Mike Kelly
Director of Education
Outlook July / August 2015
I hope everyone is having a great summer and you are able to use some of that hard earned annual leave, doing something enjoyable. One of the highlights on my own vacation was having the opportunity to attend the recent NALC Rap Session in Houston. There were workshop training sessions on a wide range of topics, conducted by some of our national officers, which were quite interesting.

National President Fred Rolando told all in attendance that the most important thing to deal with as letter carriers is the legislative arena. NALC’s political action committee’s name has been changed from COLCPE to The Letter Carriers Political Action Fund. The name change was made to make it more recognizable to our members and to increase participation. If you have not donated yet, now is the time to visit NALC.org and learn how you can help the union protect your future.

Whether you are a new CCA wanting to learn more about your rights, or a 30-year veteran looking for retirement information, visit www.NALC.org, and for a plethora of useful information, visit our own website at www.nylcbr36.org.

The NALC will soon conduct an officer election for the position of NALC Director of Retired Members. Ron Watson currently holds that position and has previously served as the Director of Workers Compensation of the NALC. Ron is running for reelection. Look for the ballots in the mail in mid-September, 2015, and be sure to return them by the beginning of October, 2015. Most importantly, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE. I am looking forward to seeing everyone at our next meeting.

Outlook March / April 2015
I am almost afraid to say that it looks like winter is finally over and once again letter carriers proudly lived up to the unofficial USPS motto, “Neither snow nor rain...”, and continued to provide first class service to our customers, snowstorm after snowstorm. Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to start preparing for the upcoming 23rd Annual Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, which begins on Saturday, May 9th, 2015.

I am extremely honored to have been asked by our Branch President Charlie Heege to co-chair this year’s food drive along with my highly motivated partner and co-chairperson, Karla Navas from Co-op Station. We are looking forward to visiting your stations and working with all of you to make this our most successful food drive ever. On our routes, there is a plethora of opportunities to get our residential and business customers involved in our great event.

I would like to commend the carriers and shop stewards from Manhattanville Station for standing together and giving Pat McNally what he needed to get an arbitration decision that will prevent an abusive supervisor from supervising letter carriers for at least two years. Great job by everyone involved with this case. The Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the workplace is a very powerful document that can be used to address abusive management at any level.

To all the CCA’s of this branch, I urge you to get involved with your union. You can start by attending the monthly membership meeting, which is held on the 2nd Thursday of every month, except for July and August. Please read the Outlook and Postal Record to stay informed on key issues.

Outlook January / February 2015
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good: The Postal Service reported a $1.1 billion operating profit during Quarter 1, of Fiscal year 2015. (October-December 2014) There was an increase in first class mail revenue along with increases in standard mail and parcel volume. Letter carriers can attest that the number of parcels delivered during this Holiday Season was off the charts. All of this was made possible, in large part by the dedication and hard work of letter carriers, who despite record setting amounts of snow this winter season were able to provide quality service to our customers.

The Bad: In spite of all of the above, the Obama Administration’s 2016 Budget Proposal for Fiscal year 2016, still believes that eliminating a day of mail delivery and ending door to door delivery for millions of business and residential customers are the only ways to save the Postal Service. These cuts in service defy all basic business logic; it is counterproductive and will push our customers into the open arms of our competitors.

The Ugly: Postal Management - Let me start at the top: goodbye, adios, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir to our former Postmaster General Donahoe. The best thing about him was his name, it made for a perfect rally slogan, “Donahoe, Must Go!” Our new PMG’s name is Megan Brennan; it’s not going to be easy to come up with a rally slogan for Brennan. I hope she has a different vision for the postal service of the future than her predecessor did.

I know that it can’t be just me who feels like they work in the worst run station in the entire postal service. Today’s managers and supervisors don’t give a damn about providing service to our customers. Mail is delayed and entire routes or portions of routes are not delivered on a daily basis. They falsify scans on parcels or instruct employees to do so. If they put the same amount of effort into properly doing their job, as they do to make it look like they do, the service we provide to our customers would be first class. The NY Postmaster should be embarrassed as should his Area Managers, Station Managers and Supervisors who partake and condone these actions.

How can we as letter carriers help protect our futures and continue to help make the postal service a fiscally strong and vibrant organization? We can continue to provide reliable mail service to our customers, follow the lead of our excellent union leaders, on both the national and local levels. Get involved, stay involved.

Outlook November / December 2014
Season’s Greetings. The Mid-Term Elections were held a little more than a month ago and it didn’t take our enemies in Washington very long to begin their attack on postal employees. Senator Ron Johnson (R) Wisconsin brought legislation to a vote that would allow the USPS to file for bankruptcy; which if passed, would void all contracts between the USPS and the unions. Fortunately, this legislation was not passed. Nevertheless, do not think this is the last we see of this type of legislation. Our wages and benefits will be under constant attack with the Republicans gaining control of the Senate and having a majority in the House. This should be the key motivator for the majority of our members who do not contribute to COLCPE or sign up as E-Activists. It’s time for them to join the fight and stop cuts in service and protect our jobs. It’s time to join the other members who have stood up and participated fully in all of the above things I mentioned.

As a regular on Facebook, I often read posts from postal employees concerning their working conditions, harassment from abusive supervisors, and their disdain towards the union for allowing it to happen. I just want to point out we have rules and regulations in place to protect us from unsafe working conditions and abusive management. Your union is here to protect your rights, but they need your cooperation to do so.

I was able to attend the recent, “Stop Delaying America’s Mail” rally. Our President, Charlie Heege, spoke at this rally along with leaders from the APWU and the Mailhandler’s Union about the proposed closures of more than 80 mail processing plants and how it would delay the mail.

Congratulations to the CCA’s who were recently converted to career employees.

Outlook September / October 2014
Changing the Guard
I would like to welcome all of the CCA’s that were hired over the past several months to the greatest branch in the NALC, the Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36. I look forward to seeing all of you at our branch membership meetings that take place on the 2nd Thursday of the month. A great way to stay informed on postal business would be by reading the branch bi-monthly newspaper, the Outlook, and NALC’s monthly publication, The Postal Record. If you are not receiving these publications, please call Tony Ortiz, the recording secretary for Branch 36. Make sure your correct address is on file.

Congratulations to the CCA’s that were converted to full time career employees; it has been a long journey. Many of you have endured threats of termination from abusive supervisors and managers for years. There has been a lot of negative stuff said about the Das award, most of it was concerning the reduction in pay for the CCA’s. There are, however, a plethora of positive gains that were made in this award. The Das award created a path to career employment; under our previous contract, a TE who was not one of management’s pets, or a runner, could be termin-ated at the end of his or her term for lack of work. Under our current contract, if management wanted to terminate a CCA for lack of work, it would have to be the junior CCA in the installation, and not the CCA on someone’s hit list.

We currently have a CCA that holds the position of shop steward in our branch, and there is a CCA holding the position of Branch President in another branch. I applaud them for stepping up and getting involved. I am hoping that many more of our CCA’s will do the same.

Outlook January / February 2014
Our Fight, Our Future
This edition of the Outlook has the list of stations that have made contributions to COLCPE during 2013, and the February edition of the Postal Record lists the names of individuals who contributed to COLCPE in 2013. Branch 36 represents seventy two stations and almost thirty six hundred active letter carriers, about twenty stations contributed thus far, and close to nine hundred carriers have made contributions.

As a shop steward, I know how challenging it can be to collect COLCPE, but we were all elected because the carriers in our stations trusted us to protect their future. Educating our members on the importance of COLCPE is one step towards that goal.

You can learn more about COLCPE on the NALC website and the various ways to contribute.

If you read the Outlook or the Postal Record you know that postal management along with members of congress and the senate are trying to dismantle the postal service and eliminate or reduce many of the benefits that were gained by the 1970 strike. The NALC’s Legislative Department is second to none; and our national and local officers are quick to respond to all threats that disturb the wellbeing of letter carriers, but they cannot do it alone. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Branch 36 President Charlie Heege is asking for only twenty six dollars a year from every letter carrier for COLCPE. That is one dollar per pay period. NALC President Emeritus Vincent Sombrotto often said that he would not have been able to accomplish the things he did if it were not for the support he had from the membership. Just imagine how much this union could accomplish if every member supported COLCPE. Please send back the raffle tickets you received: the proceeds from this raffle fund the eyeglass and scholarship programs.

