by Lindamarie Peabody

With a 10.2 percent unemployment rate all over the country, can you believe that APWU-represented employees will be receiving a 1.2 percent raise on November 21?! Wow, that just blows my mind how fortunate we are to have a contract until 2010. Until November of next year, we will not experience layoffs and our paychecks will still come every TWO weeks. On September 21, the APWU negotiated with management that retirement counseling can be done on the clock with your spouse present if you so desire. Also, the Senate approved 68-29 that after January 1, 2014, FERS employees can get reimbursed 100 percent of their unused sick leave, provided that Obama will sign it into law, which is expected to happen soon! That's the good news. The bad news is that the Post Office seems to be excessing clerks out of every facility with no place to go. They also have slated 371 possible sites to close across the country. If your station or branch is up for closure, the national union has appointed Mike Morris (National Assistant Clerk Craft Director) to assist you in the political fight to keep it open. The national APWU Web Site has many ideas on letter writing and how to get the public involved. Your local union officers have been writing letters to whoever will listen to try and stop these closures, but we need your help! Everyone must unite and contact their representatives. You can do this with e-mail by getting on the national APWU web site to search for the appropriate representatives for your area. When you do, your letter should include three main topics. One is that we do NOT support Senate bill S1507 to use the Post Office's financial state to determine our salaries. If this bill passes, we will not get any raises for a very, very long time. Two, we do NOT want our health benefits taxed at any cost and we support a public option to foster healthy competition among insurance companies, which will ultimately result in lower costs for us as individuals. Also, we want employers to pay their fair share of the health care costs. Three, five day delivery will be devastating to the Post Office and closures will only result in reduced revenue for the Post Office, as well as inconveniencing our customers. It will result in many jobs being lost and will open the doors for privatization, as other companies will try to take over that lost work day for their own profit. Please don't think that these issues won't happen, because if we as postal workers do nothing to stop it, we get what we deserve. Take the time to get involved now or it will be too late!

In other news, we will be having the Tri-County Annual Children's Holiday Party on December 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a registration form in this issue to return to the union by December 7. The event will be catered for children and adults who come, and each REGISTERED child will receive a special gift from our special visitor! I'm really excited this year because we received permission from President Mark to finally have the party in the large meeting room! No more sitting on each other's lap or trying to maneuver around the tiny office!!!!! Do bring your children and educate them about what the union means to you and to your life. We need to bring the future generations in on what has kept us working, getting paid and being protected. If we don't do it, they will never learn the importance of the Union!

I would like to wish all of my fellow officers, co-workers and APWU members a Happy Thanksgiving and very Merry Christmas!

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor