Helen Amill
Editor of the Outlook
Outlook July / August 2018
Who is Supervising / Running the Work Floor?
I wrote this article two years ago; however, the information enclosed is just as important today, as it was in the past. Many stations are being run by City Carrier Assistants (CCAs) placed in 204B positions, after working only a few years as letter carriers. They are thrown on the work floor to supervise carriers with many more years of experience, which only aggravates an already explosive situation. It is my hope the readers will see they are not alone and there are ways to overcome the unnecessary stress placed on carriers daily.

Day in and day out, many stations have 204B’s and/or inexperienced supervisors running the work floor who have never once delivered the mail or been considered good workers as letter carriers. These inexperienced supervisors/204Bs, regrettably, lack the training on the inner workings of the carrier function and how to properly run the work floor. It is sad to say, but many also display a negative attitude toward the carriers in general and treat many a hard-working carrier as if they were the enemy.

Many of these same supervisors come into stations and try to intimidate carriers in countless ways. They threaten to put the carriers in an AWOL status if they do not bring in documentation to get paid their much earned annual and sick leave. Carriers also have to deal with constant errors on their pay checks because these supervisors are clueless in correcting pay issues. Over the long term, carriers suffer because nothing is ever done to assist these new supervisors with the proper training that will show them how to get it right.

It should stand to reason that these new supervisors would soon come to the obvious conclusion, but somehow, they don’t. The carriers, whom they are harassing, are willfully helping them meet their goals and provide outstanding service to their customers. Basically, the hard work and long hours delivering the mail not only provide a good service, but it also makes the supervisor look good in the long run. Without the carriers, postal supervisors would surely find themselves standing on the unemployment line or with their heads buried in a newspaper want ads.

What should you do if you are experiencing an unreasonable 204B or supervisor? What possible recourse do you have in addressing the negative attitude some display towards carriers? What measures can you take when you feel a supervisor is harassing you; or worse, threatening your employment?

DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! Keep a detailed record of what happened, and if there are any witnesses, ask them to provide a statement on what was witnessed. Immediately, provide your shop steward with the documentation so he or she may address the problem on your behalf. It’s always best to avoid a shouting match with the supervisor; let the shop steward handle it. In addressing these issues, your highly trained shop steward will help to make the work floor a better place for everyone.

I am sure this is an all too familiar occurrence at many stations and there is a need to correct these issues as swiftly as possible. Now is the time for all carriers to step up to the plate and help put an end to the negative attitude some supervisors display toward our fellow carriers. Provide the shop steward with the detailed documentation and let’s end it once and for all.

Outlook May / June 2018
Dangers of Working in the Heat
In 2017, city letter carriers suffered more than 300 heat-related injuries. Many of them resulted in carriers passing out before they knew what hit them. Some experienced renal failure and a few required more extensive medical treatment. The effects of heat on your system can be affected by various health issues. It is important for management, as well as, all letter carriers to recognize the importance of preventing complications from working in extreme heat conditions. Listed below are symptoms of heat related illnesses and what can be done until medical attention can be administered. I found this information on the National Association of Letter Carriers website and felt it would be beneficial for all letter carriers to read.

Resources: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/index.html - You can find on this website explanations of what employers can do to keep workers safe and what workers need to know, including factors for heat illness, adapting to working in indoor and outdoor heat, protecting workers, recognizing symptoms, and first aid training. The page also includes resources for specific industries and OSHA workplace standards. Also look for heat illness educational and training materials on their publications page.

* Remember, if you are not a medical professional, use this information as a guide only to help workers in need.

Though it is management’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment, it is every employee’s responsibility to take care of him or herself and to take note of any symptoms they may be experiencing before it is too late. So whether you are driving a postal truck, delivering parcels or pushing a cart, we need to keep an eye on each other and speak up when we see something wrong.

Have a safe and healthy summer.

Outlook March / April 2018
Loss of Driving Privileges
There are two ways a letter carrier can lose their driving privileges in the Postal Service.

• When a letter carrier has his/her state-issued license revoked or suspended outside the work place, the letter carrier’s driving privileges are in turn suspended or revoked at work.

• Management can issue a suspension of a letter carrier’s driving privileges, as a result of a letter carrier’s medical condition, an accident or after an allegation that the letter carrier is an unsafe driver.

What should a letter carrier do if they are faced with either of these situations and what protection do they have?

First and foremost, he/she should notify management immediately of the suspension of their driver’s license. It is okay to let them know.

Many feel they will be put up for removal if they lose their driving privileges, since that is one of the requirements of their position. This is incorrect thinking and you are making the wrong assumption. There have been many cases where discipline was issued to a letter carrier for failing to report and/or for driving on a suspended or revoked license.

Article 29 of the National Agreement provides protection for any letter carrier who had the misfortune of losing their driving privileges and specifies that: “Every reasonable effort will be made to reassign such employee for non-driving duties in the employees craft or in other crafts.”

This requirement is not contingent on the letter carrier making a request for non-driving duties; rather that responsibility lies solely on management. When management becomes aware of the situation they must find the letter carrier non-driving duties or place him/her in a pay status until such work can be provided.

In A National Level Arbitration Award, National Level Arbitrator Carlton Snow stated in part:
Article 29 of the agreement with the National Association of Letter Carriers requires the employer to make temporary cross-craft assignments in order to provide work for carriers whose occupational driver’s license has been suspended or revoked ... the employer is without contractual authority to remove such employee.

If any letter carrier should find themselves in this unfortunate situation, notify your shop steward and management immediately. If discipline is issued for the loss of your driver’s license, having knowledge of your rights under Article 29 can avoid any misunderstandings. Shop Stewards should consider citing Arbitrator Snow’s Award (C-18159) in any discipline case related to the loss of driving privileges. Arbitrator Snow made it very clear that management is responsible to find non-driving work for the employee and lacks the contractual authority to remove a letter carrier from their employment because he/she loses their occupational driving privileges. Knowing is half the battle.

I wish you and your family a very Happy and Healthy Easter.

Outlook January / February 2018
Vehicle Operations
Driving a postal vehicle may be one of the duties of a letter carrier. It is essential to recognize what the responsibilities may entail if the vehicle is not functioning properly.

There appear to be more and more reports of postal vehicles breaking down. Another issue to add to the mix is carriers driving trucks with cracked or broken mirrors, and doors and windows not functioning properly. Despite these safety issues management is still instructing carriers, especially the CCAs, to drive these vehicles regardless. What should you do if you are experiencing an issue with a postal vehicle?

The M-41 sections 81 through 84 outline the responsibilities of letter carriers and the safety practices to follow while operating a postal vehicle.

811.1 Responsibility of Carrier

811.11 Be sure you are qualified to drive the vehicle assigned to you and maintain a valid state driver’s license.
811.12 Advise your immediate manager of suspension or revocation of your state license.

812 Safety Practices

812.1 Practice safety in the office and on the route.
812.2 Observe all traffic regulations prescribed by law. Rules applying to the public also apply to operators of postal vehicles.
812.3 Seatbelts must be worn at all times while the vehicle is in motion. Exception for Long Life Vehicles: In instances when the shoulder belt prevents the driver from reaching to provide delivery or collection from curbside mailboxes, only the shoulder belt may be unfastened. The lap belt must remain fastened at all times while the vehicle is in motion.
812.31 When traveling to and from the route, when moving between park and relay points, and when entering or crossing intersecting roadways, all external vehicle doors must be closed. When operating a vehicle with sliding driver’s cab doors on delivery routes and traveling in intervals of 500 feet (1/10 mile) or less at speeds not exceeding 15 MPH between delivery stops, the right-hand sliding cab door may be left open.
812.32 For vehicles with separate driver and cargo compartments, only working mail should be kept in the driver’s compartment while performing delivery and collection duties, interior cargo doors (if any) may be kept in the “open” position to accommodate authorized passengers being transported in auxiliary seating, operator use of cargo area windows (if any), or to aid airflow. Consider the nature of mail or equipment being transported and use good judgment in deciding when an open internal door is suitable and will not interfere with the safety of vehicle operations. Internal cargo doors must be closed and locked when the vehicle is parked. (see 822.e)

832 Inspecting Vehicle - Exhibit 832.1

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE EXPANDED VEHICLE SAFETY CHECK
1. Look under body for oil and water leaks.
2. Inspect two front tires for inflation and wear.
3. Check hood latches
4. Check front for body damage.
5. Check left side for body damage.
6. Check left door lock.
7. Check for rear end leaks.
8. Check all rear tires for inflation and wear.
9. Check rear for body damage.
10. Check rear door lock.
11. Check right side for body damage.
12. Check right door lock.
13. Open door and move into driving position.
14. Start engine. (If in enclosed area, wait until after step 21.)
15. With assistance - adjust pot-lid and left front mirror.
16. With assistance - check headlights, tail lights, brake lights, 4-way flashers,
and directional signals, front and rear.
17. Adjust right side rear view mirror.
18. Adjust center rearview mirror.
19. Check steering wheel play.
20. Check accident report kit.
21. Check window locks.
22. Check windshield wipers and washers.
23. Check horn.
24. Check gauges (gas gage requires 30 seconds for “warm-up”).
25. Check foot brake (no more than 2 inches free play),
26. Check hand brake.
27. Check seat belt and fasten.

Management must allow all drivers enough time to conduct the 27-point vehicle safety check prior to using a postal vehicle. If you are not allowed the proper amount of time to inspect the vehicle, you must notify the shop steward in the station immediately. If you find that the assigned vehicle has mechanical defects, fill out a PS Form 4565 and inform management immediately. Management will need to assign you to another vehicle.

Whether we drive a vehicle every day or on rare occasions, it is vital for all letter carriers to familiarize themselves with the responsibilities and safety practices when operating a postal vehicle. Safety should be a number one priority for all postal employees, as well as for the safety of the public we serve.

Outlook November / December 2017
Looking Back
It is hard to believe that 2017 is almost over and soon we will be ringing in 2018. As I look over the many accomplishments achieved by Branch 36, I am extremely proud to be a part of this great union. It is always advantageous to reminisce about where the journey began, how far we have gotten, and where we predestine ourselves to be in the future. In this article I chose to reflect on some significant milestones; but I am finding myself sidetracked as I look forward to future objectives and possible stepping stones on the path to even greater success.

January 2017 was a busy month. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, which clearly was a defeat for unions. Vice President John Springman reminded all union members that we cannot give up, we cannot quit. The Congressional Delegation is with us 100 percent. We are funding the fight through the Letter Carrier Political Fund and it is vital that all members participate. We can’t do it alone, we need everyone.

On May 4th, 2017, we kicked off the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, which was held at the Food Pantry on 86th Street and West End Avenue. Some of the highlights consisted of a tour of the pantry, witnessing firsthand how many individuals benefited from the pantry, and the deep gratitude shown towards all letter carriers. There are many families and individuals that would go hungry if these pantries were not available. Each year in May, the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive assists in replenishing these pantries.

In June of 2017, Tentative Agreement Ballots were sent out to all the members to vote for approval or denial. Some of those highlights were: three pay increases and seven COLA’s; CCAs receiving the same three pay increases; plus an additional 1.0 percent raise. Former TEs will also receive an additional raise, retirees will receive retroactive pay, CCAs will get six paid holidays (8 hours paid) and CCAs with 30 or more months of employment will become career employees. The ballots were counted in mid-August.

July 25, 2017 was a somber time for Branch 36; our beloved Executive Vice President John Springman passed away. His absence is felt by everyone. We not only lost a friend, but a strong union brother. John fought for all his union brothers and sisters with every fiber of his being. Though he is not with us, his memory will live on forever in all those who knew him.

On September 6, 2017, NALC President Frederic Rolando signed the ratified 2016-2019 National Agreement between the NALC and the USPS. CCAs with 30 months of relative standing prior to August 7, 2017 were converted to career employee status. There was also a catastrophic event in September when the first hurricane covered the entire Island of Puerto Rico, from one end to the other. The extreme force knocked out power lines and wiped out roads causing massive losses throughout the entire island. Many have been left without water and power and struggling for the bare necessities. Shop Stewards jumped into action and took up a monetary collection at their stations for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Branch 36 stepped up too and matched dollar for dollar all collected money and was sent to aid our brothers and sisters in these hard-hit areas.

From October 16 through November 14, 2017, Branch 36 and the USPS met to discuss the Local Memorandum for Manhattan and the Bronx. I am delighted to say that President Charlie Heege was successful in negotiating the Local Memorandum of Understanding. President Heege commented, “This is the first time in twenty-five years of negotiations that Branch 36 didn’t have to go to Arbitration.” It seems that management finally came to their senses this time. Another highlight in October happened when President Heege named Pascual Ortiz as the new Executive Vice President of Branch 36. We anticipate good things ahead from him. Though he has big shoes to fill, he also is a great asset to Branch 36 and will serve the union well.

November’s meeting was cancelled and replaced with a Memorial for our beloved Executive Vice President John Springman. Many spoke of their time with John and shared cherished memories. A plaque was made in his honor and will hang on the wall in Branch 36 Headquarters beside the plaques of past presidents.

Now that we are fast approaching 2018 and I reflect on all that Branch 36 has accomplished for its members, all I can say is I am excited and look forward to all the great things that are right around the corner.

I wish you and your families a blessed and healthy Holiday Season.

Outlook September / October 2017
Knowledge Is Power
In some post offices, managers are allowing letter carriers to be treated in ways, which create a hostile and toxic work environment. Some letter carriers fear retaliation and remain silent, which in turn allows the abuse to linger and feelings of powerlessness and of hopelessness to persist.

There is never a legitimate reason for management to treat letter carriers in a way, which lacks dignity and respect. Some common causes of mistreatment by those running the work floor are as follows: pressure to make the numbers to meet workload projections, unhappiness with a carrier’s performance, a personal dislike of the individual, poor management skills, or simply a lack of respect for others. These are only a few examples that contribute to a supervisor’s mistreatment of letter carriers through harassment, intimidation, bullying and unsafe working conditions.

What should you do if you experience or witness these mistreatments in your station? The first step you should take is to notify your shop steward so he or she can initiate a grievance to end management’s abuse and improve the work environment. Management is contractually obligated to maintain an atmosphere of dignity and respect on the work floor. Listed below are contractual provisions management violates when they fail to maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect for employees.

• Article 14, Section 1 of the National Agreement is violated because by the supervisor threatening the letter carrier with “the consequences” and trying to bully him or her into making the numbers, the supervisor is in effect not providing safe working conditions because the pending threat of discipline places the employee in a position of choosing between safety and job security.

• ELM, Section 665.24 is violated by the intimidation and threats, as the Postal Service is committed to the principle that all employees have a basic right to a safe and humane working environment. In order to ensure this right, there must be no tolerance of violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation or bullying by anyone at any level. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action, including removal from the Postal Service.

• The Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace is violated based on the agreement that every employee at every level of the Postal Service should be treated at all times with dignity, respect and fairness. As the Joint Statement confirms, threatening an employee to make the numbers is not an excuse for the abuse of anyone.

Knowledge is power and by educating yourself on the contractual obligation placed upon management to provide safe working conditions where all employees are treated with dignity and respect, we can together end the harassment, intimidation, bullying and unsafe working conditions management continues to display on the work floor. Under no circumstances should letter carriers be forced to work in a hostile or unsafe environment.

In closing, I would like to express my congratulations to Pascual Ortiz, the new Executive Vice President. We look forward to good things ahead for Branch 36.

Outlook July / August 2017
Who is Supervising the Work Floor?
This article was written over a year ago; however, this information is still as relevant today as it was back then. Many carriers are still suffering at the hands of inexperienced supervisors/204B’s, who are running the work floor. Carriers call out for various reasons including stress, but sometimes worse than that. Some have yelling matches with their supervisors/204B’s and are in the process of being placed on Emergency Suspensions. My hope is that this information will assist carriers, who feel they are being intimidated or threatened by inexperienced supervisors/204B’s.

Day in and day out, many stations have 204B’s and/or inexperienced supervisors running the work floor who have never once delivered the mail or been considered good workers as letter carriers. These inexperienced supervisors, regrettably, lack the training on the inner workings of the carrier function and how to properly run the work floor. It is sad to say, but many also display a negative attitude toward the carriers in general, and treat many a hard-working carrier, as if they were the enemy.

Many of these same supervisors come into stations and try to intimidate carriers in countless ways. They threaten to put the carriers on AWOL status if they do not bring in documentation to get paid their much earned annual and sick leave. Carriers also have to deal with constant errors on their paychecks because these supervisors are clueless in correcting pay issues. Over the long term, carriers suffer because nothing is ever done to assist these new supervisors with the proper training that will show them how to get it right.

It should stand to reason that these new supervisors would soon come to the obvious conclusion, but somehow they don’t. The carriers, whom they are harassing, are willfully helping them meet their goals and providing outstanding service to their customers. Basically, the hard work and long hours delivering the mail not only provide a good service, but it also makes the supervisor look good in the long run. Without the carriers, postal supervisors would surely find themselves standing on the unemployment line or with their head buried in a newspaper help-wanted ad.

What should you do if you are experiencing an unreasonable 204B or supervisor? What possible recourse do you have in addressing the negative attitude some display toward carriers? What measures can you take when you feel a supervisor is harassing you, or worse, threatening your employment? Document! Document! Document! Keep a detailed record of what happened, where it happened, and if there are any witnesses, ask them to provide a statement on what was witnessed. Immediately, provide your shop steward with the documentation so he or she may address the problem on your behalf. It’s always best to avoid a shouting match with the supervisor, so let the shop steward handle it. In addressing these issues, your highly-trained shop steward will help to make the work floor a better place for everyone.

I am sure this is an all too familiar occurrence at many stations and there is a need to correct these issues as swiftly as possible. Now is the time for all carriers to step up to the plate and help put an end to the negative attitude some supervisors display on the work floor. Provide the shop steward with the detailed documentation and let’s end it once and for all.

It is with heartfelt sorrow that I say goodbye to our Executive Vice-President John Springman. John was a mentor and a friend, who was readily available to assist me whenever I needed him. I will always remember our talks and the passion he showed whenever our union brothers and sisters were treated unfairly by management or by injury comp. John was continuously fighting for our injured brothers and sisters. Though he is no longer with us, he will never be forgotten by those he touched and the memories we shared. Rest in Peace, John, you will be truly missed

Outlook May / June 2017
For Your Information
Recently, there has been an influx of disciplinary action issued against carriers concerning attendance. The charges are being issued for unscheduled absences of three or more days, within a ninety-day period. Management feels justified in issuing this action; citing the ELM, as a point of reference, to support their charges. Therefore, as union representatives, we must examine in great detaill what the ELM reveals in order to be successful in defending carriers against such disciplinary action.

511.4 Unscheduled Absence
Unscheduled absences are any absences from work that are not requested and approved in advance.

665.41 Requirement of Regular Attendance
Employees are required to be regular in attendance. Failure to be regular in attendance may result in disciplinary action, including removal from the Postal Service.

Examination of the ELM 511.4 and ELM 665.41 does not determine three (3) absences in a ninety (90) day period establish justification to issue discipline. Management must abide by National Arbitrator Garrett’s Settlement when it comes to issuing discipline for unscheduled absences.

C-03231 National Arbitrator Garrett November 19,1979 NC-NAT-16285
Whether the Postal Service properly may impose discipline upon an employee for “excessive absenteeism” or “failure to maintain a regular schedule” when the absences on which the charges are based include absences on approved sick leave must be determined on a case-by-case basis under the provisions of Article XVI (16).

When management lumps all carriers into the same mold in order to issue discipline; the union needs to demonstrate with their actions that management is being punitive and not corrective. Shop stewards must be prepared to show that although there are some carriers, who may not be regular in attendance; most carriers overall, have good sick leave records. As union representatives, we must make sure that all unscheduled absences are viewed on a case by case basis, as specified by National Arbitrator Garrett. It’s time to diligently demonstrate that one size does not fit all to management.

Outlook March / April 2017
Writing an Effective Statement
Written statements are extremely important when addressing carrier issues on the work floor. Your statement should not only help the reader visualize what happened, but how you were affected by the particular incident. Statements must be clearly written and contain specific details. One way to accomplish this is to write your statement while the details are still fresh in your mind. This will prevent consequential details from being lost in the translation.

Below is a statement that was recently presented at a Training Seminar. It describes allegations of supervisor misconduct on the workroom floor. Take note of how it focuses on the facts, rather than the emotions.

I asked Supervisor X for a 3996 today (8-30-13) at 9 am while I was casing my route. When I asked him for a 3996 he became very angry and started raising his voice, screaming that I didn’t need a 3996. He got up from his desk, which is about 30 feet from my case and rushed toward me. His fists were clenched and his face was red. He stepped into my case and came within three (3) inches of my face. He kept yelling that I did not need any help to complete my route and that I had enough under time to take half an hour from another route. I thought he was going to physically attack me. This isn’t the first time he behaved this way.

This statement is descriptive, focuses on the facts and aids the reader to clearly visualize the event that occurred.

To write an effective statement: remember, do not express personal opinions, simply stick to the important events which took place. Use the following questions to prepare a flawless statement.
1) Who was involved?
2) What happened?
3) What did you see or hear?
4) Where did it take place?
5) When did the event take place (date and time)?
6) Where were you when it occurred?

Remember, the quality of your statement will determine whether the grievance is successful or not. It will also provide your shop stewards with the tools needed to address work floor issues

Outlook January / February 2017
Who is Supervising the Work Floor?
Many of you are still asking this same question and therefore, I am resubmitting my article from the March /April 2016 Issue of the Outlook for review.

Day in and day out, many stations have 204B’s and/or inexperienced supervisors running the work floor who have never once delivered the mail, or have been considered good workers as letter carriers. These inexperienced supervisors, regrettably, lack the training on the inner workings of the carrier function and on how to properly run the work floor. It is sad to say, but many also display a negative attitude towards the carriers in general. They treat hard-working carriers as if they were the enemy.

Many of these same supervisors come into stations and try to intimidate carriers in countless ways. They threaten to put the carriers on AWOL status if they do not bring in documentation to get paid their much earned annual and sick leave. Carriers also have to deal with constant errors on their paychecks because these supervisors are clueless with regards to correcting pay issues. In the long term, carriers suffer because nothing is ever done to assist these new supervisors with the proper training that would show them how to get it right.

It should stand to reason that these new supervisors would soon come to the obvious conclusion, but somehow they don’t. The carriers, whom they are harassing, are willfully helping them meet their goals and providing outstanding service to their customers. Basically, the hard work and long hours delivering the mail not only provide a good service, but it also makes the supervisor look good in the long run. Without the carriers, postal supervisors would surely find themselves standing on the unemployment line or with their head buried in a newspaper want ad section.

What should you do if you are experiencing an unreasonable 204B or supervisor? What possible recourse do you have in addressing the negative attitude some display toward carriers? What measures can you take when you feel a supervisor is harassing you, or worse, threatening your employment? Document! Document! Document! Keep a detailed record of what happened, where it happened, and if there are any witnesses, ask them to provide a statement on what was witnessed. Immediately provide your shop steward with the documentation so he or she may address the problem on your behalf. It’s always best to avoid a shouting match with the supervisor, so let the shop steward handle it. In addressing these issues, your highly-trained shop steward will help make the work floor a better place for everyone.

I am sure this is an all too familiar occurrence at many stations and there is a need to correct these issues as swiftly as possible. Now is the time for all carriers to step up to the plate and help put an end to the negative attitude some supervisors display on the work floor. Provide the shop steward with the detailed documentation and let’s end it once and for all.

Outlook November / December 2016
Safety Rules and Regulations Benefit Everyone
If I asked who the responsible party is in providing a safe work environment? The immediate response would be management. Though that response would be valid, it is also important that everyone makes sure that safety rules are being followed. Some carriers are unconsciously picking up bad habits while performing their assignments. It is important to identify those bad habits and make corrections so injuries can be avoided.

A few notable examples are drivers who do not regularly conduct vehicle inspections to ensure their trucks are in proper working condition or placing vehicle repair tags as needed. Carriers are also not wearing seatbelts, leaving side doors open while driving, texting, and or talking on cellphones. Some carriers feel it is a petty nuisance and a waste of time if they are merely traveling short distances. Unfortunately, this mindset causes distractions and accidents and worse yet, sometimes loss of life. The Postal Service is implementing programs to deter these unsafe practices. Corrective action teams ranging from the Area Managers to Supervisors are doing street observations looking for unsafe practices by drivers.

Some route carriers are unknowingly picking up bad habits as well. Some do not bend their knees when picking up tubs of flats, which can cause back injuries. Many are lifting multiple tubs of flats just to avoid going back and forth to the relay skid or carrying tubs or mail down the stairs because the elevator in the station takes too long to come to the carrier floor. By far, the worst case scenario happens when carriers push their pushcarts loaded with mail down the stairs in an attempt to deliver their parcels in a timely manner rather than to wait for elevators, which are in use and too slow in the carrier’s opinion. Although the carrier’s intentions are to give good service to their customers, these are all dangerous accidents waiting to happen.

It is important for all postal employees to make sure safety rules and regulations are being followed because safety must come first. In the same way, Shop Stewards are diligent in ensuring that management is abiding by Article 14 of the National Agreement by providing a safe work environment; employees must also demonstrate the same diligence and abide by the safety rules and regulations in place. It is not only for one’s own safety, but for the safety of fellow employees as well. We want you to return home to your families the same way you arrived to work. You are the most important delivery! Remember safety always come first!

In closing, I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

Outlook September / October 2016
Surveillance
Modern technology has come a long way to become vastly sophisticated. The Postal Service has jumped on board in that same pursuit and is now implementing new programs that allow them to monitor letter carriers’ street and office time. Management is then using that data to discipline carriers. These programs are used in conjunction with the scanners that carriers utilize in their daily functions.

The Postal Service has a large room where monitors are viewed daily by management to locate employees with the push of a button. Once they encounter a carrier being idle, not scanning MSP scans or parcels, a message is sent to the manager of the station. The manager is then instructed to take a scanner, input their EIN number and intercept the carrier at that location. From that point on, the manager is being monitored to ensure they are traveling to the carrier’s location. Management is instructed to meet up with the employee and evaluate the situation to find out why they have remained idle for 45 minutes. If the carrier is unable to explain the reason, the manager must return to the station, report his or her findings to higher officials and discipline must be issued.

All letter carriers need to be informed of this new program and to be reminded to scan, scan, scan. Scan each parcel barcode and scan every MSP in your buildings. Scanning will give your union representative the tools needed to defeat any discipline action management might bring against you. It will give the union the documentation needed to prove that you were at that location for a given period of time and for good reason. We can defeat any discipline management brings against you should you do so.

Some carriers neglect to scan MSP or parcels because they believe it is a way for management to track them. Remember, you are already being tracked with the GPS in your scanners and also with this new technology. Give your shop stewards the tools they need to defend you against management’s disciplinary actions. I reiterate: scan, scan, and scan. There is no need to worry about these new implementations if you are where you are supposed to be and doing what you are supposed to be doing. Should you be approached on your route by management, inform your shop steward immediately. Should you be called into the manager’s office to sign papers regarding your discussion, do not sign. Always ask for union representation; remember, you are not required to sign anything but your paycheck.

It's No Longer a Man's World, Women's Place

Outlook July / August 2016
What Should You Do?
Many of you may have experienced the following situation at your station and if so, what did you do? The situation: the mail has been delivered and you return to your station. Your only thoughts at this particular moment should be to: return your valuables, the arrow key and scanner, take your wash-up time, end your tour and go home. Therefore, you head straight for the Registered Cage so the clerk can clear you of your arrow key, scanner and valuables which include: Certified mail, Registered mail, COD, and Express Mail. However, when you arrive at your destination, the Registered Cage; nobody is there. What should you do?

Understandably, after a long day, many carriers are in a rush to go home; consequently, they leave their valuables, key and scanners on the ledge in front of the Registered Cage before ending their tour and leaving for the day without giving it a second thought. These same carriers and many others wonder,

“What’s wrong with that?” They maintain, “I am not going to wait around for someone to show up! That is management’s responsibility to have someone available to clear me.”

Those carriers happen to be correct; it is management’s responsibility to have a clerk there to clear you. However, it is also your responsibility to make sure you are cleared at the end of your tour. Remember, you alone signed for the valuables, arrow key and scanner. If any or all of those items wind up missing, you are the only one who will be held accountable. Management’s first action will be to call the Postal Inspectors to report the arrow key and Accountable Mail missing and to inform them how you were the last one to have them in your possession.

What should you do if you are faced with this situation? I would like to paraphrase an article that was written in the April 15, 2015 Outlook by Second Vice President Patrick McNally.

“Letter Carriers have to protect themselves when handling Accountable Mail, Certified, Registered, Insured, COD’s and Express Mail. They must be cleared of all of these items at the end of their tour. There is a form 3821, which is a receipt that proves you have been cleared.”

“When stuff turns up missing, carriers are being arrested and taken into Criminal Court. If there is no one in the cage, stand there until someone arrives to clear you and wait as long as it takes to receive your clearance receipt, 3821.”

Should management tell you that they do not have the form 3821, simply fill out a buck slip or any other sheet of paper clearly describing the Accountable Mail (ex: 3 Certified letter, 2 Registered letters, arrow key, scanner and any other Accountable Mail, which you signed for), have it signed or initialed by your supervisor and leave the Accountable items in their possession. This will serve as proof that you were cleared and it will now be on management should something turn up missing. Management is responsible to have someone in the Cage to clear you, but always remember it is also your responsibility to make sure you are cleared.

The above mentioned information can be found in the M-41 on page 62 under Registered and Certified. You can also find the M-41, as well as other handbooks and manuals on the NYLCBR36.org website. If you should experience any problems with management following the correct protocol for clearing you of accountable items, please contact your shop steward and he or she will initiate a grievance for you.

Outlook May / June 2016
For Your Information
During my visits to various stations, I have come across many City Carrier Assistants with numerous questions concerning what they are entitled to as employees. Many questions were likewise asked by newly converted City Carrier Assistants, who have since become career employees in the Postal Service. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to address the most frequently asked questions.

Question: Can management terminate a CCA while he or she is on furlough?
Answer: No.
Q: Do CCA’s receive Sunday premium?
A: CCA’s do not receive Sunday premium.
Q: Can CCA’s be taken off a temporary hold down”
A: Yes, when a full time carrier does not have 8 hours of work in a service day.
Q: How long does a newly hired CCA have to wait before they can bid on a temporary hold down?
A: 60 calendar days from the date of appointment.
Q: Are there a number of hours a CCA may be scheduled to work?
A: Yes, no more than 12 hours in 1 service day, including scheduled work hours, overtime and mealtime.
Q: Do CCA’s receive Bereavement Leave?
A: Yes, CCA’s may request annual leave or leave without pay for bereavement purposes.
Q: Do newly converted CCA’s carry any annual leave balance over?
A: No, CCA’s receive payment for any leave balance at the end of the CCA appointment.
Q: Does a newly converted CCA have a waiting period before they can bid on a permanent assignment?
A: Yes, 90 days.
Q: How long does a newly converted CCA have to wait before they can bid for vacation bids?
A: 90 days.

These are but a few of the questions many CCA’s inquire about. If your question wasn’t listed, more information can be found on the Branch 36 website at NYLCBR36.org under CCA Resource Guide. I will address other carrier issues in future articles. Have a safe and healthy summer.

Outlook March / April 2016
Who is Supervising the Work Floor?
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Membership for their vote of confidence in our team. I am very proud and grateful to be a part of it all.
Who is Supervising the Work Floor?
Day in and day out, many stations have 204B’s and/or inexperienced supervisors running the work floor who have never once delivered the mail or been considered good workers as letter carriers. These inexperienced supervisors, regrettably, lack the training on the inner workings of the carrier function and how to properly run the work floor. It is sad to say, but many also display a negative attitude toward the carriers in general, and treat many a hard working carrier as if they were the enemy.

Many of these same supervisors come into stations and try to intimidate carriers in countless ways. They threaten to put the carriers on AWOL status if they do not bring in documentation to get paid their much earned annual and sick leave. Carriers also have to deal with constant errors on their paychecks because these supervisors are clueless in correcting pay issues. In the long term, carriers suffer because nothing is ever done to assist these new supervisors with the proper training that will show them how to get it right.

It should stand to reason that these new supervisors would soon come to the obvious conclusion, but somehow they don’t. The carriers, whom they are harassing, are willfully helping them meet their goals and providing outstanding service to their customers. Basically, the hard work and long hours delivering the mail not only provide a good service, but it also makes the supervisor look good in the long run. Without the carriers, postal supervisors would surely find themselves standing on the unemployment line or with their head buried in a newspaper want ad.

What should you do if you are experiencing an unreasonable 204B or supervisor? What possible recourse do you have in addressing the negative attitude some display toward carriers? What measures can you take when you feel a supervisor is harassing you; or worse, threatening your employment? Document! Document! Document! Keep a detailed record of what happened, where it happened, and if there are any witnesses, ask them to provide a statement on what was witnessed. Immediately, provide your shop steward with the documentation so he or she may address the problem on your behalf. It’s always best to avoid a shouting match with the supervisor; let the shop steward handle it. In addressing these issues, your highly trained shop steward will help to make the work floor a better place for everyone.

I am sure this is an all too familiar occurrence at many stations and there is a need to correct these issues as swiftly as possible. Now is the time for all carriers to step up to the plate and help put an end to the negative attitude some supervisors display on the work floor. Provide the shop steward with the detailed documentation and let’s end it once and for all.

Outlook January / February 2016
Handling Management’s Pressures on a Daily Basis
Carriers are constantly facing pressure from managers to “make the numbers”, to deliver more mail than one could realistically handle in the time frame given. What should a carrier do when faced with this situation?

Here is some useful advice on how to deal with a supervisor with unrealistic expectations and how to properly fill out a PS Form 3996.

1) Verbally inform your supervisor if you believe you cannot complete your assignment in eight-hours or in the time frame given. Advance notice must be given prior to the scheduled leaving time or the final sweep.

2) Once you inform your supervisor and state your reason for the request with a clear explanation of why you are unable to complete the assignment, you must request a PS Form 3996 for overtime or auxiliary assistance. Whether the form is approved or denied, be sure to get a copy from the supervisor. Should the form be denied, immediately notify your shop steward.

3) Fill the form out completely and state why you believe you cannot complete your assignment in the allotted time. Describe what type of mail, for example: utility bills, full set of Every Door Delivery Mail, Accountable Mail, etc. Comments such as heavy volume, over-burdened route, and weather conditions are not acceptable. You must unequivocally explain what will prevent you from returning at the assigned time.

4) Remember to keep your cool. Do not lose your temper. Yelling or angry behavior never helps the situation. If your PS Form 3996 is denied, ask your supervisor for his or her input on what to do with the mail. Should the supervisor be inflexible and demand that you deliver the mail in the allotted time frame, do not argue. Simply inform you supervisor that you will do the best you can. Arguing with the supervisor will not change their mind or the situation, so stay calm. Be sure to take your lunch and breaks, and under no circumstances should you rush through the route. Remember, it will only hurt you and prove management right if you rush through.

5) Do not decide yourself, leave the decision to the supervisor. The best way to handle this situation is to call your supervisor at least one and a half or two hours prior to your return time. Explain to your supervisor where you are and how long it will take you to finish. He or she must be the one to decide what you should do: bring the mail back or deliver it. It’s their call.

Management will always continue to put pressure on carriers to do more than what is realistically possible. In order to avoid the undo stress and threat of disciplinary action for unauthorized overtime or failure to follow instructions that will surely follow. Remember to follow these simple steps listed and fill out the PS Form 3996 properly. In doing so, you will not only give your supervisor a clear picture of the situation, but you will give your shop steward a better chance of successfully defending you, should the need arise. For further information on this subject or other work floor issues, go to the NALC.org website under the heading of Work Place Issues.

Outlook November / December 2015
Do you remember when you walked into your station for the first time? Did you feel overwhelmed because there was so much to learn and remember? Being a letter carrier wasn’t as easy as you thought, was it? Thankfully, we had senior carriers that took the initiative and helped and guided us through it all. Our new CCA’s will be experiencing these same feelings when they enter their stations for the first time. The question now becomes who will be responsible for assisting, teaching and guiding our CCA’s.

I read an article recently in the National Activist, which is a newsletter for Branch Leaders of the National Association of Letter Carriers. I felt this article was important enough to be shared, so I am passing it on to you.

“Mentor” or “mentoring” are powerful words. The words encompass so many different attributes: teaching, counseling, guiding, tutoring, supporting, advising and just plain old caring. We all have memories of our first few days or weeks as a brand new letter carrier. We quickly learned that carrying the mail was not as easy as it looks. After a few days of being humbled by the job, most of us turned to senior carriers for advice. In most offices, senior carriers are willing to go the extra mile to teach the ropes of being a letter carrier. This is mentoring.

Here are some commonly used mentoring techniques:
1 - Being there: Make a commitment in a caring way, which involves taking part in the learning process side-by-side with new letter carriers. Let them know you intend to help them through their probationary period and until they reach an acceptable comfort level with their new job.
2 - Showing: Make something understandable, or use your own example to demonstrate a skill or activity. You can explain the ins and outs of day to day tasks and help get the new carriers work done more quickly and efficiently.
3 - Sowing: Sow seeds of future understanding. You know what you say may not be immediately understood by new letter carriers, but will make sense and have value a little later.
4 - Harvesting: “Pick the ripe fruit” or create awareness of what new letter carriers have learned from their experiences and help them draw conclusions about their work and the union. If the new letter carrier is not a member, sign him/her up.

Many feel that the Letter Carriers Academy and the on the job instructors at the stations are solely responsible for training new letter carriers. However, this article demonstrated union delegates, as well as, senior carriers play a vital role in mentoring new CCA’s that enter the letter carrier craft.

Don’t leave it up to someone else to take the initiative, we should never forget that we were new employees once and how grateful we were that someone took the time to mentor us and guide us. If we don’t mentor these new letter carriers, we are leaving the door open for negative influences and wrong information that could violate their contractual rights or worse, cause them to lose their job. So let each and every one of us step up to the plate and have a long, lasting effect on our new letter carriers by being a mentor for them and showing them we are there to teach, counsel, tutor, support, advise, care and show we are willing to go the extra mile in assisting them. The CCA’s are the future of the Postal Service and we want to guide them so they can be the best that they could be.

Outlook September / October 2015
I would personally like to thank and congratulate all letter carriers who were affected by the Pope’s visit and the United Nations Assembly. I know it was extremely difficult getting around the city and it made delivery to our customers challenging. But, as always, Letter Carriers rallied and got the job done. Now back to business as usual.

Many letter carriers have been working long hours to guarantee quality service for our customers. In some stations, carriers are working until 11:00 in the evening, delivering parcels. This leaves many carriers asking questions: “Can management have carriers delivering parcels until 11:00 p.m.?” and “Isn’t it a safety issue?” There is a limit to the amount of hours CCA’s, ODL Carriers and non-ODL Carriers can be required to work. These restrictions are found in the ELM Section 432.32 and in the JCAM Article 8, Section 5.G.

For CCA’s and Non ODL Carriers, the ELM Section 432.32 applies:
Except as designated in labor agreements for bargaining unit employees or in emergency situations, as determined by the PMG (or designee), employees may not be required to work more than 12 hours in 1 service day. In addition, the total hours of daily service, including scheduled work hours, overtime, and mealtime, may not extend over a period longer than 12 consecutive hours.

Because this ELM provision limits total daily hours, including work and mealtime, to 12 hours, an employee is limited to 11½ hours per day of work plus ½ hour for meals.

For ODL Carriers, the JCAM Article 8 section 5.G applies:
Full-time employees not on the “Overtime Desired” list may be required to work overtime only if all available employees on the “Overtime Desired” list have worked up to twelve (12) hours in a day or sixty (60) hours in a service week. Employees on the “Overtime Desired” list:

1) May be required to work up to twelve (12) hours in a day or sixty (60)
hours in a service week (subject to payment of penalty overtime pay set
forth in Section 4.D for contravention of Section 5.F); and

2) Excluding December, shall be limited to no more than twelve (12) hours
of work in a day and no more than sixty (60) hours of work in a service
week.

Article 8.5.G provides that employees on the Overtime Desired List may be required to work up to 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week. It further provides that the 12 and 60 hour restrictions do not apply to employees on the Overtime Desired List during the month of December.

These exceptions do not apply to City Carrier Assistants, part-time employees or full-time employees who are not on the Overtime Desired List, all of whom are effectively limited to 11½ hours per day by the ELM Section 432.32, even during December.

Always remember, your safety comes first. If during the course of a day, you are physically or mentally unable to complete your assignment in a safe manner, notify your supervisor of your situation through a P.S. Form 3971.

Outlook July / August 2015
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer vacation. For the letter carriers delivering the mail on these hot, hazy, lazy days of summer, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids.

There has been an ongoing complaint from our newly converted CCA’s regarding their uniform allowance. Many CCA’s that were converted, in May of 2015, have not received their uniform allowance prior to; nor after their conversion of becoming a career employee. Executive Vice President John Springman mentioned this matter in the May/June Issue of the Outlook, but it apparently fell on deaf ears. When management was approached on the subject, their response was: “We don’t know how to fill out the forms.” Odd words coming from managers who have been on the job for years. One must wonder are these mere excuses or are they truly inept at filling out forms. In the meantime, management is giving PDI’s and issuing disciplinary action to carriers that are not wearing proper uniforms; yet, they have done nothing to provide these same employees with the contractual uniform allowance for which they are entitled.

President Charlie Heege is actively pursuing this ongoing issue by sending emails to the postmaster and various other departments of the Postal Service. He has let everyone involved know that this is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately. In some stations, management has provided the union with the Uniform Allowance Request Worksheet to demonstrate that they have been trying to provide these carriers with their uniforms and is unsure of the reason for the delay. President Charlie Heege stated in his email and I quote, “This should not have to take a grievance filing.” This issue has been going on long enough and it is time for it to stop! Many newly converted CCA’s are wearing uniforms that don’t fit, or worse, paying out of pocket for uniforms. The lack of concern on management’s part, after all of our attempts to remedy the situation, demonstrates that grievance filing is the only recourse we have in correcting this issue.

If you are experiencing this issue in your station or if any newly converted CCA is experiencing problems with their uniform allowance, contact your shop steward so a grievance can be submitted on your behalf.

Outlook May / June 2015
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself since this is the first article I am writing under my appointed position as Director of City Delivery. I have been a Letter Carrier assigned to Oscar Garcia Station aka Hellgate Station since 1996 and was elected Shop Steward and designated Formal-A Representative in 2007. I was also appointed as a Formal-A Representative for seven stations in the Manhattan Installation in 2009.

I have had the honor of assisting Second Vice President Patrick McNally as a Technical Assistant on numerous Arbitration Hearings. These experiences have sparked the desire in me to reach my goal of becoming an Advocate for the Union. You can imagine my elation when I was asked to attend the Arbitration Training Academy at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum, Maryland during the week of May 17, 2015. I proudly declare that I am now an Arbitration Advocate of Branch 36.

I have had many great moments; and one in particular that comes to mind is having the privilege of accompanying Second Vice President Patrick McNally and Recording Secretary Tony Ortiz in welcoming all the new City Carrier Assistants at Orientation and the Academy in Manhattan and the Bronx. Seeing all the eager faces ready to learn what it takes to be a Letter Carrier of the United States Postal Service is exciting to me.

I would like to thank President Charlie Heege, Second Vice President Patrick McNally, National Business Agent Larry Cirelli and Recording Secretary Tony Ortiz for their continued support and confidence in me.

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