Outlook November / December 2013
Welcome to all the new shop stewards and thank you for stepping up to protect the rights of the letter carriers in your station. Some of you may have already learned about the many challenges that come with this position.

As new stewards, it is important that you understand not only what your duties and responsibilities are, but what your rights are. At our October shop steward meeting, our national business agent Larry Cirelli spoke about becoming familiar with articles 15, 16, 17, 31 and 41 of our National Agreement; these articles are a great place to start. I would also suggest you become familiar with your Local Memorandum of Understanding.

One of the keys to becoming a good steward is to communicate with the members in your station. After attending a union meeting, have a meeting with your members and share this information with them. Also, find out what their concerns are and address these at your monthly Labor/Management meetings.

At our November membership meeting, Branch President Charlie Heege presented Evelyn Clark, a carrier from Church Street Station, with a Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 Hero award. Mrs. Clark, while delivering mail on a Saturday, came across a customer who was in need of medical assistance and she called 911 and remained with the customer until help arrived. The words spoken by Mrs. Clark after receiving this award made her my hero.

As I was writing this article, I was made aware of the passing of President Emeritus Frank Orapello. My condolences go out to his wife Rosemary and his family. I was always amazed at how Frank, while serving as Branch President, was able to remember so many names of the members he greeted at union functions. May he rest in peace.

Outlook May / June 2013
Job Protection
As branch scribe, I have written several branch items that have addressed the lack of participation from the membership of this branch when the issues relate to donating to COLCPE, becoming an E-Activist, attending rallies, attending
branch meetings and participating in the Customer Connect Program. These are all part of what I would like to call the "Job Protection Program."

When I came into the Postal Service in 1987, there was a plethora of mail on every route. I was working six days a week, ten to twelve hours per day and the words, "Be back by five." were not part of my supervisor's vocabulary. I gave to COLCPE when the shop stewards came around, made an occasional union meeting when they asked me to and attended several rallies. Every now and then, the word would be heard, but I never worried about my future or the future of the Postal Service.

My, how things have changed! The growth of the internet, the pre-funding requirement that began in 2007 along with the financial collapse of 2008-2009, the decline in mail volume, and the shocking activities of the Postmaster General and his cronies in Washington are trying to dismantle the Postal Service by eliminating Saturday mail delivery and closing post offices. If there was ever a time for every member of this branch to join the Job Protection Program, this is the time.

For those of you who are already part of the program, I am asking you to get the carrier on the route next to yours involved, as well as your family and friends. There can be no more spectators. It's time for everyone to get into the game. I have saved our most important ally for last, meaning our postal customers. I hope to see all of you on June 23, 2013, at Vinny's Walk for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Outlook March / April 2013

I would like to thank Branch 36 President Charlie Heege and all the officers for giving me this opportunity to be the Director of Education for Branch 36 and for their support during the recent Branch 36 elections

I also especially want to thank all the members of this branch that were able to participate in our rally to "Save Saturday Mail Delivery" that was held on Sunday, March 24th. We had a fantastic crowd of over a thousand people that consisted of our members, their families and people from the communities we proudly serve. I would also like to thank all the branches that were in attendance and for the energy and enthusiasm they demonstrated.

Branch 36 President Charlie Heege, along with Jonathan Smith, the president of New York Metro Area Postal Union of the APWU and Willie Delgado, the Local 300, NYC Branch President of the NPMHU who, along with their members, brought to life words like, "We Are One," "Solidarity," and "An Injury To One Is An Injury To All."

Once again the NALC has shown how its political and legislative activism is advantageous. Several members of Congress spoke at our rally, a representative from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's office and numerous local elected officials and community organizations. We made our message loud and clear to our elected officials and to Postmaster General Donohue, "5 Days No Way, 6 Days Is The Only Way."

However, our fight is not over yet. Our enemies are regrouping and are planning another attack on Saturday mail delivery; Senator T. Coburn (R.-Okla.) and Rep. D. Issa, (R. Calif.) have advised the U.S.P.S. Board of Governors to move forward with their plan to end six-day delivery. If you want to stay informed, go to www.nalc.org and become an E-activist.

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