by Lindamarie Peabody

NO! I will not stop screaming! If one more manager in the Philadelphia District says that to me, I am going to lose it! The mere fact that the Post Office is implementing changes, when they have no idea what the future holds in terms of VERA's, which bills will or will not pass in the House of Representatives and the economy possibly starting to turn around, gives us all the RIGHT to scream at the top of our lungs! When presented with the questions of how these things will affect us, management says we will just have to go forward with the disruption of as many lives as we can and if something changes, we will just have to change it back. One POOM even mentioned with a smile that if an early out was offered, we would have to go back into hiring mode immediately! How nice! We will move our thirty year regulars, give them nifty positions, send them to an unfamiliar and distant facility, and then hire our replacements at a much lower wage. This sounds like an excellent plan to me! What kind of organization dives into a bottomless tunnel with no direction and expects it to survive? The Post Office is in a death spiral, and with the reduction in hours to most of our local post offices it will only speed up the process. The screaming has only just begun! With the creation of the NTFT assignments, now allowed by our contract, management has been given the ability to completely destroy the forty hour work week. ALL of the proposals of NTFT duty assignments given to us during the district meeting were six days a week and less than forty hours. Management believes that they can feed us this crap and we are just going to accept it. In my opinion, a NTFT position is NOT a full time assignment in any way, because it strips us of up to twelve thousand dollars a year, reduces our earned annual/sick leave and even if you are the junior employee who gets awarded the job you can still be excessed before a senior regular who refuses to bid on it and retains their forty hour unassigned position. The only difference is now they can excess you further away and still not have to guarantee you forty hours! Another important factor everyone must consider is that if you take a nifty position, your ability to obtain credit or borrow money is reduced, because not only has your salary dropped, but the whole world considers a forty hour a week job as full time, and whenyou try to explain to them that a less than forty hour job still constitutes full time with the Post Office, it will not be seen that way in the outside world. Also, the same goes for layoffs. If our future contract provisions ever lose layoff protection and you get laid off only working thirty hours a week, then your unemployment benefits would possibly be reduced as well because you will not be considered full time in the eyes of the state. I realize that bidding on one of these positions is a very personal decision, but in my opinion I would strongly urge you to find out exactly what you are going to lose, because it is much more than you think. The President and the Officers of Tri-County strongly urge you NOT to bid on any NTFT duty assignments with any less than 40 hours! We feel that if we can stand together and make management understand that we will not accept any assignments less than forty hours (either four ten hour days, five eight hour days or any combo of 40 hours in five days), then they will be forced to create desirable jobs that will benefit all of us. The union is only as strong as the membership allows it to be! We will grieve every single NTFT job that is less than forty hours and will fight as long as necessary to get it right! I believe that if you were 40 hours at the signing of this contract, then you should do whatever it takes to keep what you are rightfully deserving of and I will personally fight to the death before losing my guaranteed forty hours of pay! No, I will NEVER stop screaming until management realizes that this contract was made in good faith to help out the Post Office with flexibility, not to reduce the "Post Office Lifers" wages and standard of living! I beg all of you to SCREAM with me...to all of your representatives to pass pro-postal legislation, to the management teams about accepting less than desirable jobs and to anyone who will listen that we will not just sit back and let them destroy an American Institution as valuable as the Post Office. Sorry Philadelphia District, I will continue to scream until the voice of the union is heard, so you better get used to it! EVERYONE Scream Loud and Scream Often, but never be silent! Have a wonderful summer and be sure to enjoy your Union guaranteed vacation!

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor