VP, Tri-County) said in her article, we need your help to let us know what is happening in your office. We can't be everywhere and you can imagine how much work we have to keep this union running. Please contact us and let us know what's going on immediately so we can address it. My suggestion is that no one panic. Try to calm down and put everything into perspective. We can't stop these inevitable changes, but your union will fight to make sure that the best possible outcome will be achieved for all parties involved. Take one day at a time and let us all try to stop the speculation and rumors, as both of these cause enormous amounts of unwarranted stress and heartache to those affected. As soon as the union receives VERIFIED information in writing, we will pass it on to all of the offices as soon as possible. Always remember that your reaction to CHANGE is the only thing you can control and the more positive thinking you do, the more positive the change can be achieved successfully.

In other news, our contract talks are progressing so slowly that in my opinion, it looks to me like we are headed to binding arbitration. This is not what we want because we fear we will lose some of our previous gains if a third party gets involved. It must be so difficult for our National Officers in these economic times to try and further our right to receive a decent living wage and benefits. Hopefully, some announcement will come soon either way to settle our minds.

On a more positive note, everyone involved had a great time at our Children's holiday party! There are some fabulous pictures inside to remind us all about solidarity and what a union is all about. It's just human beings fighting for our right to make a decent living, provide for our families and enjoy a satisfying and comfortable life. All of us deserve dignity and respect, so I challenge you all to join together as union brothers and sisters, and help each other make it through the long journey of change that we must endure together.

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor