NOVEMBER 2004 PRESIDENT'S REPORT

by Mark Hennessy

Election Aftermath...

Even prior to the election, the writing was on the wall. President Bush nominated a new Postal Board Governor (News Bulletin, October 15, 2004): Carolyn L. Gallagher, who was the chairwoman of the Workforce Subcommittee of the President's Commission on the United States Postal Service. Some of the recommendations were to create a Postal Regulatory Board that would:

  • Determine "COMPARABILITY" of postal pay (our wages) to private sector pay and eliminate "Postal Premium."
  • Require Unions to bargain for federal pensions and healthcare benefits which are currently guaranteed by law;
  • Consider severing postal workers from federal and healthcare programs;
  • Make changes for contract negotiations and limit the right of injured postal workers

This, as President Burrus has said, is "Bad News" for Postal Workers in 2005 and beyond.

To our members - Now is the time to gear up for the fight. Make your commitment to your Union for your support when it is asked for. COPA dollars, writing letters, calling Congress, be ready to get on the bus to Washington when we will have to show our opposition to this administration when they once again try to privatize the USPS. It is your job - your livelihood for your family - protect it, fight for it.

A Wake Up Call Is Needed...

Are you following the plight of the major airlines? U.S. Air, Delta, United, American? Billion $ companies threatening bankruptcy if their UNION represented employees (pilots, machinists, terminal clerks and flight attendants) do not make concessions to (as they claim) keep the company afloat. I wonder how much these CEO's, board members and stockholders are taking in cuts? Probably $0. It's always on the workers, the ones who actually make the company run and make it a competitive company in the airline industry. It is incredible to say to them - you are overpaid. These people are entrusted to the lives of millions - you and I. My personal opinion is they could never pay them enough to do the job they do.

The same would be true of our military personnel.

Where does the problem exist? GREED AT THE TOP, CORPORATE AMERICA WANTS ONLY - THE RICH - THE POOR. THERE IS NO MIDDLE CLASS. When are the workers in every profession going to get the wake up call? Wal-Mart comes in - boom, out goes every small business. They undercut every competitor as they compete against every other retail store - appliances, TV, computers, clothing, shoes, automotive, you name it. Is this fair competition? Wages - minimum, bias - rampant among classes of workers, benefits low if any. They are even trying to buy out their only big competitor, B.J.'s. And - they despise unions, workers rights and are one of the largest contributors to - the Republican Party. Where are they based? Where else but hiding in Arkansas, the notorious "Right to Work" state where you have that big over the road trucking company. It's a wonder anti-union (non-union) Coor's Beer isn't there.

Yes, a wake-up call is needed. Starting with our own APWU members who allow over 75,000 postal workers to be non-union. Do they really think the USPS is going to continue giving us the benefits - wages - NO LAY-OFF Clause THE UNION HAS BARGAINED for them? A scab is a scab, a thief, stealing what others share - UNION. Without union what do you really think you are going to have?

Moral here is a wake-up call - talk to, sign up that non-member. This contract ends next year. Will we have a Union to fight for us? To keep those benefits we enjoy, but apparently do not appreciate.

PTF'S

All PTF's in the Tri County Area Local were mailed a letter of explanation and a copy of the APWU and USPS agreement on PTF's moving around to other offices other than their own to supplement their hours when there is no work in your home office.

There are quite a few offices that are desperately in need of help due to the recent retirements, vacations, etc., straining the full time regulars at offices filling the USPS reluctance to hire career (PTF's) or even T/E's or Casuals.

The APWU has all offices with full-time vacancies (residual) filing grievances to have PTF's promoted to full-time status. The USPS is hiding under Article 12 excessing, holding all vacancies for the 2006 opening of the new Philadelphia processing and distribution center being constructed. The APWU contends in that length of time, attrition should even out any excessing from the new Philadelphia GMF, P/D, therefore PTF's should be promoted where there are residual vacancies. Tri County has successfully arbitrated pending conversions and awaits scheduling of additional offices with conversion to full time status in the system.

Offices with successful conversions:

  • Broomall - 2
  • Lansdowne - 3
  • Woodlyn - 1
  • Media - Still negotiating actual number

Waiting schedule date to be heard in arbitration:

  • Collegeville
  • Norristown
  • Phoenixville
  • Drexel Hill
  • Clifton Heights

Also, the APWU is waiting for the National Level Award to be rendered on the Article 1.6B case whereby USPS managers/postmasters in small offices should be restrained from working more than three hours per office day, where they are cutting out full-time regular positions and reducing PTF hours and even in many offices hiring PMR's (Postmaster Relief) and they're using those hired as Casuals, which is prohibited, as they are just what the position says - relief - which, interpreted, means replacement when they are not available or for their scheduled day off.

Another problem arising is using rural carriers and PTF, and even F.T. Regular carriers doing clerk work. This has to stop. This award will clarify the use of PM's under the 1.6B Article of the National Agreement. If you have or know of this problem in any of the Tri County Area Local offices - notify this office immediately.

1.6B cases pending outcome of this award in Tri County where we have cases filed and on hold waiting the decision are: Edgmont, Furlong, Landenberg, Chadds Ford, and Concordville.

The U.S. Department of Labor

The Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) has recently concluded an on-site audit of the Tri County Area Local financial status for the year 2003. All records were found to be in order and the local is in compliance with all U.S. Department of Labor Laws and regulations as administered by the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service and National APWU.

This reflects on the local administration for their fiscal discipline and cooperation under these guidelines and teh Tri County Area Local Constitution and By-Laws. Thanks, and a job well done by Financial Treasurer John Patterson and the officers of the local, for their dedication and work for the members.

In Unionism,

Mark Hennessy
President