by Lindamarie Peabody

Welcome 2012! I hope everyone had a great holiday and is settling in nicely to the new year. 2011 was a rough year for all of us when the new contract was signed. The Postal Service, of course, continued with its plans to try to cut service, diminish the value of the forty hour work week and attack us at all angles. We fought back and we fought hard collecting signatures and visiting all of our elected officials to let them know we meant business. All this said, we still have very little clarification on where the USPS is headed. Every day I try to get online and I read several different viewpoints from our elected representatives on their ideas on how to "FIX" the Postal Service. Some of the proposed bills are a step in the right direction, but none are even close to what we need to accomplish to keep the Postal Service afloat. I believe this is because our elected officials are so far removed from the actual day-to-day running of the Post Office, that they think they can apply the same business model to us as any other company in America. You all know that it is impossible to do that because we are unlike any other business in the country. We are a government service that supports about 80 million other businesses, and if we fail to survive, it would be devastating to an already failing economy. All of you should educate yourself on the differences between the Postal Service and every other company. Some of these differences absolutely have to be told to the general public, before they make any decisions on whether or not they support keeping the Post Office open. The ideas we need to share with EVERYONE we know, is that the Post Office first off does NOT use any tax dollars! The second thing is that Congress made it law in 2006 that we have to pre-fund our retirement for future employees that haven't even been born yet to the tune of $5.5 billion a year. These two differences alone are killing our business. The country's leaders who are against organized labor and are in favor of privatizing the Post Office to get a piece of the billion dollar industry, are spreading lies about us to get the public opinion to change to a negative one. We can't let ONE bill get passed if it lets the USPS cut service (end Saturday delivery), close post offices or extend our delivery time for first class mail. It is ALL we have to offer. If we sit back and let it happen, it will mean the demise of the Post Office and those of you who can't retire can kiss your job goodbye! We need to remain vigilant in the fight and all of you need to contact your representatives and tell them five things. Tell them you want to keep 6-day delivery, have strict mail delivery service times, return our overpayments made into the retirement fund, change the law that requires us to do that, and of course don't close any Post Offices, but rather find new ways to create revenue to push the Postal Service back into the black. You could also mention that the Postal Service is an integral part of American Society and you wish to save it. I will include the addresses of your representatives in this issue and I hope all will take the time to get involved.

In other news, the Christmas party was a great success and we had a lot of adorable children who attended (mine included :) ). I hope everyone had a great time and it was nice to hang out with so many great union members. Cassidy Smith, granddaughter of Cathy DeProspero, won the art contest and Dylan McCafferty received an honorable mention for his snowman. Both will receive a small gift and hopefully will come back next year to defend their titles! Check out the pictures in the center of the printed version of this newsletter. Thank you to all who helped (Mark, CAS, Cathy, SANTA, Pam, Melinda, etc.) as I couldn't have done it without you.

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor