by Lindamarie Peabody

Now that summer is upon us my thoughts instantly move toward the beach, the pool and having a break from homework! Unfortunately, I have been very busy with several grievances and issues that have increased my "homework" and made life hectic. Management is placing ever more responsibilities on fewer employees, and I feel like a basketball some days moving from one job to the next job. I try to keep everything in perspective and found that by not worrying about the small stuff, it makes for a better day at work. Also, in my office I have a supervisor who is continually trying to steal clerk work, when he can't even finish his own. All stewards and clerks should realize that any time you let a supervisor perform your work, you may eventually lose that work. I know sometimes you think the supervisor is trying to help you, but in reality he or she is hurting your chances of proving that you have an eight hour a day job. Do not EVER let management perform your duties without immediately challenging them on it and providing alternatives to make sure that the work is done by a clerk. If a function four comes into your office and you can't show eight hours worth of work, your position is history. The important thing is that even if you have new duties assigned to your bid, that you do them and grieve them only if it is a contractual violation. Never say No that's not my job, because you may need those duties in the near future to sustain your employment in the USPS.

On the national front, the Post Office is still contemplating the five day work week and President Burrus said that by even entertaining the idea, it will surely be the demise of the postal service. He also said that the government needs to come together to pass H.R. 22 and relieve the postal service of its obligation to pre-fund retirement health benefits. The passage of this bill would release some of the financial burden on the service and give us some breathing room in the years to come. It is gaining support in Congress and hopefully will be passed. I am urging all union members to take the sample letter provided in this issue of the newsletter (page 6) and write to your representatives. We must stand together and fight to save our jobs and our future. If you want to have a job that you can retire from, then my suggestion is to get your letter ready and send it off. This could count toward one of the five letters I am going to ask that each of you send out every month, even those who still pay their bills online (Shame on you!) I still believe that changes need to be made to make the Post Office a viable business, but reducing my pay or laying off half the workers is not a solution in my opinion. Working smart to reduce waste (too many managers micromanaging), and stop giving major mailers too many discounts, are the key to a successful future of the Postal Service.

One final note is that I want to say thank you to all the officers, stewards, and President Mark, who have been coming to the meetings and who work hard every day to protect the members. I think that the increase in attendance has really improved the meetings, whereby more stewards are learning what it takes to be successful. Congrats go out to Pete Stunzi for winning his first ever grievance and for renewing my faith in the system that it can work...sometimes! Have a great summer and once again thank a higher power that we have a strong group of true Union heroes who are trying to protect our rights and keep us working in this bleak economic situation.

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor