Sonny Guadalupe
Compensation Officer
Outlook May / June 2017
Mishandled Claims
In the recent past, I have been made aware that claims for compensation are not being properly filed by the postal service. In some cases, management has stated that there are no forms available, they don’t know how or what to do with the form once it has been submitted, or that they have no time and will forward the form at a later date. Last week, a carrier sustained an injury and the supervisor was insistent upon issuing the wrong form. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

Unfortunately, the list of excuses I’ve heard is much longer than these few examples. In my last article, I included language found in the Postal Handbook EL- 505 and felt the need to add it to this one. It reads:

HBK EL-505 INJURY COMPENSATION, DECEMBER 1995
THE USPS INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM
16
Penalty for Refusal to Process Claim
Any employee or supervisor responsible for making reports in connection with an Injury who willfully fails, neglects or refuses to do so; induces, compels, or directs an injured employee to forego a claim; or willfully retains any notice, report, or paper required in connection with an injury may be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or 1 year in prison, or both. (2- CFR 10.23)
I urge you to save a copy of this on your route, tape it to your locker or post it on the NALC bulletin board at the station. A claim for compensation can get complicated enough without management’s help (hope you noticed the sarcasm).
In any case, if you get hurt on the job notify a supervisor or manager immediately and ask for the proper form. Do not accept excuses and, if need be, show them a copy of the language. I would be surprised if the claim is mishandled by local management after that.
Until next time, work safely and enjoy your summer!
Outlook March / April 2017
Refusing to Process a Claim
The postal service has certain obligations involving the filing of a claim for compensation for a work-related injury. This is true for a traumatic injury and an occupational disease. Management does not have the authority to deny a claim, or deny your right to file a claim. The authority to accept or deny the claim rests solely with the Department of Labor. Other than the right to controvert a claim, management’s role in OWCP cases is very limited.

There have been instances where a request of a Form CA-1 for a traumatic injury or a CA-2 for an occupational disease has been denied by supervisors. This is not only a violation of the postal service’s own rules and regulations, but in certain circumstances can also be a violation of federal law. Below you will find language found in postal Handbook EL-505, wherein states the possible penalties management faces for denying or delaying the processing of a claim for compensation.

HBK EL-505, INJURY COMPENSATION, DECEMBER 1995
THE USPS INJURY COMPENSATION PROGRAM
16 - Penalty for Refusal to Process Claim
Any employee or supervisor responsible for making reports in connection with an injury who willfully fails, neglects, or refuses to do so; induces, compels, or directs an injured employee to forego filing a claim; or willfully retains any notice, report, or paper required in connection with an injury may be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or 1 year in prison, or both. (20 CFR 10.23)

This language should be cited if and when the postal service, by way of a manager or supervisor, fails to properly process a claim. Without giving specifics, I can tell you that when the gravity of failing to process a claim has been brought to management’s attention, immediate action is not far behind.

I remind you that laws, rules and regulations are only effective if applied.

Outlook November / December 2016
CCA’s Filing for Compensation
Can a CCA file a claim for compensation although he/she is not a career employee? The answer is YES! The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) does not preclude CCA’s from receiving compensation due to an on-the-job injury. However, there are a few differences as to how the law is applied.

After filing a CA-1 and submitting a medical certification of temporary disability a regular carrier is paid at his/her base regular salary, less taxes. The Labor Department calculates a CCA’s pay rate by adding all wages earned for the 12 months preceding the injury, less overtime, and dividing by 52 weeks. The result is what OWCP determines to be the weekly salary of the CCA.

Also, if a CCA is entitled to COP but his/her furlough interrupts the 45 calendar day, COP ends on the last day before the furlough and the balance of the 45 days is forfeit. The CCA goes on leave-without-pay immediately following the furlough and OWCP begins to pay after the claim is accepted.

A CCA who partially recovers from an accepted claim and can return to work with limitations is also entitled to limited duty work. However, the guaranteed hours are calculated by dividing the hours worked on a weekly basis less overtime for the 12 months preceding the injury by 52 weeks. So if the CCA averaged 37 hours per week but can only work 20 hours per week, the labor department will pay the balance of 17 hours.

As you probably can tell by now, this can be complicated. Fortunately, assistance is available for all carriers who are active members in our union.

Until next time, work safely. If you sustain an injury while working, report it as soon as possible. Enjoy the upcoming holiday season

Outlook September / October 2016
Responding to Deficiencies in Claim
In past articles, I have written about filing claims for compensation and the requirements that must be met in order for the claim to be accepted. I will now go over certain specific responses that a claimant may receive from the Labor Department after the initial claim has been submitted. The following is a hypothetical situation and for identification purposes I will call the claimant Joe.

Joe slipped on a broken step, in one of the buildings on his route, and sprained his ankle. He notified his immediate supervisor and was subsequently taken to the Emergency Room. At the hospital, Joe was examined by a doctor and x-rays were taken of his ankle. The x-rays were negative for broken bones. He was released and given instructions to stay off his feet for a couple of days and to follow-up with his personal physician. Joe saw his primary doctor, who scheduled him for more tests. His next appointment was two weeks later and his doctor wanted him to stay home until then.

Joe filed a claim for compensation within the time limits and submitted medical documentation from the Emergency Room, including the x-ray results and the note from his primary doctor directing him to stay at home for 14 days, until more tests could be done on the ankle.

Under these circumstances, a common response from the Labor Department would state something similar to this: “This office has received your claim for compensation and has found deficiencies in the claim. Through your physician, please supply dates of examinations and treatments, detailed descriptions of findings, a diagnosed condition, opinions supported by a medical explanation as to how the reported work incident caused the diagnosed condition.”

At first glance, it may seem clear that Joe suffered a sprained ankle as a result of him slipping on the broken step, and the medical evidence submitted thus far, should be sufficient to get the claim accepted. But to the Labor Department, all of the five elements required have not been met.

Specifically, the x-rays taken at the hospital only showed that no bones were broken. Joe’s treating physician provided a note to keep him out of work, but did not include a diagnosed condition. The doctor also failed to explain, using medical rationale, how Joe slipping on the step caused a diagnosed condition. At this point, the Labor Department will give Joe 30 days, from the date of the letter, to submit the information requested. Failure to do so could delay the claim for months. In general, if any new evidence is submitted within 30 days of a response from the Labor Department, the claimant should ask for a “Review of the Written Record.” A request for “Reconsideration” should accompany any new documents sent after the 30 days.

As always, contact your shop steward or call me at the branch if you are not certain how to proceed with a claim for compensation. Until next time, work safely.

Outlook July / August 2016
Fact of Injury Issues
In past articles l have written about the five criteria that must be met before OWCP accepts a claim for compensation. Although the lack of medical evidence to support the “causal relationship” of an injury is the most common reason for the denial of a claim, there has been an increase in denials due to the “fact of injury” component of the claim.

The fact of injury is broken down into two parts: an explanation of what led to the injury and a diagnosed condition. While the diagnosed condition is provided by the attending physician, the description of what led to the injury is the responsibility of the injured carrier. There are areas on both the CA-1 and the CA-2 forms where this can be written.

It is also important that you tell your doctor how you got hurt. Be as specific as possible. This will make it easier for your physician to make the connection between what caused the injury and the diagnosed condition, also known as the causal relationship.

You should also inform your doctor of any previous injury, if any, to the same part of the body. There have been numerous denials due to the fact that previous injuries were not reported and the Labor Department concluded that the physician did not consider them when describing the causal relationship component of the claim. Your doctor must address all previous injuries when writing his/her opinion of how the reported accident caused the current condition.

In the meantime, have a great summer and work safely.

Outlook March / April 2016
CCA’s Injured on Duty
I have received numerous calls from City Carrier Assistants who have sustained an on-the-job injury with questions about their rights to file a claim for compensation. It appears that there is a misconception about their entitlement to compensation either because of their status as CCA’s or the fact that they may have not passed the probationaiy period. There has been at least one instance where a CCA did not file a claim because she was told that she would be terminated if she did so.

The following is a brief description of the entitlement:
Eligibility - Under the provisions of the Postal Reorganization Act, 39 U.S.C. 1005 (c), all employees of the USPS are covered by FECA. This coverage extends to all full-time, part-time, and temporary (including casual and transitional) employees, regardless of the length of time on the job or the type of position held. (Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual (FECA PM) 2-802)

It is also a violation of the Act to terminate any employee, including CCA’s, merely for having filed a claim for compensation. A summary of the penalty can be found in the Employee Labor Manual. Section 542.33 in the ELM reads as follows:
ELM 542.33 Penalty for Refusal to Process Claim - Any employee or supervisor responsible for making reports in connection with an injury who willfully fails, neglects, or refuses to do so; induces, compels, or directs an injured employee to forego filing a claim; or willfully retains any notice, report, or paper required in connection with an injury may be subject to a fine of not more than $500 or 1 year in prison, or both.

The regulations regarding compensation are governed by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Postal Service is bound by them. The Postal Service is obligated to abide by these regulations from the floor supervisor to the Manager of Health and Resource Management, formerly known as injury control. Any issues that may arise following the filing of a claim should be brought to the attention of your shop steward immediately. If a steward is not available, call the branch as soon as possible.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the membership for reelecting the Executive Board, which includes the part-time officers, of the Vincent R. Sombrotto NALC Branch 36 Union. As your Director of Compensation Claims, I will do my utmost to assist any carrier union member with their claim. Thanks again and until next time, work safely.

Outlook January / February 2016

Filing Late Claims

Although there are a number of legitimate reasons for a delay in filing a claim for compensation, I strongly suggest that delays be avoided. Under normal circumstances, traumatic injuries should be reported immediately. Occupational diseases should be filed as soon as a determination is reached that the condition is work related.

It is common for a carrier to suffer an injury while working and think nothing of it until later. When this happens it gives the postal service an opportunity to controvert the claim, often stating that they do not believe the injury occurred as reported. This can cause delays in getting the claim accepted by the labor department.

It is understandable that an injured carrier does not immediately file a claim for what may appear to be something minor but it is still important that you notify a supervisor or manager of an injury. Even though it is agency generated, I have seen a form that is used to inform management of an on-the-job injury where the carrier does not wish to file a claim at that point, but does not waive their right to file a claim afterwards. The carrier should ask for a copy if this form is used. This satisfies the notification requirement for filing a claim for compensation and a copy should be included if a claim is ultimately submitted along with other supporting documentation of the injury.

If you sustain an injury but do not want to file a claim immediately, and this form is not available, make sure to notify management in writing and have someone witness it. Too many carriers have trusted their supervisors only to find out that they “do not recall”, or worse, that they were never informed at all.

The rule of thumb should always be better safe than sorry. This is why my advice is to notify management of an injury in writing while considering if a claim needs to be filed or not. Until next time, work safely.

Outlook November / December 2015
Leave Buy-Back
Often times, there is a gap between the time an injured carrier files a claim for compensation and the claim is approved. During this period, the claimant can elect to use annual or sick leave. Any leave used during the initial 45 calendar period after the injury is generally changed to Continuation of Payment (COP). It should be noted that you do not receive 45 days of pay. However, you do receive pay (COP) for the days you would have worked within those 45 calendar days.

The specialist assigned to the claim sends a letter to the claimant before the 45 days are up, usually around a week before the period has expired. The letter includes the date of the 45th day and gives the claimant an option of using either Annual or Sick Leave, or Leave With ¬Out Pay (LWOP) until the claim is approved by OWCP. This leave can be bought back by electing to do so, on OWCP Forms CA-7a and CA-7b.

There are a few things to consider at this point. The Postal Service pays leave at 100% of your current salary, less- deductions (i.e. union dues, allotments to credit unions, supplemental insurance, etc.). However, the Labor Department pay is either 75% or 66.6% of your salary. This is based on whether or not you have dependents. The payments are also tax-free and will only have health and life insurance deducted. This is where it can be a bit confusing.

The first thing to consider is whether you want to buy back the leave, it is optional. The next thing to consider is that there will be an out of pocket expense to repurchase the leave. This is due to the difference between the percentage at which the postal service pays leave and the percentage OWCP pays lost wages.

To make it easier to understand, I will use round figures. Let’s assume that the amount of leave used equaled $1,000.00. If the claimant chose to buy back this leave and had at least one dependent, the labor department would issue a check to the postal service in the amount of $750.00 (75%) and out of pocket expense would be $250.00 to restore the leave used. If the claimant chose to buy back the same amount of leave but had no dependents, OWCP would submit a check for $666.66 (66%) and the balance would be paid by the claimant to restore the leave used.

In either case, the postal service will send the claimant a Form CAQ-7b that will show the amount the claimant must pay to restore the leave intended to be repurchased. It is at this point that the injured carrier must elect whether or not to buy back the leave.

It is also important to note that the only leave that can be repurchased is leave that was used after the 45 day COP entitlement and the date on which the claim was approved. Any leave used after the approval date is generally forfeited. There is also a time limit to consider.

You have up to one year after the claim is accepted or one year from the date you return to work, whichever is later, to buy back the leave.

Until next time, work safely and I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

Outlook September / October 2015
Causal Relationship
As my faithful followers (LOL) know by now, there are five requirements that must be met before OWCP accepts a claim for compensation.
  • They are as follows:
    1. Timely Claim
    2. Federal Employee
    3. Fact of Injury
    4. Performance of Duty
    5. Causal Relationship

Of the five components, the single most reason for the denial of claims has been the failure to satisfy the causal relationship between the fact of injury (diagnosed condition) and the work condition that caused the condition. Simply put, it is an explanation of how one thing led to another. It is completely reliant upon a well written report submitted by the attending physician. The doctor’s opinion as to the cause and effect of the claimed injury must include medical rationale. For some reason, too many doctors find it difficult to accomplish this, when in actuality, it is fairly simple.

Let’s consider the following scenario:
A letter carrier, Bill, was struck on the wrist by a panel while closing it after having delivered the mail. Bill reported the accident and was taken to the Emergency Room where an x-ray was performed. The impact resulted in a fracture of the wrist, which was diagnosed after a review of the report. Bill files a claim for compensation. So far, the first five components of a successful claim have been satisfied: A timely claim was filed; Bill is a federal employee; fact of injury exists (diagnosed wrist fracture based on an x-ray); the injury was sustained while performing his employment duties. However, the attending physician’s report simply states that the fracture was a direct result of having been struck by the panel.

Bill receives a letter of denial for compensation from OWCP because causal relationship was not proven. He shows the letter to the doctor who cannot understand how or why the Labor Department failed to see the connection. The doctor is unsure of what else can be done. Bill, on the other hand, asks the doctor to explain to him “how” being struck on the wrist by the panel resulted in the fracture. The doctor describes in detail and using medical terminology and medical rationale, how one thing led to another. After the doctor is finished Bill asks him to write down what he just said. Eureka, causal relationship has now been established.

One final, very important point - the doctor’s report must not include words or phrases such as: probably, maybe, possibly, more than likely, etc. The Labor Department requires conclusive, unambiguous connections between the injury and what caused the injury in order to accept a claim for compensation.

As always, work safely!

Outlook July / August 2015
COP Entitlement Violations
The Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) entitles a letter carrier who sustains an on-the-job injury to compensation benefits. Included within the FECA is the right to Continuation of Pay (COP) from the postal service. The requirements for COP are:
• Sustain a traumatic on-the-job injury, which is work related and causes a disability to work.
• File a Form CA-1 within 30 days of the traumatic injury (COP requested)
• Submit medical evidence supporting disability resulting from the traumatic injury, which includes a possible date the employee can return to work, within 10 days of the injury.
• Begin losing time from work due to the injury within 45 days.
Although this language is found in the FECA and USPS EL 505 Section 3.1, COP is frequently not paid.

The Branch was successful in getting the manager of Human Resources to send a memo to all the managers and supervisors explaining the right to COP. The manager of Health and Resource Management has sent a memo automatically authorizing COP for up to 10 days. Numerous grievances have been filed and sustained. As a result the postal service was compliant for some time; but it appears local management is again failing in their obligations to injured workers. That being said, it is crucial that you are aware of your rights.

If you sustain a traumatic injury while performing your duties as a letter carrier, report it to management and file a CA-1 as soon as practicable. Request a CA-16 (authorization of payment to a medical provider for up to 60 days) from a supervisor. If management violates your rights under the FECA law and contractual language, notify your shop steward immediately. Any delay can cause undue financial hardship and add insult to injury. In the meantime, work as safely as possible.

Outlook May / June 2015
CCA’s Filing Claims for Compensation
Filing a claim for compensation because of a work related injury can seem difficult enough for a career carrier. The paperwork involved and the requirements that must be met can be confusing. When you consider that a CCA employee may be intimidated by management, it is easy to understand how one such employee may be reluctant to file a claim for compensation. Let me assure you that CCA’s are covered by the FECA (Federal Employee Compensation Act) beginning the first day of employment, along with the same protections and benefits provided for Career Carriers by the Act.

A Career Carrier or CCA, who suffers an on-the-job injury should notify their immediate supervisor as soon as possible and file a CA-1. The form is readily available to any supervisor with access to a computer. If medical attention is necessary, also request a Form CA-16. This form authorizes payment to the physician or medical facility providing medical services.

To qualify for COP (Continuation of Payment) the employee must have filed a CA-1 within the first 30 days following the injury and be incapacitated to work, as supported by a physician’s certification, within the first 45 days of the injury.

All too often carriers sustain an injury and think nothing of it until later. A CCA may not want to file a claim at all for fear of losing their position. This can complicate matters if the postal service challenges the claim; so as a rule, file a claim as soon as possible. Federal Law prohibits threatening a CCA or a Career Carrier with discipline or termination for filing a compensation claim.

If you should suffer an on-the-job injury, contact your local shop steward after following the steps mentioned above for guidance or call the Branch office. I will be providing more information regarding compensation and CCA’s in future articles. Until then, work safely.

Keep in mind, assistance with compensation claims is only available to union members in good standing.

Outlook March / April 2015
Claims for Compensation- Which Form?
After sustaining an on-the-job injury it is important to file the proper form to avoid delays with the claim being processed by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP). Let’s briefly go over some of the more common claims for injuries while on duty.

To begin the process the injured carrier needs to submit one of the following forms. For an injury sustained on a specific date, time and place, the proper form is a CA-1 (Notice of Traumatic Injury). A CA-2 (Notice of Occupational Disease) should be submitted for injuries that occur over a period of time, more precisely on more than one tour of duty. Although these are the two most common claims for compensation there is a third that is often inappropriately filed. That is a CA-2A (Notice of Recurrence).

I’ve received calls where a carrier has sustained an injury in the same part of the body where the carrier had a previous injury and management has provided a CA-2A as the proper form. In most cases this is not a recurrence but in fact a new injury. The reasons why can be confusing; so if there is any question as to what form should be submitted, contact your shop steward or call the branch for guidance.

In an article written by Linda Temple for the Postal Record she defined a recurrence as:
1. Disability due to a spontaneous return of the symptoms of the employee’s accepted medical condition with no intervening cause.
2. Disability due to a consequential injury, which is a new injury caused a consequence of the original work-related injury.
3. Disability as a result of management’s withdrawal of limited duty.

The most common reason I have experienced for filing a CA-2A is for the withdrawal of limited duty. For example, an injured carrier has an accepted claim and has limited duty assignment of 8 hours per day, with restrictions, a CA-2A should be filed if management reduces the amount of hours the carrier is allowed to work. If this happens, the carrier should also document the withdrawal of the limited duty assignment. This can be achieved via a PS Form 3971. The carrier should fill out the 3971, write in the comment section that management has denied him/her 8 hours of work, take the balance of the day LWOP and keep a signed copy. In this example the recurrence is not due to a subsequent medical condition but rather by management’s withdrawal or reduction of work hours which result in a loss of wages.

If you are unfortunate enough to get hurt on the job report the injury as soon as possible to management and be certain that the proper form is filed with OWCP. If you are not sure contact your shop steward or call the branch. In the meantime work safely and be mindful of your surroundings both on and off the clock.

Outlook January / February 2015
Denial of Claim for Compensation
There are five specific criteria that must be met in order for a claim for compensation to be approved by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).

They are:
1. Time Limits - Qualify for C.O.P.
2. Civil Employee - CCA or Regular
3. Fact of Injury - Medical Documentation
4. Performance of Duty - on the clock, not during lunch
5. Causal Relationship - or, relates injury to job function

Although a claim for compensation can be filed up to 3 years after the injury, the Labor Department requires an acceptable explanation for any delay in filing. For a Traumatic Injury the proper form is a CA-1. The form should be filed as soon as possible following the injury. To qualify for Continuation of Pay (COP) the CA-1 must have been submitted within 30 days following the injury accompanied by a physician’s certification of disability. A physician’s assistant or a chiropractor is not considered a physician by the Labor Department.

The fact that the claimant is a Postal employee satisfies the second criteria, civil employee.

The fact of injury is supported by a diagnosed condition rendered by a physician after having performed a test or series of tests.

A carrier must have been in the performance of his or her duties when the injury occurred. This is one of the reasons why an injury should be reported as soon as possible. The postal service has frequently controverted claims due to the delay in informing management of the injury as well as a delay in filing of the claim for compensation.

The causal relationship is probably the most common reason why a claim is denied. A causal relationship is an explanation by a doctor, using medical rationale, as to how the injury resulted in the diagnosed condition. The opinion must be well reasoned using medical terminology and on the attending physician’s letterhead.

As with all claims for compensation, it is the responsibility of the claimant to ensure that all criteria are met and the required forms and documents are submitted within the time limits.

So if you are injured during the performance of your duties notify management as soon as possible and if filing a claim, do so within the time limits. If you need help you can contact the branch as long as you are an NALC Union member in good standing since assistance with compensation claims is only offered to union members. Also, if you have an active compensation claim and are receiving lost wage benefits from OWCP, there are no union dues being deducted from those benefits. You must make an effort to keep up-to-date with your union dues or risk not receiving guidance with what could be a complicated process.

Outlook May / June 2014
Limited Light Duty
A career letter carrier who cannot perform his/her duties due to an illness or injury can request light duty work. This request is covered under Article 13 of the National Agreement.

The term “Limited Duty” refers to a letter carrier recovering from a compensable injury or illness. This means that it was caused, accelerated or exacerbated by a working condition. Although limited duty is referenced in Article 13, the regulations are covered by the Federal Compensation Act (FECA) 5 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 353 and the ELM, Section 540.

Simply put, light duty involves a condition that is not job related. A request for light duty work must be done in writing and accompanied by a certification by a health care provider. The medical certificate must include the nature of the illness, specific physical restrictions and the probable return to regular duty status. Under the light duty guidelines management must make every effort to find work, within those restrictions, for the injured carrier. If management is unable to provide light duty work they are obligated to explain the reason/s why in writing.

In order for a request to be considered limited duty, not only must that condition be job related, a Form CA-1, CA-2 or CA-2A must be filed and accepted by the Office of Workers Compensations Program (OWCP). Another difference between light and limited duty is that there are no guaranteed hours for light duty with certain exceptions. However, an injured carrier, with an accepted claim for compensation, is entitled to 8 hours of pay either from the postal service or the labor department or a combination of both when the injured carrier cannot work an entire 8 hour tour of duty.

Temporary light duty policies and procedures can also be found on the Blue Pages at the Health and Resource Management web page for the New York District. If there is an issue with requests for light or limited duty, notify your shop steward immediately. As a reminder, the union dues for a letter carrier on compensation are the responsibilities of those individuals.

You must pay union dues direct to Branch 36. They are not withheld.

Outlook March / April 2014
Claims for Compensation - Which Form?
After sustaining an on-the-job injury it is important to file the proper form to avoid delays with the claim being processed by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP). Let’s briefly go over some of the more common claims for injuries while on duty.

To begin the process the injured carrier needs to submit one of the following forms. For an injury sustained on a specific date, time and place, the proper form is a CA-1 (Notice of Traumatic Injury). A CA-2 (Notice of Occupational Disease) should be submitted for injuries that occur over a period of time, more precisely on more than one tour of duty. Although these are the two most common claims for compensation there is a third that is often inappropriately filed. That is a CA-2A (Notice of Recurrence).

I’ve received calls where a carrier has sustained an injury in the same part of the body where the carrier had a previous injury and management has provided a CA-2A as the proper form. In most cases this is not a recurrence, but in fact a new injury. The reasons why can be confusing, so if there is any question as to what form should be submitted contact your shop steward or call the branch for guidance.

In an article written by Linda Temple for the Postal Record she defined a recurrence as:
1. Disability due to a spontaneous return of the symptoms of the employee’s accepted medical condition with no intervening cause.
2. Disability due to a consequential injury, which is a new injury caused a consequence of the original work-related injury.
3. Disability as a result of management’s withdrawal of limited duty.

The most common reason I have experienced for filing a CA-2A is for the withdrawal of limited duty. For example, an injured carrier has an accepted claim and has limited duty assignment of 8 hours per day, with restrictions, a CA-2A should be filed if management reduces the amount of hours the carrier is allowed to work. If this happens, the carrier should also document the withdrawal of the limited duty assignment. This can be achieved via a PS Form 3971. The carrier should fill out the 3971, write in the comment section that management has denied him/her 8 hours of work, take the balance of the day LWOP and keep a signed copy. In this example, the recurrence is not due to a subsequent medical condition, but rather by management’s withdrawal or reduction of work hours which result in a loss of wages.

If you are unfortunate enough to get hurt on the job report the injury as soon as possible to management and be certain that the proper form is filed with OWCP. If you are not sure contact your shop steward or call the branch. In the meantime, work safely and be mindful of your surroundings both on and off the clock.

Outlook November / December 2013
Filing a claim for compensation, following an on-the-job injury, can be a daunting task. Just ask anyone who has tried to do this on their own. There is the initial choice of the proper form to submit. Should you file a CA-1 for a traumatic injury, a CA-2 for an occupational disease or a CA-2a for a recurrence? When should a CA-7 claim for compensation for lost wages be filled out and to whom it should be handed? These are all legitimate questions.

It is not fair to expect that a carrier who has never suffered an on-the-job injury knows what to do. Here is a brief explanation of basic terms and the corresponding forms that should be understood. Keep in mind that filing the wrong forms can lead to delays in getting a claim processed.

  • CA-1 (Traumatic Injury) the injury occurred at a specific time, date and place while in the performance of your duties.
  • CA-2 (Occupational Disease) the injury was caused, accelerated or exacerbated by a job-related condition or conditions.
  • CA-7 (Claim for Compensation) filed for periods of LWOP related to the compensation claim. Generally submitted after the (COP) 45 calendar days following a ‘Traumatic Injury” when no paid leave is used. Also used for compensation for lost wages for any LWOP an “Occupational Disease” claim. If filing a CA-2 there is no entitlement to COP.

It’s worth repeating that if the proper form is not used for any or all of these incidents the processing of a claim can be delayed. As stated previously, these are basic definitions of certain claims and the forms associated with them. If you sustain a work-related injury contact your steward for assistance immediately after notifying management.

Recently I met with the manager of Health and Resource Management, Don Beete, to discuss issues involving compensation claims filed by some of our members. There have been a few instances where a carrier filed the wrong form or filled the form out incorrectly. In these cases the specialist in charge of the claimant returned the paper work with little or no assistance. This situation further delayed the processing of the claim.

After some discussion with Mr. Beete I was assured that part of the specialists’ responsibilities are to explain to the injured party what is wrong with the filed returned forms. So if you should submit a claim and it is returned without an explanation you should relate this to your steward immediately. Although there have been many cases where a grievance has been filed and a monetary award has been given to the claimant, I would much rather get the claim processed expeditiously so that any corrections that need to be made are made and the claims can be accepted by the Labor Department as soon as possible.

In the meantime enjoy your holiday season, work safely and avoid injuries when avoidable.

Outlook May / June 2013
Continuation of Pay
Although I have written several articles on the subject of COP, I think it important enough to go over some of the requirements for entitlement. It seems that the line supervisors, as well as the station managers, have their own ideas on the matter.

If you sustain a Traumatic Injury on the job the first thing that should be done is to notify management as soon as possible. A Form CA-1 needs to be obtained and filled out. The form is readily available on any computer on the work floor. You should also request a Form CA-16. The CA-1 is used to report the injury and the CA-16 authorizes emergency medical treatment.

Next, you will need to find a doctor that handles federal compensation claims. If your primary physician does not, maybe he or she can refer you to a doctor that does. There is a distinction between qualifying for COP and getting the claim accepted by the Labor Department.

In order to qualify for COP a CA-1 should be submitted within 30 days of the injury and item 15-A should be checked. That is your notification of opting to receive COP as opposed to using either annual or sick leave. And a medical certification stating your inability to work due to your on-the-job injury should be submitted within 10 days of the injury. These are the minimum requirements for COP.

There have been cases reported to me where management has stated that COP is only authorized after the claim has been accepted by the Labor Department. WRONG! And that you have to use either sick leave or annual leave for the first three days. This is not entirely incorrect. The three day waiting period is just that. If the next three days following the injury are regular scheduled work days then the answer is yes. However, if the injury is sustained on a Thursday and you have the next three days off then you are not required to use any leave and the COP begins the next scheduled workday.

If the injury is such that you cannot work for a minimum of fourteen days then any leave used during the three day waiting period should be changed to COP. I will cover the subject of filing grievances for violations of entitlements to COP in later articles. In the meantime, work safely - but if you should get hurt while working, follow these simple steps and contact your station steward as soon as possible.

Outlook January / February 2013
A Man Amongst Men
Vinny was responsible for the greatest change in the wages and benefits of the hundreds of thousands of workers in the largest postal service in the world, the United States Post Office. Before the strike of 1970 the income you would have received qualified you for welfare. Indeed many had two and three jobs out of necessity. There was a need for changes and with very few exceptions letter carriers at the time felt that Vinny was the man who could make those changes a reality. As it turned out they could not have been more right.

It's against the law to strike against the Federal Government but that did not deter either Vinny or those who had had enough. Facing the prospect of getting fired and imprisonment, those brave men and women took to the picket lines. The rest is, as they say, history.

Sombrotto, as he was known to many, had a manner of speaking that kept you hanging on his every word. He used this gift as a negotiator extraordinaire. His foresight and skill at the negotiating table was rivaled by none, as many opponents found out too late. He fought tirelessly for the rights of both letter carriers and clerks until 1994, as the contract for both was negotiated jointly.

Vinny earned the respect of everyone who came into contact with him because he treated everyone with dignity and respect. He never asked of anyone that which he himself would not do. Vinny did not just talk the talk, he walked the walk. And although it would not be fair to ask anyone to be like him, to
emulate him would not be a bad thing by far.

Goodbye Vinny and rest in peace with the assurance that there are many who will continue the struggle for those they represent as you did.

My prayers go out to the Sombrotto Family on behalf of their extended family, the Letter Carriers who owe you a debt of gratitude for having shared your husband, father, brother and grandfather with us for these many years.
Thank You.

Outlook November / December 2012
Separation-Disability
In the recent weeks I have received several calls from carriers who have been out of work due to illness. Some of the illnesses stemmed from a job related injury; some have not. In either case the Postal Service is attempting to separate these carriers. It is important to note that separation is not automatic. The Postal Service is obligated to adhere to language found in our National Agreement (contract), as well as the ELM and the EL 505.

The USPS cannot initiate Separation/Disability unless a carrier has been on leave without pay (LWOP) for a minimum of one year. This includes carriers who are receiving compensation payments from OWCP because they are in a non-pay status with the Postal Service. If a carrier returns to work following an illness or injury within a year of being on LWOP, the Postal Service cannot apply this particular provision.

Article 13 of our Contract covers the, "Assignment of Ill or Injured Regular Workforce Employees." Section 13.4.A states in part that, "Every effort shall be made to reassign the concerned employee, even if such assignment reduces the number of hours of work for the supplemental work force." This applies to both light duty (injured off duty) and limited duty (injured on duty). Section 540 of the ELM has additional provisions for carriers seeking limited duty and our local MOU has provisions for those seeking light duty.

A carrier who has been on LWOP due to an illness for one year can be given 30-day extensions if there is reason to believe that he/she will be able to return to duty within a reasonable period of time (ELM Section 365.342.a). Carriers on OWCP who cannot return to duty after a year can be granted extensions of sixmonth increments if it appears that they will be able to return to work within the extension period (ELM 365.342.b). There are other obligations that are too extensive to cover in this article.

If you have received a notice of Separation-Disability do not delay in contacting your shop steward so that a grievance can be generated as quickly as possible for any violations of your rights. Any delays can hinder a favorable decision.
Have a safe and prosperous holiday season.

Outlook September / October 2012
Political Activism Is a Must
As of the date this article was written the first debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney has not taken place. Yet, unless you've been unconscious for the past four years you should be aware of certain truths.

President Obama inherited the largest American deficit since the Great Depression, two unfunded wars, an automobile industry on the verge of collapse and the burst of the housing bubble to name a few. Since becoming President, Obama has all but ended both wars; the auto industry is back on its feet; the banks that doled out all those questionable mortgages that cost many people their homes have been dealt with, and the economy is slowly turning around.

On the other hand all Mitt Romney and his Republican party have been thinking of is one and only one thing, getting the President out of office. That's it. I
take that back. Romney has also been busy finding ways to make the rich richer and get rid of the middle class and the means by which the middle class was created, trade unions.

If these aren't enough reasons to get politically active, let's take a look at something closer to home. The Republican Party wants to dismantle the Postal Service via a reform bill introduced by Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) HR 2309. The effects of this bill, should it get passed, will be devastating for the Postal service and also cause the loss of millions of jobs. During a recent quarterly seminar I learned that there are 15 private sector jobs tied to every job in the Postal Service.

HR 2309 would eliminate six day delivery, continue the yearly $5.5 billion dollar prefunding of the future retiree health benefit fund and eliminate door-todoor delivery if the Postal Service experiences financial losses for two consecutive fiscal years. The losses are virtually guaranteed because of the needless prefunding burden placed on the Service by Congress. As a footnote, there is enough money in the fund currently to meet the 75 year prefunding obligation if left alone to collect interest.

In order to be eligible to vote in the general election on November 6, 2012, you must be registered by 10/9/12 in PA, 10/12/12 in NY and 10/16/2012 in NJ. So if you haven't registered, do so now. Ask your children 18 and over, your family and your neighbors to register as well.

Let them know that the Republican plan to privatize the Postal Service is not just affecting postal workers. It also affects the elderly who receive prescriptions through the mail, the small businesses that rely on Saturday delivery of store fliers and coupons, and the many people who have home based businesses.

Come November let's collectively send a clear message to those who would take away the hard-fought gains we enjoy today: decent wages, affordable health care and the right to organize. Let them know that the letter carriers and the middle class as a whole will not go silently into the night.

Outlook July / August 2012
On-The-Job Injuries
Under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), carriers sustaining injuries on-the-job are entitled to certain benefits. Some of those benefits include payment of medical services and lost wages as well as transportation to and from medical treatments. Obviously all of the above must be related to the specific injury sustained.

The rest of this article will explain actions that must be taken by an employee who sustains a traumatic injury while working. A traumatic injury can best be described as occurring at a specific time and location, and to a specific part or parts of the body within a single workday or shift.

The first thing the carrier should do is inform management. Although this may seem obvious, some carriers don't inform management immediately because
they either continue to work out of a sense of obligation or don't feel any pain or discomfort from the injury.

In both instances the carrier is putting himself/herself in jeopardy. First, by continuing to work, the injury may be made worse. Second, management may
dispute the validity of the claim because of the delay in being notified. So as a rule, inform your supervisor as soon as possible after the injury.

The next thing to do is to ask for, then fill out, a Form CA-I (Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation). In the event that the injury is so serious that this cannot he done immediately, do so as soon as possible. Any delays in filling out the CA-I may complicate the claim.

Management cannot refuse to supply this form. To do so is a violation of federal law. It is also against the law to threaten a carrier with discipline for filing a CA-I. If either of these situations occurs, contact your shop steward immediately.

The injured employee is responsible for filling out the first 15 lines of the form. Make sure to indicate all the parts of the body injured. Failing to do so will
complicate the claim. After management has filled out their portion of the form get a copy for yourself.

Every physician treating the employee should also be made aware of all the areas affected. Employees requiring emergency treatment at a hospital should seek any further treatment needed from his/her family doctor. It is the employee's right to select the primary physician for treatment.

Employees who will be out of work due to an on-the-job injury are also entitled to a continuation of pay (COP) for the first 45 days they will be out. Disabilities causing wage loss of less than 14 days will require the use of sick or annual leave for the first three days. Any subsequent days of total disability will be considered COP. If the total disability lasts for 14 days or more, the employee is entitled to COP for the entire period, including the first three days, up to the 45th day. A disability causing wage loss of more than 45 days will require the filing of a CA-7. Have your steward contact the branch if this occurs.

Any medical evidence provided by the physician examining and/or treating the employee must show the causal relationship between what caused the injury and the injury itself, This is extremely important because it will reduce the chances of the claim being denied by the Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP).

Remember the following:
1. Notify management as soon as possible following an on-the-job injury.
2. Fill out the Form CA-l immediately and ask management for a copy after they have filled out their portion.
3. Seek medical attention.
4. Inform attending physician/s of all affected parts of the body.
5. Any periods of total disability to work must be substantiated with evidence provided by the physician treating the injury,
6. For the claim to be accepted by OWCP, the physician must show the causal relationship between what caused the injury and the injury itself.

Although there is more to know about on-the-job injuries, this article covers the important initial steps that should be taken. Keep this article in a handy place because you never know when you or one of your co-workers may need the information. Contact the branch if you have any questions about a compensation claim.

Outlook May / June 2012
Compensation Claims Appeals vs. Grievances
The following is an example and is not meant to be a "one-size-fits-all."

A carrier, let's call him "John", suffers an injury while performing his duties. John tripped on a poorly maintained stair step in one of the buildings on his route and twisted his ankle. He notifies postal management as soon as he returns to the station and wants to file a claim for compensation. John's supervisor, let's call him Mr. Arrogant, at first states that there are no forms available and implies that John will receive discipline if he files a claim.

John persists, ultimately receives the forms, and seeks medical attention for his injury. The CA-1 and CA-16 are returned to Mr. Arrogant within 10 days along with a medical certificate from a physician stating that, due to the on-the-job injury, John will be temporarily completely incapacitated to do any type of work for a minimum of 45 days. However, the doctor's note does not give a firm diagnosis but it does reference the date, time, place and working condition that caused the injury. On the CA-1 John checks Item 15a which is a request for COP.

Mr. Arrogant takes the forms and doctor's note and puts them in his desk for a week, then forwards them to the Health and Resource Management office. In the meantime he places John on Sick Leave, By the time the HRM office receives the claim and forwards it to OWCP 14 days have gone by. When John receives his next pay stub he realizes that his Sick Leave is being used and contacts his claims specialist at HRM. The specialist informs him that the claim was received late but that an e-mail will be immediately sent to Mr. Arrogant authorizing COP for the entire 45 calendar day period. Mr. Arrogant reads the e-mail but refuses to change the leave to COP

Two more weeks go by and John receives his next pay stub and a letter from OWCP stating that his claim is deficient as no firm diagnosis or specific test results were submitted to support the claimed injury. The doctor has also failed to give a medical rationale as to how the injury is related to the working condition, in this case the broken step. John is given 30 days to respond to OWCP. He also notices that Mr. Arrogant is still using his Sick Leave although 45 calendar days have not elapsed.

John contacts his shop steward and tells him to file a grievance against Mr. Arrogant and OWCP because of everything that's happened thus far. Does he
have a grievance Yes or No? The answer is yes and no. Although a grievance cannot be filed because of a decision made by OWCP, one can be filed against the Postal Service because of the way the claim was handled.

Article 3 of Our National Agreement (JCAM) states in part that management has the right to manage subject to the provisions of the Agreement and consistent with applicable laws and regulations. Article 19 makes all postal handbooks and manuals part of the Agreement by definition. When read together, management is accountable for any violations of language found in the contract as well as all handbooks and manuals. The Employer Labor Manual (ELM) Section 540 contains the regulations that cover the Injury Compensation Program as it pertains to the Postal Service.

Let's go back.

When Arrogant told John that there were no forms available he violated Part 541.3 of the ELM which states that an adequate supply of forms needed to report an injury, besides they're in the computer. Arrogant violated FECA law by delaying the claim and implying discipline.

"Whoever, being an officer or employee of the United States charged with the responsibility for making the reports of the immediate superior specified by
section 8120 of title 5, willfully fails, neglects, or refuses to make any of the reports, or knowingly files a false report, or induces, compels, or directs an injured employee to forego filing of any claim for compensation or other benefits provided under subchapter I of chapter 81 of title 5 or any extension or application thereof, or willfully retains any notice, report, claim, or paper which is required to be filed under that subchapter or any extension or application thereof, or regulations prescribed thereunder, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

John's entitlement to COP is found in the ELM Section 545.721 which states that to be eligible for COP a carrier must have a traumatic injury, file a CA-1 within 30 days of the injury and begin losing time within 45 days of the injury, all of which was done. The circumstances that would stop COP are found in Section 545.741 - none apply to John. To change the Sick Leave to COP is something that can be corrected in the station. All the above-mentioned violations can and should be grieved.

As stated previous1y, a grievance cannot be filed against OWCP. If John should receive an unfavorable decision from them he must file an appeal with that office. Although the case of John's injury is fictitious, this scenario occurs frequently. So my advice is not to try to file a compensation claim without the assistance of someone who has experience in these matters. Doing so can mean months of frustration. Let's all work safely and have a great healthy summer.

Outlook March / April 2012
During March's general membership meeting there were a number of questions involving compensation claims that were addressed. It appears that claims
are continuing to be mishandled by postal management. I will clarify two. Carriers are being told that the forms for filing a claim are not readily available, which is not true, or that carriers who sustain a work related injury must use their own time until the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) accepts the claim, which is inaccurate.

A letter carrier who gets injured while performing work duties is entitled to file a claim for compensation. The injury should be reported as soon as possible following the injury. If a claim is going to be filed, the carrier should request the proper form from management. A Form CA-1 for a traumatic injury, or a Form CA-2 for an occupational disease. The CA-1 should be accompanied by a CA-16 which authorizes payment for medical attention. There is no requirement for a CA-16 when filing a CA-2.

These forms are available to be printed by the supervisor from the Blue Pages at any computer terminal on the work floor with very little effort. So, if a computer is on and assuming the supervisor can manage to find the word "Forms" on the page and click on it, the entire process should take under one minute. Once a claim has been submitted it must be received by OWCP at the Department of Labor within ten (10) days. In order to monitor this, request the notice of receipt that is part of either the CA-1 or the CA-2 forms.

To complicate matters, OWCP has now made it possible to file a new claim or update an existing claim via "ECOMP" on the Dept. of Labor website. After having visited the website myself I had a meeting with Don Beete, the manager of Health and Resource Management, formerly known as Injury Control. He told me that the Postal Service is not participating with the ECOMP program because they have not guaranteed the security of information sent to them. So, DO NOT use ECOMP for any reason until notified by the branch.

As far as having to use your own leave while waiting for the claim to be approved, a carrier who sustains a traumatic injury while in the performance of his/her duties is entitled to 45 calendar days of Continuation of Pay (COP) from the Postal Service. For the first three days, known as a waiting period, you have the option of using sick or annual leave or LWOP. The remaining days should be COP.

To be eligible for COP a medical certification supporting the need to take time off from work, for the work related injury, must be submitted within 10 days following the injury.

In too many instances management has continued to use annual and/or sick leave although the COP option has been checked on the Form CA-1. You are entitled to COP up to the 45th day following the injury unless OWCP denies the claim during that period. If the injury requires you to be out past the 45th day, annual leave, sick leave or LWOP can be taken while awaiting an approval from OWCP.

An injury on-the-job is bad enough without the complications that can follow by being misinformed about your rights and proper procedures. So contact your local steward for guidance or call the branch if you need any assistance with filing a claim.

On a lighter note I extend my congratulations to Orlando Gonzalez on his elevation to Regional Administrative Assistant of Region 15. His dedication to serve letter carriers is unwavering. I have utmost confidence in his ability to represent and uphold the rights of the members of Region 15 and I'm sure he will live up to the standards set by Branch 36.

Outlook Novenber / December 2011
I have recently been receiving calls on compensation involving everything from the refusal of CA-1 forms from management to non-payment of COP. In an effort to ensure that carriers who sustain an on-the-job injury get treated fairly, I will explain the procedure for filing a claim. Any deviation from the following could result in delays in processing the claim and the risk of not getting paid while recuperating.

A carrier who suffers an injury while at work, should report it immediately to a supervisor or as soon as practicable. A CA-1 (Notice of Traumatic Injury
and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation) form.

If the injury requires time off from work a CA-1 must be submitted within 30 days of the injury in order to qualify for COP. If a medical notice covering
the absence is not submitted within 10 days of the injury COP can be discontinued. COP will continue for 45 calendar days unless the Labor Department
(OWCP) denies the claim.

There is a 3-day waiting period when on COP. For the first three days you must use Sick Leave, Annual Leave or LWOP. If more than 3 days off are necessary they will be COP. If a minimum of 14 days off are needed the entire period is COP and the first three days will be changed to COP as well.

Management has often continued to use the annual and sick leave of carriers on COP. This practice is improper. If it occurs, contact your shop steward immediately and get it corrected.

In order for a compensation claim to be accepted there are five requirements that must be met. They are:
1. Timely submission of claim
2. Proof that you work for the USPS (the address of your station will suffice)
3. Fact of injury (diagnosed condition supplied by a physician based on a specific test) CAT Scan, X-Ray, MRI, etc.
4. Performance of Duty (explanation of what job function was being performed when sustaining the injury)
5. Causal Relationship (physician gives a reasonable explanation of how the diagnosed condition is related to the working condition that caused the injury)

In too many instances the injured carrier is being either denied the CA-1 or told that there isn't one available. In both cases management is in contractual violation and also breaking the law. If this should occur, notify your shop steward or the Branch immediately. It is also against the law to threaten a carrier
with disciplinary action for filing a compensation claim.

Once the claim is accepted you are entitled to receive compensation payments for lost wages after the initial 45 days of COP. The form used is a CA-7. Your payments will be calculated by averaging your gross weekly salary for the 12 months immediately preceding the injury. If you have dependents you will receive 75% of that average, if not it will be 66.6% of that weekly average; both are tax free. The only deductions made from the payments are your portion of health benefits and life insurance. You must pay your union dues directly to Branch 36, which will keep you as a member in good standing.

These are the basics of filing a claim for a traumatic injury on-the-job. If you have any questions about compensation I can be contacted by calling the branch at 212-239-3901. Be safe, share this information with your co-workers and remember that assistance with compensation claims is offered exclusively to Union Members in good standing.

United We Stood
A call to arms was sent to the members of four unions who work for the Postal Service. It called for a concerted participation at rallies in front of congressional representatives' offices throughout the country. The rallies were held on Tuesday, September 27, 2011.

Together we showed support for the representatives that are keeping the best interests of postal workers at heart and reminded those who are not that we are watching. We were also tasked with informing the misinformed public about the real financial state of the Postal Service.

I had the honor of standing side by side with members of the APWU, the Mail Handlers Union and our own NALC in front of Carolyn Maloney's office in solidarity. Ms. Maloney is a steadfast supporter of the NALC and has an unblemished record when it comes to voting in our favor in regard to legislation that affects postal workers.

It was encouraging to see so many people taking an active part in protecting their jobs. I saw the faces and heard the voices of letter carriers stating their case to the public. I witnessed firsthand how, after being given the correct information, the general public supported our positions.

I have been a Democrat since I first registered to vote. However, this is not a partisan issue. I will show support and vote for any candidate who introduces and/or endorses legislation that helps letter carriers, regardless of the party they belong to.

House Resolution 1351 was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) on April 5, 2011. HR 1351 provides for the correction of an accounting error that allowed the Postal Service to get overcharged, in the billions of dollars, payments into the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). It also addresses the overcharges made to FERS.

Beginning in 2006, legislation was passed that obligated the Postal Service to prefund health care benefits of postal employees 75 years into the future, and they had 10 years to do it. No other entity public or private has ever been burdened with anything like this.

The USPS averaged around $2.3 billion in profits between 2003 and 2006. In 2007 there was a surplus of $3.3 billion followed by a surplus of $2.8 billion in 2008. Both of these were negated by the prefunding obligation.

In fact the office of Inspector General has found that there has been an overpayment of $75 billion into the federal government pension system by the Postal Service. If we are to survive as a company, this gross error must be corrected. We will need as many friends as possible in Washington, DC to get this job done.

I will take this time to remind you the rights of America's middle class are under attack by those who would do away with collective bargaining. Think about this for a moment. What does this mean? Where do I begin?

I'll ask you. What if you no longer had the right to negotiate a contract? What if the Postal Service could arbitrarily decide you no longer had the right to contractual breaks; if you were no longer entitled to penalty overtime; if the USPS could decide how much leave you receive each year and the amount you pay for health insurance? What if you no longer had access to the grievance procedure, got removed and had to wait for months to have your case heard by an arbitrator, who then wrote an opinion that was non-binding upon the Postal Service?

I was reminded not too long ago, that those brave souls who took part in the Strike of 1970 had nothing and risked everything. Although today we are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices, there are far too few of us that have heard firsthand about their struggle for decent wages and benefits.

My advice to those who take the benefits we all enjoy today for granted, and to those who have become complacent, is that it's time you come "place your a**" in a chair at the next Union meeting. Learn what you can do to help your own cause.

would like to be able to say someday, "United We Stood", and united we persevered.

If You Speak Up, They Will Listen
In my last article I wrote entirely about the latest route adjustment Agreement, JARAP, and new language contained therein. It appears that some managers, for whatever reason, refuse to abide by the established guidelines set forth. I remind you that although this Agreement was signed by the national parties, it is meaningless if management is non-compliant and is not held to task.

I've received calls from stewards and carriers alike, stating that management is refusing to post the Workhour/Workload Reports on a daily basis, and that they are also refusing to give consultations to carriers walked in regard to 3999s on or after March 22, 2011, both of which are enforceable via the JARAP 2011 Agreement. If this surprises you, you haven't worked for the Postal Service for too long. Incidentally, the July issue of Postal Record thoroughly explains both the 3999s and the Workhour/Workload report, beginning on page 34.

If I know you're a thief and allow you into my house and you rob me; if I know you're a liar and I accept your lies; if I know you're a bully and allo you to bully me, whose fault is that?

I urge all carriers to keep themselves informed about "everything" that concerns you as letter carriers. If management is not playing by the rules, notify your steward in writing so that a grievance can be filed.

JARAP 2011 Agreement
A new JARAP Agreement was signed on March 22, 2011. Although all the stations in the Bronx and Manhattan have gone through at least one of the "Joint Route Adjustment" processes (IARAP, MIARAP and/or JARAP) there are major changes in the latest version. It would behoove every letter carrier to become familiar with these changes.

Our new Director of City Delivery at the national level, Lew Drass, negotiated language into the latest JARAP agreement that requires the Postal Service to make the route adjustment process more transparent. Hopefully, letter carriers will now become more familiar with the forms and reports that are used by management to determine daily volumes, projected office and street times, and my favorite, the 3999 form.

As of the date the latest agreement was signed, the Postal Service is required to discuss the 3999 with the carrier within three days of the walk. The 3999, for those who are unfamiliar, is the form used when a route is walked. You are entitled to a copy of the form, as soon as practicable, and an explanation concerning any changes made on it after the walk. Please pay particular attention to the "Non-recurring Street Time Detail" part of the 3999. This is time that the examiner has determined is not part of your regular day and thus will be deducted from the street time on the day of the walk.

The 3999 is the most important document used when a route is adjusted. It determines how long it takes the carrier to deliver portions of the route. If the information on it is inaccurate, any subsequent route change will also be inaccurate. Pay particular attention to the mail volume on the day walked. Every carrier walked as of March 22, 2011 can make comments about the 3999. If you see something say something! The evaluation team assigned to the station must and will take those comments into consideration when adjusting routes.

It is now a requirement for Work hour/Workload reports to be posted in every station for the previous workday, whether or not the station is being evaluated. On this report you will find the daily volumes (caseable letters, flats and DPS), for each route. It will also show if the individual route was given assistance in the office and/ or in the street provided the help programmed themselves onto the route. With the Branch's permission I have created a template that explains what the relevant entries on the Work hour/Workload report mean. I have asked the stewards to post the template alongside the report so that carriers can determine if the information contained therein is accurate. If it is not, I urge you to inform the steward so discrepancies can be documented as soon as possible.

We have been given something that we, in my opinion, have been entitled to since forever. A chance to review the data the Postal Service is using to determine what our workday should be and an opportunity to challenge that very same information. Let's use these new given tools to ensure that we are given a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.

Do You Want to Be Next

As you should know by now an attack on the collective bargaining rights of workers is under way in Wisconsin. Under legislation signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, bargaining over conditions of employment for public sector employees, including fringe benefits and hours, will be eliminated. Ironically, the law will not be published until March 25.

Now, you may ask yourself, "What does this have to do with me?" Well, the Washington Post's Donald F. Kettl, Dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, said that, "We're going to see these issues framed for the feds in the not-too-distant-future." Currently there is similar legislation in progress in the states of Ohio and New Hampshire.

In Ohio, legislators are proposing to, "Adopt a proposal that would curtail collective bargaining powers for transit workers and other public employees." In New Hampshire, Rep. Paul Lambert, is planning an effort to end collective bargaining for state public workers. Would it be pessimistic of me to think that it won't be long before some politician gets the "bright idea" that the collective bargaining rights of postal workers, letter carriers in particular, should be revisited? I think not.

Before the strike of 1970, letter carriers had what has been referred to as "collective begging". Indeed, the salary then was such that letter carriers actually qualified for welfare. Would you like those days to return? Not me. That is why I do what I can to ensure that, at the very least, we as letter carriers keep at bay those who would act against the quality of life that we earn through hard work.

As a union member I was asked to apply for automatic deductions from my wages to go towards COLCPE. I did just that because I understand how important it is towards our future. I signed up as an E-Activist on our national website (www. NALC.org), which allows the NALC to keep me informed of issues on the political horizon that may affect letter carriers. One of the things I consider before I go to the polls to vote, is the particular candidate's stand on postal issues. I joined the "Carrier Corps" and made myself available if I'm needed to picket or attend a labor rally. Remember, an attack on one worker is an attack on us all.

The time to act is here. Sign up for COLCPE deductions to support the politicians who have our best interests in mind and to help replace those who don't. Become an E-Activist and keep yourself informed of postal issues in the political arena. And join the Carrier Corps so that you can stand side-by-side with those who choose to act, instead of standing by and hoping for the best. I urge you to take up the fight for the middle class of which you are a part.

I will end this article with a quote by a German Pastor, Martin Niemoller, who said, "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."

On-The-Job Injuries
Under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), carriers sustaining injuries on-the-job are entitled to certain benefits. Some of those benefits include payment of medical services, lost wages as well as transportation to and from medical treatments. Obviously all of the above must be related to the specific injury sustained.

The rest of this article will explain actions that must be taken by an employee who sustains a traumatic injury while working. A traumatic injury can best be described as occurring at a specific time and location, and to a specific part or parts of the body within a single workday or shift.

The first thing the carrier should do is inform management. Although this may seem obvious, some carriers don't inform management immediately because they either continue to work out of a sense of obligation or don't feel any pain or discomfort from the injury.

In both instances the carrier is putting himself/herself in jeopardy. First, by continuing to work, the injury may be made worse. Second, management may dispute the validity of the claim because of the delay in being notified. So as a rule, inform your supervisor as soon as possible after the injury.

The next thing to do is to ask for, then fill out, a Form CA-1 (Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation). In the event that the injury is so serious that this cannot be done immediately, do so as soon as possible. Any delays in filling out the CA-I may complicate the claim.

Management cannot refuse to supply this form. To do so is a violation of federal law. It is also against the law to threaten a carrier with discipline for filing a CA-1. If either of these situations occurs, contact your shop steward immediately.

The injured employee is responsible for filling out the first 15 lines of the form. Make sure to indicate “all” the parts of the body injured. Failing to do so will complicate the claim. After management has filled out their portion of the form get a copy for yourself.

Every physician treating the employee should also be made aware of all the areas affected. Employees requiring emergency treatment at a hospital should
seek any further treatment needed from his/her family doctor. It is the employee's right to select the primary physician for treatment.

Employees who will be out of work due to an on-the-job injury are also entitled to a continuation of pay (COP) for the first 45 days they will be out. Disabilities causing wage loss of less than 14 days will require the use of sick or annual leave for the first three days. Any subsequent days of total disability will be considered COP. If the total disability lasts for 14 days or more, the employee is entitled to COP for the entire period, including the first three days, up to the 45th day. A disability causing wage loss of more than 45 days will require the filing of a CA-7. Have your steward contact the branch if this occurs.

Any medical evidence provided by the physician examining and/or treating the employee must show the "causal relationship" between what caused the injury and the injury itself. This is extremely important because it will reduce the chances of the claim being denied by the Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP).

In conclusion, remember the following:
1. Notify management as soon as possible following an on-the-job injury.
2. Fill out the Form CA-1 immediately and ask management for a copy after
they have filled out their portion.
3. Seek medical attention.
4. Inform attending physician/s of all affected parts of the body.
5. Any periods of total disability to work must be substantiated with
evidence provided by the physician treating the injury.
6. For the claim to be accepted by OWCP, the physician must show the
causal relationship between what caused the injury and the injury itself.

Although there is more to know about on-the-job injuries, this article covers the important initial steps that should be taken. Keep this article in a handy place because you never know when you or one of your co-workers may need the information. Contact the branch if you have any questions about a compensation claim.

A Newfound Respect
The first station I worked in as a letter carrier in Manhattan is Grand Central. As you should know by now, that is where the "Strike of 1970" began on March 17 of that year. Rubbing shoulders with those who participated gave me an idea of what they had gone through and an appreciation for the risk they took.

Last month I had the honor and privilege of serving Branch 36 as a convention delegate. I was not alone. Along with the branch officers there were a total of seventy five delegates who attended.

Of all the conventions I've gone to I am particularly glad that I didn't miss this one. During one of the sessions there was a video presentation commemorating the 1970 strike. The national headquarters had sent a camera crew to our local branch that interviewed at least four of our brothers who were working at the time of the strike.

Anthony Puccio, 52 year active carrier from Triboro Station; Harold Hillard, 1st Vice President; Joe Ramos, Director of Retirees; and Eugene Spry, Sergeant at Arms, all shared their experiences during the eight day strike. As I mentioned earlier, I already had an idea of the mood that led up to the strike but nothing had prepared me for what I was about to hear, see, and feel as I watched the video. Besides the delegation from our branch there were approximately 8,500 other letter carriers in attendance. Men and women from across the country and its territories, many who were also working back in 1970.

You could hear the proverbial pin drop, with occasional laughter or applause, as the video played on for twenty minutes. And when it was over the roar on the convention floor was deafening. Delegates from all over were coming over to where Branch 36, your branch, was seated. People came up to our attending members, many who were there in 1970 and began thanking and kissing and hugging them.
There were tears everywhere.

I have never been so proud of being a member of this branch and of those who came before me, those who took that risk without thought of their own personal gain but instead stood united for the greater good. The benefits that I enjoy today I owe to those brave men and women.

To those of you who have never spoken to someone who was present in 1970 and those who may take their struggle for granted, I suggest you seek out a striker and talk with them. Let them tell you first hand what it was they were fighting for and the pride they felt when they received it. And when the conversation is over, shake their hand or give them a kiss or a hug or at the very least thank them for their sacrifice. They earned it. I for one will be eternally grateful and feel a profound responsibility to ensure that their legacy is not forgotten.

Today we face different challenges. The middle class is shrinking and with it goes the very things the strike of 1970 brought to fruition. Our wages and benefits are under attack. Complacency is our biggest enemy. So the next time you hear fellow carriers say, "I'm heading to a union meeting," go with them. Come and find out for yourself what you can do to preserve and build on those hard fought gains of 1970, and become an active partner in your own future.

A Brief Look at a Bigger Picture
By now most of you should be aware of the Postal Service's solution to the declining mail volume and the loss in revenue, "Five Day Delivery." If this becomes a reality, there would be no need for cycle floaters and between forty to fifty thousand positions would be lost. The postmaster general is even considering a four-day workweek, which would make all city letter carrier positions become part-time flexibles. If that wasn't bad enough, the Postal Service has overfunded the future retiree health benefits plan to the tune of between $54 and $75 Billion, that's right, "BILLION" dollars.

There is no question that volume is down and costs have gone up but there are other solutions to the problem. In a recent conversation I had with my local Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, I learned that Congress is working on legislation that would result in getting the money back and coming up with a new formula for funding the health benefits that makes sense.

The NALC is lobbying in Washington to bring this to fruition. The Union has a very active legislative department both at a national and a local level. It is imperative that we keep our political allies in office, that's where COLCPE comes in.

The NALC has also negotiated several joint agreements for right sizing routes, the latest of which is called JARAP. Although it is not a perfect science, it is by far a better more evenhanded process than the traditional C&I. It is true that under the four alternate route adjustment processes we sustained a net loss of routes, but the fact is that not one carrier has lost his or her job.

At a national level the union has also introduced Customer Connect as a way of generating untapped revenue. This program has just surpassed the $1 Billion mark. Thanks to all of you who participate. These are but a few of the things your union is doing to ensure that there will continue to be a prosperous viable Postal Service far into the future.

Get politically active. Register to vote and encourage your family to do so as well. Keep in touch with your local politicians and make sure that they are on our side when it comes to postal issues. Sign up for COLCPE automatic payroll deductions, join the Carrier Corps and be an E-Activist. Participate in the Customer Connect Program. That's where you come in.

Together we can do what we can't do apart, save our livelihoods.

The New Route Adjustment Process (JARAP)
A Memorandum of Understanding was agreed to at the national level in relation to route adjustments. The new process, Joint Alternate Route Adjustment Process, (JARAP), became effective on April 29, 2010.

The carriers at the stations that will be reviewed under JARAP will notice similarities with the previous agreement, MIARAP. However there are a few significant changes. There will be more accountability from everyone involved in the evaluation and adjustments of routes.

All of the team members will consist of one person representing the Postal Service and one representing the Union. Teams at the station level, Local Office Contacts (LOC), will include the station shop steward and a supervisor or manager. Their duties will include such things as addressing data integrity issues, giving joint carrier consultations and resolving any disputes involving concerns the carriers may have about 3999 times and territory transferred between adjusted routes.

District Evaluation and Adjustment Teams (DEAT) will also be made up of two members just like the LOCs. This team will be responsible for resolving disagreements between the LOC. The DEATs will also be doing the actual evaluation and adjustments of routes. Once adjustments have been agreed to by the DEAT, a Form 1840r will be generated and passed down to the LOC for initial consultations with the carriers. Carriers will have a minimum of one day to look over the 1840r forms before giving any comments or suggestions on proposed changes to their routes.

A District Lead Team, one member from the Postal Service and one from the Union, will be overseeing the DEAT. The Lead Team chooses the stations that are to be evaluated and assigns the DEAT to those stations.

By now you might be asking yourself, "What about the carrier's role in all this?" The carrier is the most important part of the process. After all, it is the carrier who will be the most affected by any adjustment made to his/her route. It is because of this that I ask all carriers who are having their route evaluated, for their full input and cooperation in the process. A fair adjustment relies on this.

If I have failed to answer any questions you might have about the process, forward them to your LOC. I will make it my responsibility to make sure that you understand any and all aspects of JARAP as it pertains to route evaluations and adjustments.

What To Do If Injured On-The-Job
There are five criteria that have to be met in order to have a claim accepted by the Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP) each of which is equally important.

The first thing to do immediately following an on-the-job- injury (IOD) is to notify management as soon as practicable. The proper form for a Traumatic Injury is a CA-1. This type of on-the- job injury can best be described as having occurred at a specific time and place on a given date. Under no circumstances should an injured carrier be denied the filing of an IOD claim. It is your right under Federal Law (FECA) and the forms are readily available to management from the Blue Pages on their computers. A CA-1 must also be filed as soon as possible.

A Fact of Injury has to be proven. For this you would have to be seen by a physician, preferably by one that handles FECA claims since you will need one anyway. The doctor has to give a firm diagnosed condition based on test/s results.
Be advised that pain is not a condition, it is a symptom. Your doctor needs to explain how the diagnosed condition relates to what you state caused the injury. This part of the claim is based solely on medical documentation and must make sense. The person reviewing the claim at OWCP is a licensed medical practitioner.

The injury must have been sustained during working hours; lunch does not fall under the definition of work hours since you are not covered while on lunch.

In order to qualify for Continuance of Pay (COP) a CA-1 must be filed within thirty days of the injury. The only entity that can deny the right to the forty-five days of COP is the Labor Department. Bear in mind that these are calendar days not workdays. Also, you must begin to take time off within the first forty-five days following the injury and must be supported by medical documentation within the first ten days.

In recent days the Branch has received calls from injured carriers that state management is giving them CA- 17 forms to be filled out by the attending physician. The problem with this is that although a CA-17 will eventually need to be filed if you will be out of work, it is "not" the form that is needed in order for the doctor to get paid for services rendered. An injured employee should request a CA-16 for this purpose. As with the denial of a CA-1, it is against the law to be refused the form. If this should happen, contact your local steward immediately. If he/she is not sure what to do the next step they should take is contact the Branch.

Although there are few things in life that are guaranteed, if these steps are followed, the chances of your claim being accepted are greatly improved.

Now that you have this information the most important thing to me is that you work as safely as possible. Getting hurt, hurts.

What You Want to Hear / Need to Hear
When I first applied for a postal service job I was just looking for work. Fresh out of high school and not particularly interested in going to college at the time, I felt entitled to "some time off." It was a personal decision that was influenced by my surroundings, public opinion of the nation at the time, peer pressure or any combination of the above-mentioned. Regardless, I got a job offer from the U.S. Postal Service and accepted it.

As a kid if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, a mailman probably wouldn't have been any one of my many answers but here I am. I am not ashamed of what I do for a living. My job has provided for my family and myself. Realistically for me, any complaints that I may have are purely personal.

The Union has always protected me. My wages have always gone up throughout my career and the Union leadership at the local level has never ever failed me, as long as I was willing to do what I needed to do to help them help me.

One of the first things I learned was that in order to protect myself I needed to learn my job. If I followed the rules and did what was expected of me I could not get in trouble.

This is the message that I would like to pass on to you. If I do eight hours of work I expect to get paid for eight hours. If I do ten hours of work in eight hours it will only be a matter of time until that is what's expected of me. If I make an arrangement with management to do the same eight hours of work in six hours, it will only be a matter of time until more work is added to my workload. Trust me, it will happen, and when it does either, you and/or management won't be happy. Invariably one side begins to push back. "Do me a favor" becomes a direct order in a heartbeat.

Another of the valuable lessons I learned early on was to scrutinize where I was getting my information. Then as well as now does not mean shop around until you hear what you want to hear. It means be mature enough to accept what the correct answer is even if it's not what you want to hear.

Throughout my postal career I have seen too many carriers through tantrums right to the unemployment line. I am not, by any means, advocating to accept what is presented to you without question; what I am asking is to be mature enough to understand that although it would be nice to always have things your way, it would be more beneficial to have what you're entitled to. There will be no complications with the latter as long as you do the "right thing" not just what you feel like doing.

The Union will always be there for you, it always has been there for me. The only decision I had to make was to accept the correct answer or listen to someone who was standing on a soapbox preaching what I wanted to hear. Too many people are willing to follow the person with the loudest voice as opposed to the voice of reason. I compare that to a bunch of wildebeests following the leader into a raging river only to drown or a flock of mountain sheep following the leader right off a cliff.

Make your choice, follow the leader because he/she knows what they're talking about or follow the person with the loudest voice to certain doom.

Help Yourself
I've been on the Modified Interim Alternate Route Adjustment Process (MIARAP) team for over a year now. In that time I've had the unenviable responsibility of informing fellow carriers that the route they've worked on will be: abolished, that there will be dramatic changes on the route, whether those changes come in the form of territory added or deducted. I've also been happy to go into stations and relate to the carriers that routes will be added, that an overburdened route will get relief from a router.

That being said, the current route adjustment process is far better than the traditional count and inspection. Everyone who has been through a route inspection can testify to that The mail got counted for aix days and a route inspector went out with you one day. The amount of mail that you usually have disappeared during that week and all of a sudden you had "down time". Whether you knew it or not that inspector had the ability to deduct every second or minute that he/she felt was not part of your regular workday.

The current process takes an average of your daily work hours and workload. Your recommendations as far as adjustments are considered and applied to the extent possible. Although far from being perfect carriers, the routes are being adjusted much more fairly. BELIEVE IT!

For the first time in my postal career the union has an equal part in route adjustments. We have access to all the data being analyzed .In the event that there is a legitimate integrity issue, the matter is addressed immediately.

However, access to data is useless if carriers are hitting on the wrong operation codes. It has come to the attention of the Union that management may be instructing carriers to do just that. It seems that carriers are delivering mail on truck driving operations. If this is occurring in your station it should be brought to the atention of your shop steward.

If you are receiving assistance on the route, in the office, and/or the street, make sure that the person giving the assistance is clocking in on the route. All the time spent on the delivering of routes should be accounted for. If you are receiviing two hours of assistance on any given day and do eight haurs work, on paper it shows that on that day the route only had eight hours worth of work.

Also, on the day that the route is walked (3999) the amount of mail should be representative of an average day. Do not run through your assignment. Take all of your contractual breaks, both in the office and on the street.

If you adhere to the above, the person you will be helping the most is yourself . If you don't, the only person you will be hurting is ...you figure it out.

United We Stand
United we stand. Everyone knows the next three words to this phrase. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. There is strength in numbers.

I'm sure that when these words were first uttered they were meant to inspire a change in the attitude of those who were being addressed at the time. It's not different today.

For the life of me, I can't understand why people would not want to get involved in helping themselves. Even worse are those who think that things will get better on their own, and therefore no effort is required on their part. How sad that is

.I have.been a union member since I began working for the postal service. The importance of being a part of something greater than my self was instilled in me almost from my first day on-the-job. The fact that the first station I worked. in as a carrier in Manhattan, was Grand Central, didn't hurt. It was there that the Strike of 1970 began.

Not only did the carriers back then understand that in order to effect change, something needed be done, they knew to a man that strength lies in numbers, and together they could do what could not be done apart. Think for a moment, if only a handful of carriers would have taken the chance of striking against the feded government. How different do you think our livehoods would be if just a few decided they had had enough?.

I will be foreyer grateful to those who came before me and took up the struggle. The working conditions.that too many take for granted as well as the benefits we enjoy came at a price that too few today would be willing to pay.

Today, at the local level we have a dental and eyeglass voucher that is offered to members of Branch 36 a yearly scholarship program, a health plan that belongs to the members, a life insurance program that is also member-owned which accrues interest and can be borrowed from.

If history were to repeat itself, how many of yon would be willing to stand side by side with those who have never given up the struggle? I thank those of you who are union members. I am grateful to those'who make the small sacrifice of coming to union meeting and events, Every new face.is an addition to a family,that understands the importance of being united and of being there for each other.

The union to me has never been about one person standing alone trying to better his or her own situation. Rather, it has been about challengers on the workfioor, as well as bettering their living conditions through better wages and health benefits.

Now comes the$25,000.00 questions. What will your response be the next time you're asked if you're a union member? What, will you say if someone asks you to go to aunion meeting or event? What will you do when asked to contribute to COLCPE? Will you come and stand next to those of us who understand the meaning.of the phrases in the first paragraph of this article; or will you continue standing alone?

The answers to these questions have never been more important than they are today.

COLCPE
Why should I contribute to COLCPE? What's in it for me? Where does the money go? I can't afford to contribute I have no more overtime. I don't know how to contribute. These are some of the many comments I hear regarding COLCPE

I have to admit that before I became a union activist my political activity was limited to voting in mayoral, senate and presidential elections. It never occurred to me that there was so much more I could do to help those I supported to get elected.

Before I became a union activist it new passed my mind that I should consider how the person I was voting for stood on postal issues, before entering the voting booth. I know better now. The contributions given to COLCPE are used to back politicians who are carrier friendly during their respective campaigns. Our political allies are both Democrats and Republicans. At the risk of being redundant, the Union's only concern is their record on postal issues.

On April 24,2008, retiring representative Michael McNulty received a standig ovation at a breakfast sponsored by the NALC. Congressman McNulty served for 20 years and had a 100 percent COLCPE voting record. Heis one ofmany friends the NALC has in Washington DC

Last year the Union was supporting a bill, (HR1804), that would remove the disparity between CSRS and FERS employees, in reference to unused sick leave upon retirement, On April 1, 2009, the House of Representatives (Congress) passed that bill. It is now before the Senate for their consideration. This did not happen by chance.

Also, last year the Union urged Congress to pass HR 282. This bill would stop the postal service from expading the contracting out of city delivery routes. Be bill passed. For those who are asking why should they care the postal service contracted out routes in the Bronx last year. If it were not for the alertness of the steward at the station and the passage of tliis bill, ydur route might have been the next affected.

More recently, NALC President William Young testified against the eliminatio of the six-day delivery before Congress. You can be sure that our friends were listening. I know that there are some who would welcome a. five-day week but take this into consideration. Your days off would NOT be Saturday and Sunday and with approximately 158,000 routes across the country,there would be no need for about 32,000 cycle floaters.

I am not asking you to contribute to COLCPE for me. I'm telling you that through your contributions you are helping yourselves. If you would like to participate but don't know how, ask the steward at your station. The Branch 36, has come up with a form that you can fill out and we will do the rest. All records are completely confidential and treated with the utmost security.

I know that there are not many of you who were around before the strike of 1970, but if you know somebne who was, ask them how bad it was to work for the postal service back then. Those who forget are doomed to repeat.

So please, do the right thing for yourselves and your families, give to COLCPE; find out how the people you vote for stand on postal issues and if.you have become complacent after these many worry free years, I suggest that it's time you come place ysur @#? in a seat at the next union meeting.

On-The-Job Injury
Under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) carriers that sustain on-the-job injuries are entitled to certain benefits. The benefits include payment of medical services reimbument for lose of wages, and transportation to and f rom medical treatment; Obviously all of the above must be related to the injury an-thejob.

The two most common compensation claims are for traumatic injuries and occupational diseases. A traumatic injury can be best described as having happed within a single workday or shift, and location, and to a specific part or parts of the body.

The first order of business after sustaining an injury is to inform mamgement immediately. Some carriers fail to do so because they either-continue to work out of a sense of obligation, or they don't feel any pain or discoinfort. In both cases the carrier is putting himself/herself in jeopardy. First by continuing to work the injury may be made worse. Secondly, management may dispute the validity of the claim because of the delay in being notified. As a rule inform your supervisor as soon as possible after the injury.

The next thing to do is file a CA-1 (Notics of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/compensation). In the event the injury is so serious that this cannot be done immediately, do so as soon as possible.

Management cannot refuse to supply the CA-1. To do so would be a violation of federal law. It is also against the law to threaten a carrier with discipline for filing a claim. If either of these situations occurs, contact your shop Steward at once.

The injured employee is responsible for filling out the first 15 lines of the form. Make sure to indicate all parts of the body injured Item 15a should be checked. This indicates a choice of continuation of pay (COP), rather than the usage of annual or sick leave, for any time spent out of work due to the injury. You can receive up to a total of 45 days COP. Then ask management to sign the notice of receipt and obtain a copy. If the total disability lasts for less than 14 days, the first three days will require the use of sick or annual leave. For disabilities of 14 days or more, the entire period will be COP.

Total disabilities of more than 45 days will require the filing of a CA-7. Payments received from the CA-7 come from the Labor Department and will be either 2/3 or 3/4 of your gross pay tax-free. The only deductions taken from these payments are life and health insurance.

You must inform any treating physician that your injury occurred on-the-job and that you will be filing for workers compensation. The doctor must now come to a firm diagnosis based on test results (i.e. X-Rays, MRIs or nerve tests). Then the doctor must make a well-reasoned connection between the diagnosed condition and what caused the accident. Failing to make this connection will result in the claim being denied.

Finally, if the.Postal Service ever sends you a waiver of medical information form, don't sign it! Instead, call the branch for instructions on how to proceed.
Therefore, if you get hurt on-the-job:
1. Notify management immediately.
2. Seek medical attention.
3. Inform attending physician that injury occurred on-the-job.
4. Ensure that there is a firm diagnosis and that a connection is made between the injury and what caused said injury.

Let's Do it Again
It's a new year and there is a lot ta be thankful for. We have a Democrat in the White House and we also have a Demacratic Congress. On face value it appears that the country's economy will finally be tuming around.

However, let's not forget that we need to have as many carrier-friendly representatives in Washington as possible. Contributions to. the Committee on Letter Carrier Political Education (COLGPE) is a solution eoward that end.

There are a number of ways to sign up for automatic deductions. You can go online to the Liteblue pages and do so through the Postal Ehse website. You will need your employee ID number. If you have forgotten your PIN it can be reset once you reach the webpage.

In the very near future, the Branch will be able to assist anyone wishing to make contributions automatically by coming to you directly. If you have any questions or need more information, contact your station Steward or call the Branch office.

If you want to keep what was fought for so hard, I encourage you to participate.Remember that what Congress giveth. Congress can taketh awav.




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