by Lindamarie Peabody

Last month I had the great opportunity to attend the PA Educational Caucus and serve as a delegate to the PA 19th Biennial State Convention. It was great to touch base with the National/State Officers and learn about what union activities are going on throughout the state and nationally. The National Officers spoke mostly about how the Post Office is going to downsize us right out of business. They explained that our national contract can only protect us so much, but that the most important thing right now is on the legislative side. We need to start thinking like a business and realize that politics play a vital role in our future by passing legislation that can limit the Post Office Managers devastation on our workforce. Now is the time to be proactive about our future employment in every area possible. We must vote for pro-labor candidates (in my opinion mostly Democrats) in November and take the White House back! We must give money to COPA to help the National Union influence our politicians to support working family legislation. Finally, we must make a national grass roots effort to let the public know that the Postal Service Bigwigs are trying to dismantle the entire Post Office and diminish service to all. Now again is a call to action to help prepare all union members for a fight like never before. The best way to do this is to EDUCATE yourself. Read the newsletters, go online to the APWU web site or check out the NEW Tri-County Area Local web site (www.triapwu.org). Both of these sites can give you a lot of information that will help you realize how important each of you are now and in the future to help save your own jobs!

Here are some of the hot topics that were covered in the Caucus and State Convention that you should all be aware of:


The Department of Labor is trying to impose regressive restrictions and rules that will limit our ability to use it when we need it and give greater power to the supervisors to pry into our private medical information. Check out Page 12 in this newsletter for more specifics. (Web users: Visit the Legislative Director's page on this site).

H.R. 4236, The Mail Network Protection Act

The Mail Network Protection Act is a new piece of proposed legislation that will force the USPS to negotiate with Postal Unions whenever it decides that it wants to contract out bargaining unit work. This is monumental in scope and must be passed if we hope to keep our union high paying jobs. Every day the post office is thinking up new ways to lower costs and their focus is on the workers. Soon they will contract out most of our work and there will be nothing left for us to do. We have to let our reps in Washington know we want this bill and will not stand for it anymore.

Free Choice Act

Another key piece of legislation that allows for unions to be joined or formed without negative attacks by management, this bill allows for workers to join a union without the fear of being retaliated against for doing so. It would help to make all unions stronger and increase working families' rights to earn a LIVING wage. It would also take back some of the FAT CAT bosses huge earnings and distribute some of the wealth amongst us all. Include this in the letter I know all of you are going to write to your Representatives in Washington when you are finished reading this newsletter! Let Washington know we are serious and intend to see this through to the end!

Window Employees

OK- THIS IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE RIGHT NOW! The USPS wants to cut over 9,000 jobs in the next two years! The main topic in my Function 4 EXCESSING class was that window employees work hard but do not EARN the time on their machines due to their own laziness of entering transactions or our desperate need to get the line down. You need to know your inability to enter every transaction or hurry through customers is helping management to ELIMINATE your position! There...I've said it! WAKE UP PEOPLE! Management does NOT care about performance anymore. Their objective is to lower costs at any price! There will be no more on-site Function 4 audits of window operations. Function 4 teams will pull the data from the Back Office from your machine, see what you entered and determine if your job is needed...PERIOD! They don't know or care if you gave directions, helped forty customers fill out forms or wrapped eighty items to be shipped. THEY ONLY LOOK AT THE DATA!!!! EVERY clerk must enter EVERY transaction EVERY time! Each item must be scanned INDIVIDUALLY as often as is POSSIBLE! Don't go over ten line items or your machine will label the transaction as an "EXCEPTIONAL TRANSACTION" and will not count toward future staffing needs. Use your NON-REVENUE key EVERY time you help a customer do something that does not produce revenue. If you can't find exactly what you did on the list of non-revenue transactions, then use #18 (Other).

If you do things such as write certifieds or mark up mail between customers use the #other key when doing so. Also, keep in mind that the POS works in half hour increments. If for example you sign in at 10:29 you count for the entire half hour between 10am-10:30am. If you only have one minute to contribute to that half hour you can't possibly add revenue to that time frame and management says your job is NOT needed anymore. GET THE PICTURE? Also, when relieving a person for lunch make sure that person is completely signed out before you sign in or else we have two clerks working with no revenue therefore we lose two jobs! Be smart and don't let management use our own faults against us to help us lose our jobs. Get what you deserve for your hard work and give managers the true picture of what being a window clerk really entails. If the managers give you a hard time explain to them that it is in their best interests to do this because it saves them from being short handed and will ultimately lower customer complaints because you will use your window time more efficiently. Lastly, remember to always use correct clock rings for whatever operation you are doing. Box mail is 769, distribution 241 and window is 568. Use these even if you change fifty times a day, because it is the only way to prove that you have an eight hour job everyday. Don't let management cut your jobs out of pure laziness!!!!!!!!! Get credit for your work or really you will have nothing to say with the PINK slip comes. These small changes in the way we work will be so helpful to the union when we are fighting to save YOUR jobs!

These are just some of the hot topics circulating in the Union circles. Please use information wisely and spread the news to all of your coworkers. Each one of us can make a difference if we try to do the right thing. If any of you window clerks need help call me at (610) 566-2237 and I will visit your office to show you how to enter each and every transaction correctly. Remember...the job you save may be your own!

****One final note to AJ (President EMCAL) and our State Officers...I am so proud of you all that you took the hard road and moved the convention to a labor friendly hotel. It took courage, strength and the true belief that all the Unions will stand firmly in their commitment to support one another. It really helped to reaffirm my commitment to the Union and help me remember why I do what I do. The convention was awesome and no one ever would have known it was supposed to be anywhere else! Thank you again and Good Luck with all the legal issues. If you need anything let us know, we will always support you guys!

In Union Solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor