Wow, the holidays have arrived and I can't believe it's only less than six weeks away until Christmas! I've just returned from the Clerk Craft Conference in Las Vegas and it has taken a few days to get back to my "normal" (ha-ha) life. Mark H, Carol Ann, Rich Brown, Gail G, and myself had a wonderful time and met many other union members with exactly the same issues we all face as Tri-County members. Having never been to Las Vegas before, I must tell you that it is a wonderful place to visit. It is a beautiful city with many interesting buildings (mostly hotels and casinos), and has some of the finest restaurants and entertainment in the country. I think it was a really good choice by the union to hold the conference in Las Vegas, because it accommodated the large turnout with ease.

The classes I attended were Excessing, Dealing with Difficult People (none of them around here!) and Discipline. The excessing class talked mostly about how to avoid losing jobs the minute you find out your office is slated for a Function 4 Team. Always check light/limited duty workers to see that they are returned to their respective crafts and never allow any person who is not a clerk to do your job! Attention all window clerks - USE YOUR NON-REVENUE key as many times during the day, as the Postal Service has plans to cut about 9000 window clerk positions in the near future. Never let your machine sit idle while you are giving directions, paging a supervisor or doing eight jobs at one time. Also, all members MUST use the time clock correctly. Every time you are pulled to a different job, you must clock into a different operation code or they will use it against us when figuring out how many people are really necessary in your office. Remember, the job you save may be your OWN!

During the other two classes, they had a role playing and I swear, I could put a name to each and every situation they performed. It all boils down to one thing - we need to be responsible for what we say and do on the workroom floor. Show up on time, give eight hours of work for eight hours of pay and remember it is not your co-workers' fault that things are the way they are in most offices. Abusive supervisors and bottom line policies are making every day a challenge for union members and scabs alike. It seems like some of these new managers derive pleasure from seeing us fight amongst ourselves and are not intelligent enough to understand that the more respect they place on us, the more respect we will give back. Remember, that the more we stick together, the union will only be that much more powerful in the years to come.

One last thing I want to mention is that President Bill Clinton spoke at the conference. He had a lot of great things to say about Postal Workers and the world. I think every member should check out the speech on the APWU web site. I actually loved what Clinton did with the Family Medical Leave Act and I think it has been a godsend for anyone who has been dealing with serious health issues. After his speech was finished, I actually shook his hand and was awestruck by the fact that I had never seen a President or past President, for that matter, in real life. It was a moment I will never forget! The conference was a wonderful learning experience for me and I feel truly blessed that I had the opportunity to attend. Thank you to all the members who support the officers of the union and for allowing us to be part of the "BIG" picture.

Finally, the annual children's holiday party will be held on December 16 in the Union Hall. Enclosed in this newsletter is the registration form, which must be returned to me by no later than December 6. It really is the true meaning of the holiday to spend time with your children or grandchildren so I realliy hope to see all of you there!

In Union Solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor