Pat McNally email
Second Vice President, Financial Secretary
Outlook September / October 2017
Union Representation Awareness
This is a reminder for all letter carriers who were hurt on the job and for those receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits: to be a member in good standing, union due payments must be up-to-date. When a carrier is on the job, the union dues are automatically deducted from his or her salary. Dues cannot be collected if a carrier is not on the job earning a paycheck. Therefore, it is the carrier’s responsibility to pay back dues. Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 will send you a billing statement when you are in arrears. It is the carrier’s responsibility to be up-to-date with union dues. Carriers who are planning to retire, please be aware that you must fill out Form 1189 so that you will remain members of Branch 36. This is especially important if you have the NALC health coverage and wish to continue that coverage upon retirement. Your union dues will be $2.00 each month and taken directly from your check. Only members of Branch 36 in good standing can keep the NALC health coverage.





When a carrier is in arrears he or she is not entitled to certain benefits. Did you know only members in good standing are entitled to receive eyeglass vouchers and/or dental vouchers? You are considered ineligible if you are not up-to-date with union dues. Ineligibility could also mean losing your much needed NALC Health Benefit Medical Coverage and make you unable to join the Credit Union.

One crucial matter I must address in this article is when you suffer an on- the-job injury; remember, I will represent you when you receive certified mail concerning a rehabilitation job offer. Such mail offers a modified assignment (Rehabilitation) which has been prepared to establish reasonable accommodation to your injury commensurate with your medical restrictions and is subject to adjustment(s) in accordance with your medical/physical progression. It is offered to you in accordance with guidelines outlined in the Employee & Labor Relations Manual, Part 540 and the 20 CFR Part 10.

Be advised that the Federal Employees Compensation Act, Title 5 USC, Section 8106 states, “A partially disabled employee who refuses to work after suitable work is offered to, procured by, or secured for him/her is not entitled to compensation.”

If you believe this position is not a proper restoration, you may appeal to the appropriate Merit System Program Board (MSPB) Regional Office as outlined in 5 CFR 353, Subpart D-Appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Such an appeal must be submitted to MSPB within 30 days after the date of the offer, or 30 days after the date of reemployment or reassignment, whichever is later. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Injury Compensation Office at (212) 330-3441.

Shop Stewards, please make your members aware of the fact that I will represent these Rehabilitation Carriers. I do receive notification from Injury Compensation as to when each carrier is required to report for their appointment. I will be there with them.

Should you have any questions regarding subjects referred to in my article or any other union-related matter, please phone (212) 239-3901, and ask for me.

I would like to take a moment to welcome aboard our new Executive Vice President, Pascual Ortiz. Pasky will be a great addition to our team and I look forward to working with him.

Outlook July / August 2017
Mail Theft on the Rise
Mail theft is once again on the rise and the good image of the postal service has been tarnished by dishonest letter carriers, who have become involved in this illegal practice. Mail theft is a form of larceny: the unlawful taking, obtaining or withholding of another’s property with the intent to deprive another of the property or to appropriate it for the wrongdoer’s use or to the use of a third party.

It is important as trusted employees of the United States Postal Service to strive to keep our work ethic free from flaw or defect. The public’s ability to trust in us is commendable, and in the long run will be of lasting significance. We must place strong emphasis on our ability to abide by the law and promise never to compromise our integrity in any way, shape or form.

What follows is a case history of a letter carrier, who was apprehended because he committed mail theft. I will give this defendant the fictitious name of Larry Peter Shaw. He was arrested for stealing checks. The U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York accepted a guilty plea from Mr. Shaw on Count One to the above referenced information regarding mail theft. Count One charges the defendant with obstruction of mail; generally, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1701, which carries a maximum sentence of six month’s imprisonment; a maximum fine, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code Section 3571 of the greatest of $5,000, twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense, or twice the gross pecuniary loss to persons other than the defendant as a result of the offense; a mandatory special assessment of $10, and supervised release of one year. In addition to the foregoing, the Court must order restitution in accordance with Sections 3663, 3663A and 3664 of Title 18, United States Code.

In consideration of Larry Peter Shaw’s guilty plea to the aforementioned offense, the defendant will not be further prosecuted by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for stealing checks from the mail entrusted to the Postal Service for delivery. Furthermore, because of the agreement he and his attorney signed, the defendant voluntarily resigned from his position of employment with the U. S. Postal Service and further agreed not to seek future employment with the U.S. Postal Service. It was further understood that the Agreement does not bind any federal, state or local prosecuting authority other than the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Other stipulations became an integral part of the Agreement made between Larry Peter Shaw and the U.S. Department of Justice, which will not be discussed at this time.

The defendant was investigated and in a sworn statement to Postal Inspectors, admitted that he had stolen checks because he knew the checks did not belong on his route and would not be traced back to him. He further admitted that he had stolen much more than those for which he was arrested. He further admitted that he knew stealing the checks was wrong.

ELM (Section 661.53) Unacceptable Conduct - “No employee will engage in criminal, dishonest, notoriously disgraceful or immoral conduct, or other conduct prejudicial to the Postal Service. Conviction of a violation of any criminal statue may be grounds for disciplinary action by the Postal Service, in addition to any other penalty by or pursuant to statue.”

ELM (Section 666.2) Behavior and Personal Habits - “Employees are expected to conduct themselves during and outside of working hours, in a manner which reflects favorably upon the Postal Service. Although it is not the policy of the Postal Service to interfere with the private lives of employees, it does require that postal personnel be honest, reliable, trustworthy, courteous, and of good character and reputation. Employees are expected to maintain satisfactory personal habits, so as not to be obnoxious or offensive to other persons or to create unpleasant working conditions.”

Rebate checks are a popular item to take from the mail-stream. In the past, carriers stole credit cards, DVD’s, coins, magazines and pens. Stealing from that list of items can cost you your job in the Postal Service. Being a letter carrier is not the greatest job in the world, but nevertheless, you are guaranteed a pay check every two weeks. Is it worth losing your job, your personal freedom, or your health benefits for your spouse and family? Choosing to do wrong on-the- job can move you from your beautiful home and straight into a filthy doghouse (jailhouse). The choice is yours.

The following is a bit of information all carriers need to know. Do not dump the mail. All mail that is undeliverable must be returned to the post office for proper handling. Remember do not dump it in the garbage.

Words cannot express the sadness that I feel over the sudden loss of my old friend John. We shared many great moments and times together, both on the job and off, and I am very thankful for the memories. Branch 36 has lost a “great unionist” who always fought strong for our members. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Carol and their family.

Outlook May / June 2017
Knowing your Rights
This article contains information regarding post-Miranda questioning. This article, Coping with Post-Miranda Questioning, reprinted from Vol. 16, No. 2 of the Spring, 2003 issue of the NALC Activist, will surely leave you with a clearer understanding of your rights.

You have heard it a million times on television. It is quoted herein: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say, can and will be used against you in a Court of Law. You have the right to an attorney...”

These words derived from the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Miranda vs. Arizona, and are commonly known as “Miranda warnings” which inform persons in custody of their constitutional rights prior to an interrogation. But what happens when local management wishes to interview an employee after postal inspectors have already given the carrier the Miranda warning? Does the carrier in effect, have to waive his constitutional rights? A recent regional arbitration case clarified this issue and provides helpful guidance to branch officers and stewards. But what happens when local management wishes to interview an employee after postal inspectors have already given the carrier the Miranda warning? Does the carrier in effect have to waive his constitutional rights? A recent regional arbitration case clarified this issue and provides helpful guidance to branch officers and stewards.
The Facts
Case Nos. F98N-4FD 00251275 (0-22054), consolidated for arbitration, involved an allegation that a letter carrier had mishandled mail, an allegation prompted local management to call in the Postal Inspection Service. The letter carrier was called into the office where two postal inspectors produced their badges and indicated they would like to ask the employee a few questions. The letter carrier, who was also the Branch President, requested union representation at that point. Since union representation was not available, the postal inspectors rescheduled the interrogation to several days later. At that meeting, the carrier was read her Miranda rights. After consultation with her attorney, the carrier refused to answer any questions, and the postal inspectors ended their interview. The Employee’s postmaster then contacted the carrier and requested that she make herself available for an investigatory interview by local management.

On advice from her attorney, the carrier declined until the Postal Service would provide her with assurances that it would not seek criminal charges. The postmaster wrote the employee that his investigation was administrative and not part of the Postal Inspections Service’s case. Nonetheless, on advice of her attorney, the carrier continued to refuse to submit to any interview until the Inspection Service, itself would definitely state it would not seek criminal charges.

Ultimately, the Postal Service issued a Notice of Removal to the employee. Among the charges was “Failure to cooperate in an Official Investigation.” The Postal Service asserted that although the employee was not required to speak to the Postal Inspectors after they “mirandized” her, an interview by local supervisors was administrative and therefore outside the realm of Inspection Service and the carrier’s Miranda rights. Management further concluded that the employee’s failure to cooperate in an official investigation was a serious breach of Part 666.6 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, “USPS Standards of Conduct.” In response, the union grieved the removal, arguing that the Postal Service had violated Article 5 of the National Agreement and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The grievance was eventually arbitrated.

In his decision, Arbitrator Claude D. Ames ruled that given the employer’s reasonable belief that anything she said could be used against her in a criminal proceeding, the employee reasonably sought assurances from the Inspection Service that it would not seek criminal charges, assurances that the Postmaster’s letters did not provide. Absent such assurances, Arbitrator Ames ruled that the employee did not fail to cooperate in an investigation.

In his award, the arbitrator stated: “Failure to cooperate with a postal investigation is unsustainable given the factual circumstances. Grievant was never informed by the postal inspectors or local management that any subsequent statements in an administrative investigation would not or could not be used against her in any criminal proceeding after being Mirandized. Although grievant requested adequate assurances from the postmaster through her attorney that no criminal investigation was pending prior to the proceeding with the administrative investigation, these assurances (letters) were knowingly equivocal and insufficient, not the assurances that grievant and her attorney were seeking, given the postal inspector’s earlier statement that he would seek a grand jury against the grievant. Under these factual circumstances, grievant is held to have a well-founded belief of criminal prosecution and exercised her Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination. It is also well settled that an order to remove an employee for failure to answer possible incriminating questions in an investigation, an agency must first advise the employee that (i) his refusal to answer may result in removal, and (ii) any statement(s) made during the interview will not be used against him/her in a criminal proceeding. A thorough review of the evidence record here, including management’s letter of assurance, does not indicate the grievant was so advised. The Grievant’s Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent under these factual circumstances is constitutionally protected.

Note to Stewards
It is crucial for stewards to understand and recognize the difference between a normal investigatory interview, which sometimes is conducted by the postal inspectors and those investigations that cross the threshold into criminal investigations. In particular, when employees have been read their Miranda rights, which are normally given by law enforcement officials such as postal inspectors, since once the warning is given, anything the individual says can be used in a court of law to demonstrate criminal activity.

Inspectors also enter the realm of criminal investigation when they request that the employees sign PS Form 1067, Warning and Waiver of Rights. Stewards should always advise carriers not to sign PS Form 1067; anything the employee says from that point forward can be used against the employee in a Court of Law.

Stewards also should remember that they are not attorneys and thus, cannot offer legal advice to employees facing potential criminal charges. To do so, could place you and your branch in a legally vulnerable position. Stewards, remember to immediately inform the employee that he or she may wish to seek legal advice should there be any possibility that the Postal Service will bring criminal charges against the employee. You should instruct the carrier not to answer any questions that the postal inspectors may ask that the interrogation be suspended until the employee has the opportunity to consult with an attorney

On the other hand, as Arbitrator Ames pointed out, the postal service may take disciplinary actions against employees when they fail to cooperate with normal investigatory interviews that have not crossed the threshold into criminal investigations. Therefore, stewards should be wary of advising employees’ subject merely to an investigatory interview to remain silent. If you are unsure whether the investigation is indeed a criminal investigation; or as is, in Ames’ case, a “mixed investigation”, contact other union officials for help. However, don’t forget that in any investigatory interview, the steward has the right to a pre¬interview conference with the employee. For a detailed treatment of carrier and stewards’ rights read, When Postal Inspectors Ride into Town, in the NALC Activist, Fall 1998-pages 1, 6-10.

I would like to wish all active and retired letter carriers and their families a healthy, safe and happy summer.

Outlook March / April 2017
Follow Procedures
It is vital for letter carriers to protect themselves when handling Accountable, Certified, Registered, Insured, C.O.D.’s, and Express Mail. Carriers must be cleared of all these items at the end of their tour. It is also important that carriers obtain form 3821, which is a receipt that proves clearance. This form is proof that you have turned in all Accountable Mail and it must be retained for at least two years.

It is my understanding that many carriers are not being cleared at the end of the day and are throwing their scanners, keys and Accountable Mail in the Clerk Cage. Did you know some carriers are being arrested and taken into Criminal Court when their mail turns up missing? Remember, if no one is in the Cage, stand there and wait until someone arrives to clear you; wait as long as necessary for that clearance receipt. Remember, you are on the clock until you are cleared. If you need to stand there from now until next year then that is what you must do. The following form can be found in the handbook M.41. on page 62.

432 Registered and Certified
432.1 Give finance clerk all undeliverable articles and forms 3849 and/or 3811 for each registered and certified delivery.

432.2 Complete form 3821 showing the number of receipts and undeliverable articles returned to the clerk. Ensure that all accountable items found in the DPS mail are added to the total accountable pieces included on the form. If form is properly completed, clerk will sign and return it to you. This is your receipt, keep it for a 2 year period. (see form 3821 below)

432.3 Enter the date of delivery and your signature in the spaces provided on form 38.49 - if you didn’t do this when you delivered the article (see section 335.1). Deposit form 3849 in the designated receptacle or give it to the finance clerk for clearance.

Insured Mail
Put all forms 3811, which were requested by senders of insured mail in designated places. Complete form 3849 as specified for registered and certified mail.

434 CODs
434.1 Surrender to clearance clerk COD tags and the money for all delivered COD parcels. Return all undeliverable CODs for clearance.

434.2 If form 3821 is used at your office, verify the entries after clerk has entered the amount of funds and the number of parcels accounted for (see exhibit 434.2). Carrier must place original of form 3821 in locked receptacle provided and keep the duplicate for 3 months from last day of month issued. (Clerk may not do this.)

Muscular Dystrophy Fundraiser
Each year we have a fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy by selling tickets for $5.00, which are good for the entire month. The proceeds enable us to send children with muscular dystrophy to summer camp. All you have to do is pick three numbers. The winning numbers are taken from the NY Lottery, which are drawn every evening, seven days a week. If you choose the correct number straight on Monday through Friday, you receive $50.00. If you pick the correct number in reverse, you receive $10.00. On Saturday and Sunday the winning numbers straight, wins $75.00 and exact reverse wins $10.00. Isn’t it worth taking a chance on the game when you can help a disabled child have the time of his or her life at summer camp? Taking care of a child with muscular dystrophy isn’t easy and I am sure the parents would really appreciate having a little time off to enjoy each other’s company while their child is away at camp. What a great opportunity to make friends and have fun while swimming, fishing, doing arts and crafts and competing in sport competitions with children with similar disabilities. This camp is well equipped with all the necessary medical equipment.

Please join us in our mission to send these children to summer camp by buying as many tickets as possible.

Outlook January / February 2017
Awareness Alert
First, let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy New Year; and as this New Year begins, let’s remember to start it off on the right foot. Starting off on the right foot begins with remembering our responsibilities so that important matters run smoothly and efficiently. With that notion in mind, let’s review the following letter carrier responsibilities.
Members Receiving OWCP
Recipients of OWCP (Worker’s Compensation) are directly responsible for paying union dues. When you are out, a union dues payment notice will arrive in the mail and payment must be sent directly to Branch 36 upon receipt of the notice. Dues are not deducted from the Worker’s Compensation check.

Therefore, it is your sole responsibility to pay all dues, in order to remain a member in good standing with Branch 36.

OF NOTE: All those with the NALC Health Plan need to understand this important fact: You must pay all dues because after one year in a non-pay status, you lose your health coverage and will be ineligible to obtain it in the future. That would surely be a disaster for you and your family, so please don’t risk it.

Eyeglass and Dental Vouchers
All members owing back dues are ineligible for Eyeglass and Dental Vouchers. There are no exceptions. Members must be up to date with dues to be considered a member in good standing.
Military Members
Please remember to inform Branch 36 should you become an active member of the military. Branch 36 needs to be aware of when your military time begins and ends. We are charged a per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. We cannot retroactively claim that per capita tax if we do not know about your military service. Those unneeded expenses could be spent in a more productive way elsewhere. Active military do not pay dues while on active duty. Thanks for your service.
Retirement Awareness
Many carriers, who are set to retire, have a date in mind and really don’t give much thought until the last minute regarding buying back their military time. By the time the retirement plan is in motion and the date is set, carriers come to the realization that all buy back time for military service should have been completed before retirement. Carriers cannot buy back time after retirement; money must be paid up beforehand in order to get credit for that time served. Therefore, call Shared Services to request the forms for your particular Branch of Service to get things moving along before retirement. You will need form RI 20-97, it is called Estimate Earnings during Military Service. Fill out the form and be sure to put your name and address in Box 19, which will enable the military to send it back to you once it is completed. Please keep a copy for your records before sending it to Shared Services. That office will inform you of the amount of money you must pay to buy back your military time. Remember, all monies must be paid in full prior to retirement and planning ahead means stepping into a happy retirement, worry free.
Outlook November / December 2016
Holiday, Beware!
With the holiday season approaching, letter carriers need to proceed with caution when delivering the mail. Deceptive practices including mail theft are commonplace during this time of year. Beware carriers, you too can be robbed! Keep the Accountable Mail in your possession at all times and never, I repeat never, leave any mail unattended in pushcarts. Pushcarts must remain in sight at all times. If for some reason you are unable to do so, fold it and place it in your relay box.

Another thing carriers must be aware of is ‘Tis the season for pickpockets! Be careful in crowded elevators and remember to keep your bluebag in front of you at all times. When it is behind you, a sneaky thief can easily help themselves to its contents. When you are out on your route and you come across a character that acts suspicious, don’t put yourself at risk. Phone your supervisor or call 911 if you feel threatened. Be mindful that someone stopping you to ask for directions may be in cahoots with someone behind you, who is looking to grab something from your bag.

During this time of year, relay drivers are being duped and robbed while delivering the mail. Here is a typical scenario of what is actually occurring: While a driver is unloading his truck, a person walks up to him and says, “Excuse me did you drop this $5.00 bill?” While the carrier’s attention is diverted, someone else sneaks up behind him and pilfers from the truck.

Be aware of this practice and try to prevent yourself from becoming another crime victim.

Incidences relating to The Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace, signed by the Postal Service and the NALC and referred to as “The Joint Statement,” are the basic reasons for this topic. On numerous occasions, management and letter carriers are out of compliance with the Joint Statement. Carriers must make every effort to prevent conflict in the workplace by not personally venting dissatisfaction with their job or management. In various stations, postal employees are becoming violent and threatening bodily harm to others and it is unacceptable. Management has also been threatening this same behavior. Keep in mind, losing your job would cause complete devastation for you and your family. Therefore, deliver the mail correctly and avoid conflict in the workplace. Think of all the benefits you would lose not only for yourself, but for your spouse and children should you become emergency-placed (suspended). Remember, bad behavior is not condoned by anyone and it can cost you your job. Being terminated means losing all medical benefits as well as a paycheck.

Letter Carriers are also afforded the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax deferred Retirement Savings Plan. There are different sets of rules for CSRS and FERS employees. Carriers have benefits as union members as well which were long fought for by the NALC. It would be a complete shame to give up these benefits because an expression of anger got the best of you, causing you to lose your job. Employees do not have to love each other, but they do have to strive to work together to create a peaceful workplace environment. Do not be the cause of such disorder or a bearer of hard feelings. If management intimidates you, ask to step off. Regain your composure and see your shop steward and explain the incident. Doing it this way prevents management from accusing you of any wrongdoing. Try to work together in harmony. In doing so, you will keep the benefits you have rightfully earned as a New York Letter Carrier.

I look forward to providing you with more information about events taking place in the future. Until next time, I wish you and your family a safe, blessed and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Outlook September / October 2016
Join Us in Helping Children
Each year, we send children with Muscular Dystrophy to summer camp. Some of you may wonder how we do this. The answer is simple: by raising money by fundraisers. One particular fundraiser we do is through selling tickets, which cost $5.00 each and are good for the whole month. You pick three numbers; each number must range between 0 and 9. The daily winning number is taken from the Pick 3 Daily New York Lottery evening number. If your three numbers match (straight) in the exact order of the daily winning number on Monday through Friday, you will receive $50.00. If your numbers are in the exact reverse of the winning daily number, you will receive $10.00. On Saturday and Sunday, if you match the winning number (straight), you will receive $75.00 and the exact reverse wins $10.00. What a wonderful way to help children, who suffer from this debilitating disease, as well as their parents who deserve a much needed break. Who knows, aside from the good feeling you will gain in helping others, you might also win a little cash.
Just imagine how great these kids will feel when they make friends, swim, do arts and crafts, fish and even compete in sports competitions.

This camp is well equipped with medical equipment, a well trained staff and everything else that is needed to ensure the overall comfort and safety of the children. Please hop onboard, buy some tickets and help bring some joy into these kids’ lives by sending them to summer camp where they will form lasting memories and friendships with other kids with similar disabilities. Do it for the sake of the kids.

Military Service
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become a member of the military. We need to know when your military time begins and ends. Branch 36 is charged per capita tax by the NALC for each active Branch 36 member. Therefore, we must claim per capita tax in a timely manner with the NALC when you are serving in the military. Thank you for your service.
Members Receiving OWCP
If you are receiving OWCP (Worker’s Compensation) you are directly responsible for paying your own union dues. Please remit dues upon receipt of your union bill statement or risk being dropped from our membership roster.

If you have the NALC Health Plan, be sure to pay all dues owed because after one year in a non-pay status, you will be dropped from our roster and lose your health coverage and will be ineligible to acquire it in the future.

Outlook July / August 2016
Mail Theft on the Rise
Mail theft is once again on the rise and the good image of the postal service has been tarnished by dishonest letter carriers, who have become involved in this illegal practice. Mail theft is a form of larceny: the unlawful taking, obtaining or withholding of another’s property with the intent to deprive another of the property or to appropriate it for the wrongdoer’s use or to the use of a third party.

It is important as trusted employees of the United States Postal Service to strive to keep our work ethic free from flaw or defect. The public’s ability to trust in us is commendable and in the long run, will be of lasting significance. We must place strong emphasis on our ability to abide by the law and promise never to compromise our integrity in any way, shape, or form.

What follows is a case history of a letter carrier, who was apprehended because he committed mail theft. I will give this defendant the fictitious name of Larry Peter Shaw. He was arrested for stealing checks. The U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York accepted a guilty plea from Mr. Shaw on Count One to the above referenced information regarding mail theft. Count One charges the defendant with obstruction of mail, generally, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1701, which carries a maximum sentence of six month’s imprisonment; a maximum fine, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code Section 3571 of the greatest of $5,000, twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the offense, or twice the gross pecuniary loss to persons other than the defendant as a result of the offense; a mandatory special assessment of $10, and supervised release of one year. In addition to the foregoing, the Court must order restitution in accordance with Sections 3663, 3663A and 3664 of Title 18, United States Code.

In consideration of Larry Peter Shaw’s guilty plea to the aforementioned offense, the defendant will not be further prosecuted by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for stealing checks from the mail entrusted to the Postal Service for delivery. Furthermore, because of the agreement he and his attorney signed, the defendant voluntarily resigned from his position of employment with the U. S. Postal Service and further agreed not to seek future employment with the U.S. Postal Service. It was further understood that the Agreement does not bind any federal, state or local prosecuting authority other than the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Other stipulations became an integral part of the Agreement made between Larry Peter Shaw and the U.S. Department of Justice, which will not be discussed at this time.

The defendant was investigated and in a sworn statement to Postal Inspectors, admitted that he had stolen checks because he knew the checks did not belong on his route and would not be traced back to him. He further admitted that he had stolen much more than those for which he was arrested. He further admitted that he knew stealing the checks was wrong.

ELM (Section 661.53) Unacceptable Conduct - “No employee will engage in criminal, dishonest, notoriously disgraceful or immoral conduct, or other conduct prejudicial to the Postal Service. Conviction of a violation of any criminal statue may be grounds for disciplinary action by the Postal Service; in addition to any other penalty by or pursuant to statue.”

ELM (Section 666.2) Behavior and Personal Habits - “Employees are expected to conduct themselves during and outside of working hours, in a manner which reflects favorably upon the Postal Service. Although it is not the policy of the Postal Service to interfere with the private lives of employees, it does require that postal personnel be honest, reliable, trustworthy, courteous, and of good character and reputation. Employees are expected to maintain satisfactory personal habits, so as not to be obnoxious or offensive to other persons or to create unpleasant working conditions.”

Rebate checks are a popular item to take from the mail-stream. In the past, carriers have stolen credit cards, DVD’s, coins, magazines and pens. Stealing from that list of items can cost you your job in the Postal Service. Being a letter carrier is not the greatest job in the world, but, nevertheless, you are guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks. Is it worth losing your job, your personal freedom or your health benefits for your spouse and family? Choosing to do wrong on-the-job can move you from your beautiful home and straight into a filthy doghouse (jailhouse). The choice is yours.

The following is a bit of information all carriers need to know: Do not dump the mail. All mail that is undeliverable must be returned to the post office for proper handling. Remember do not dump it in the garbage.

Have a pleasant, enjoyable summer!

Outlook May / June 2016
Retirement Planner
Special Extra Earnings for Military Service
Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you paid Social Security taxes on those earnings. Since 1988, inactive duty service in the Armed Forces Reserves (such as weekend drills) has also been covered by Social Security.

Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for your military service from 1957 through 2001 can be credited to your record for Social Security purposes. These extra earnings credits may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.

Special extra earnings credits are granted for periods of active duty or active duty for training. Special extra earnings credits are not granted for inactive duty training.

If your active military service occurred:
• From 1957 through 1967, we will add the extra credits to your record
when you apply for Social Security benefits.
• From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these
• After 2001, there are no special extra earnings credits for military service.

Note: In January 2002, Public Law 107-117, the Defense Appropriations Act, stopped the special extra earnings that have been credited to military service personnel. Military service in calendar year 2002 and future years no longer qualifies for these special extra earnings credits.

How You Get Credit for Special Extra Earnings
The information that follows applies only to active duty military service earnings from 1957 through 2001. Here’s how the special extra earnings are credited on your record:

You are credited with $300 in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.

Service in 1978 through 2001
For every $300 in active duty basic pay, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. If you enlisted after September 7,1980, and didn’t complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with Social Security for details.
Outlook March / April 2016
Article 13 of the National Agreement and the LMOU
Much Thanks
I am very proud to report that I have been reelected Second Vice- President/Financial Secretary. My new term will run from April, 2016 through April, 2019. I am extremely thankful to the membership for their constant support.

I am the Administrative Executive for the entire Grievance Division of Branch 36. My duties include: counseling the hearing officers and advising them of their responsibilities; as well as, preparing the materials relating to the grievant and the arbitration process. I am an arbitration advocate. I also represent Branch 36 by arranging an introduction of Branch 36 to those new to the letter carrier craft at the Orientation classes.

Article 13 of the National Agreement and the LMOU
Carriers requesting light duty must correctly fill out a Light Duty Request Form. Carriers are not properly filling out light duty requests, as per the Light Duty Policy of Article 13 under the provisions of Article 13 of the National Agreement and the LMOU.
1. Purpose
Under the provisions of Article 13 of the National Agreement and the LMOU, the USPS is obligated to show/provide the greatest consideration for full-time regular, part-time regular, and part-time flexible schedule employees requiring temporary light duty or other assignments, to give each request careful attention, and to reassign such employees to the extent possible in the employee’s station/plant.

This policy pertains only to those employees who sustain an “off-the job injury” or “non-job related illness” which prevents them from performing their regular job duties and/or other Postal Service work.

Medical Documentation
In addition to the employee’s written request for a temporary light duty assignment, the employee is obligated and must submit a medical certificate from a health care practitioner that reflects the following:
a) All medical certificates must be current, and signed by the health care practitioner on official letterhead. The certificates should be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of being signed by the health care practitioner. Copies of medical certificates will not be accepted, only original medical certificates.
Request for Light Duty Assignment
Employees who are unable to perform the full duties of their assigned position may request a temporary light duty assignment as follows:
a) Prior to reporting for his/her scheduled tour of duty, the employee shall submit a written request for a temporary light duty assignment together with an appropriate medical certificate to his/her Manager, Customer Services/MDO/MMO. The Manager, Customer Services/MDO/MMO shall then contact their respective light duty coordinator to determine the availability of light duty work.
b) If a temporary light duty assignment is available, the employee will be given a temporary light duty offer in writing. The employee will be required to sign the form and indicate whether he/she accepts or does not accept the offer. If the employee accepts the offer, he/she will be directed when and where to report to the assignment.
c) If a temporary light duty assignment is not available, management will notify the employee in writing. The employee will be permitted to request leave of his/her choice; either annual leave, sick leave of leave without pay (LWOP), when temporary work is unavailable.

Should you need further clarification in reference to the aforesaid information, feel free to give me a phone call at Branch 36. The number is (212) 239-3901.

To all my Brothers and Sisters, I wish you all a very happy and healthy Easter and Passover.

Outlook January / February 2016
Remain Cool
Occurrences relating to the Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the workplace, signed by the Postal Service and the NALC, referred to as, “The Joint Statement” are the basis for this article. Oftentimes, management and letter carriers conduct themselves in a manner that is out of compliance with the Joint Statement. Carriers must make every effort to prevent conflict in the workplace. The workplace should not be allowed to become a battle zone filled with anger and aggression. Your main objective should be to process the mail accurately and promptly. Conflict in the workplace will only hinder productivity. Angry behavior is not tolerated and may quite possibly cost you your job!
In several stations, postal employees are becoming violently aggressive and threatening bodily harm to others, both on and off the clock. Management has been dealing with these same conflicts.

Many things are at risk if you ever become emergency placed (suspended), such as: easy access to excellent benefits, which are now readily available to you and your family. Think about it... How detrimental would it be to lose all medical benefits? How serious would it be to lose your retirement plan and the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan? Remember, you are entitled to many benefits as union members, benefits which were long fought for by the NALC. What a shame it would be to lose those benefits for one act of aggression. Do you really want to risk it all?

Employees do not have to love each other, but they must strive to work together peacefully. If management attempts to intimidate you, do not become confrontational. Instead, ask to step out and compose yourself. Next, speak to your shop steward and inform him or her of the situation. In doing these things, management cannot accuse you of any wrongdoing. Most of all, remember to remain calm and keep the benefits you have rightfully earned.

Outlook November / December 2015
Holidays, Beware!
With the holiday season approaching, letter carriers need to proceed with caution when delivering the mail. Deceptive practices including mail theft are commonplace during this time of year. Carriers beware - you too can be robbed! Keep the Accountable Mail in your possession at all times and never leave any mail unattended in pushcarts. Pushcarts must remain in sight at all times; if by chance you are unable to do so, fold it and put it in your relay box.

Another thing carriers must be aware of is ‘tis the season for pickpockets! Be careful in crowded elevators and try to keep your bluebag in front of you at all times. When it is behind you, a sneaky thief can easily help themselves to its contents. When you are out on your route and you come across a character that acts suspicious, don’t put yourself at risk. Phone your supervisor or call 911 if you feel threatened. Be mindful that someone stopping you to ask for directions may be in cahoots with someone behind you, who is looking to grab something from your bag.

During this time of year, relay drivers are being duped and robbed while delivering the mail. Here is a typical scenario of what is actually occurring: While a driver is unloading his truck, a person walks up to him and says, “Excuse me did you drop this $5.00 bill?” As the carrier’s attention is diverted, someone else sneaks up behind him and pilfers from the truck. Be aware of this practice and try to prevent yourself from becoming another crime victim.

Incidences relating to The Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace, signed by the Postal Service and the NALC, referred to as, “The Joint Statement” are the basic reasons for this topic. On numerous occasions management and letter carriers are out of compliance with the Joint Statement. Carriers must make every effort to prevent conflict in the workplace by not personally venting dissatisfaction with their job or management. In various stations, postal employees are becoming violent and threatening bodily harm to others and it is unacceptable. Management has also been threatening this same behavior. Keep in mind, losing your job would cause complete devastation for you and your family; so therefore deliver the mail correctly and avoid conflict in the workplace. Think of all of the benefits you would lose not only for yourself, but for your spouse and children should you become emergency-placed (suspended). Remember, bad behavior is not condoned by anyone and it can cost you your job. Being terminated means losing all medical benefits as well as a paycheck.

Letter Carriers are also afforded the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax deferred Retirement Savings Plan. There are different sets of rules for CSRS and FERS employees. Carriers have benefits as union members as well, which were long fought for by the NALC. It would be a complete shame to give up these benefits because an expression of anger got the best of you, causing you to lose your job. Employees do not have to love each other, but they do have to strive to work together to create a peaceful workplace environment. Do not be the cause of such disorder or a bearer of hard feelings. If management intimidates you, ask to step off. Regain your composure and see your shop steward and explain the incident. Doing it this way prevents management from accusing you of any wrongdoing. Try to work together in harmony. In doing so you will keep the benefits you have rightfully earned by being a New York Letter Carrier.

I look forward to providing you with more information about events taking place in the future. Until next time, I wish you and your family safe, blessed and happy holidays and a prosperous New Year.

Outlook September / October 2015
Members Receiving OWCP
Members receiving OWCP (Worker’s Compensation) are responsible for paying their own union dues. During the period of time that you receive Workers’ Compensation, you will be billed by the branch for unpaid dues. Upon receipt of the union dues statement(s), kindly remit payment(s) to Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36; dues cannot be deducted from the OWCP check.
Important Message Regarding the NALC Health Plan
If you have the NALC Health Plan, you must be up-to-date with union dues. One year in a non-pay status would cause you to risk losing your health coverage; as well as, make you ineligible to obtain the NALC Health Plan in the future. Imagine the dire situation you would find yourself in, if you were to get sick without having the necessary health coverage.
Eyeglass and Dental Vouchers
Did you know that Letter Carriers in a non-pay status are ineligible for eyeglass and dental vouchers? There are no exceptions, only members in good standing, will receive these much needed services.
Members in the Military
Branch 36 is charged per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. However, members in the military are not required to pay dues while on active duty. For that reason, Branch 36 would appreciate being informed as to when your service in the military begins and ends to avoid paying unnecessary per capita taxes.
Outlook July / August 2015
This article concerns the subject of post-Miranda questioning. By reading the article, Coping with Post-Miranda Questioning, reprinted from Vol. 16, No. 2 of the Spring 2003 Issue of NALC Activist, I hope that you can get a better understanding of your rights and see the different circumstances in which you could become involved. It is quoted herein:

“You’ve heard it a million times on television: ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…’ These words, derived from the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda vs. Arizona, are commonly known as “Miranda warnings” informing persons in custody of constitutional rights prior to an interrogation. But what happens when local management wishes to interview an employee after postal inspectors have already given the carrier the Miranda warning? Does the carrier, in effect, have to waive his constitutional rights? A recent regional arbitration case clarified this issue and provides helpful guidance to branch officers and stewards.

Case Nos. F98N-4FD 00251275 (C-22054), consolidated for arbitration, involved an allegation that a letter carrier had mishandled mail, an allegation that prompted local management to call in the Postal Inspection Service. The letter carrier was called into the office where two postal inspectors produced their badges and indicated they would like to ask the employee a few questions. The letter carrier, who was also the Branch President, requested union representation at that point. Since union representation was not available, the postal inspectors rescheduled the interrogation for several days later. At that meeting, the carrier was read her Miranda rights. After consultation with her attorney, the carrier refused to answer any questions, and the postal inspectors ended their interview.

The employee’s Postmaster then contacted the carrier and requested that she make herself available for an investigatory interview by local management.

On advice from her attorney, the carrier declined until the Postal Service would provide her with assurances it would not seek criminal charges. The Postmaster wrote the employee that his investigation was administrative and not part of the Postal Inspection Service’s case. Nonetheless, on advice of her attorney, the carrier continued to refuse to submit to any interview until the Inspection Service itself would definitely state it would not seek criminal charges.

Ultimately, the Postal Service issued a Notice of Removal to the employee. Among the charges was, “Failure to cooperate in an Official Investigation.” The Postal Service asserted that although the employee was not required to speak to the Postal Inspectors after they “Mirandized” her, an interview by local supervisors was administrative and therefore outside the realm of the Inspection Service and the carrier’s Miranda rights. Management further concluded that the employee’s failure to cooperate in an official investigation was a serious breach of Part 666.6 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, “UAPS Standards of Conduct.” In response, the union grieved the removal, arguing that the Postal Service had Violated Article 5 of the National Agreement and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The grievance was eventually arbitrated.

In his decision, Arbitrator Claude D. Ames ruled that given the employer’s reasonable belief that anything she said could be used against her in a criminal proceeding, the employee reasonably sought assurances from the Inspection Service that it would not seek criminal charges, assurances that the Postmaster’s letters did not provide. Absent such assurances, Arbitrator Ames ruled that the employee did not fail to cooperate in an investigation. In his award, the arbitrator stated that:

“Failure to cooperate with a Postal Investigation is unsustainable given the factual circumstances. Grievant was never informed by the postal inspectors or local management that any subsequent statements in an administrative investigation would not or could not be used against her in any criminal proceeding after being Mirandized. Although Grievant requested adequate assurances from the Postmaster through her attorney that no criminal investigation was pending prior to proceeding with the administrative investigation, these assurances (letters) were knowingly equivocal and insufficient, not the assurances that Grievant and her attorney were seeking, given the Postal Inspector’s earlier statement that he would seek a grand jury against the Grievant. Under these factual circumstances, Grievant is held to have had a well-founded belief of criminal prosecution and exercised her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination...It is also well settled that an order to remove an employee for failure to answer possible incriminating questions in an investigation, an agency must first advise the employee that (i) his refusal to answer may result in removal, and (ii) any statement(s) made during the interview will not be used against him/her in a criminal proceeding... A thorough review of the evidence record here, including Management’s letter of assurance, does not indicate that Grievant was so advised... The Grievant’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent under these factual circumstances is constitutionally protected.”

Note to Stewards
It is critical for stewards to understand and recognize the difference between a normal Investigatory interview, even when conducted by Postal Inspectors, and investigations that cross the threshold into criminal investigations when they read the employees their Miranda rights normally given by law enforcement officials such as: postal inspectors; since once the warning is given, anything the individual says can be used in a court of law to show criminal activity.

Inspectors also enter the realm of a criminal investigation whey they request that the employees sign PS Form 1067, Warning and Waiver of Rights. But stewards should always advise carriers not to sign PS Form 1067 because by signing they waive their Miranda rights. If the employee does sign PS Form 1067 anything the employee says from that point can be used against the employee in a court of law.

Stewards also should remember that they are not attorneys and thus, cannot offer legal advice to employees facing potential criminal charges. To do so, could place you and your branch in a legally vulnerable position. So stewards, immediately inform the employee that he or she may wish to seek legal advice should there be any possibility that the Postal Service will bring criminal charges against the employee. You should instruct the carrier not to answer any questions postal inspectors ask and that the interrogation should be suspended until the employee has had an opportunity to consult with an attorney.

On the other hand, as Arbitrator Ames pointed out, the Postal Service may take disciplinary action against employees when employees fail to cooperate with normal investigatory interviews that have not crossed the threshold into criminal investigations. Therefore, stewards should be wary of advising an employee subject merely to an investigatory interview to remain silent. If you are unsure whether the investigation is indeed a criminal investigation or is, as in Arne’s case, a “mixed investigation;” contact other union officials for help. But don’t forget that in any investigatory interview, the steward has the right to a pre-interview conference with the employee (see sidebar on employees’ Weingarten Rights on page 6.) For a detailed treatment of carrier and stewards’ rights read, When Postal Inspectors Ride into Town, within NALC Activist, Fall 1998, pages 1, 6-10.”

I would like to wish all active and retired letter carriers and their families a healthy, safe and happy summer.

Outlook March / April 2015
Follow Procedures
Letter carriers have to protect themselves when handling Accountable Mail, Certified, Registered, Insured, C.O.D.’s, and Express Mail. They must be cleared of all these items at the end of their tour. There is a form 3821, which is a receipt that proves you have been cleared. Once you receive this clearance sheet, it is proof that you have turned in all of your Accountable Mail; you must retain this receipt for at least 2 years. Many carriers are not being cleared at the end of the day and are just throwing their scanners, keys and Accountable Mail in the Clerk Cage. When stuff turns up missing, they 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. Remember, you are on the clock until you get cleared. If you need to stay there from now until next Christmas, that is what you must do.
The following can be found in the hand book - M.41. on page 62.
Join Us in Helping
As you know, each year we send children with Muscular Dystrophy to summer camp and we do this by selling $5.00 tickets, which you must pick three numbers in order to play. The $5.00 ticket is good for the entire month. The numbers are drawn every evening; seven days a week. If you are lucky and pick the winning numbers straight on Monday through Friday, you receive $50.00. If you pick the number in exact reverse, you will receive $10.00. On Saturday and Sunday, if you pick the number straight, you will win $75.00 and the exact reverse, you will get $10.00.

Not only do you have the chance to win the game, but you are helping the children with this disabling condition to go to camp. Taking care of a child with MDA is a 24/7 job for their parents. When you help send the child to camp, you are giving the parents an opportunity to have a much needed break and a little husband/wife time for one week out of their lives. Not to mention that the child will have the opportunity to go to camp with children with the same disability and make friends and have lots of fun. They can swim, fish, do arts and crafts and compete in sport competitions. This camp is well-equipped with all of the medical equipment and care needed by these children.

If you visited the camp, you would see firsthand what a fine place it is for these children. Please come aboard and join us in helping to send these children to summer camp by buying as many tickets as possible.

Outlook January / February 2015
Stay Cool
Occurrences relating to the Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace signed by the Postal Service and the N.A.L.C., referred to as, “The Joint Statement” is the basic point of this writing. On numerous occasions, management and letter carriers have been behaving in a manner that is out of compliance with the Joint Statement. Carriers must make every effort to prevent conflict in the workplace. The workplace must not become an environment filled with anger and aggression.
Be mindful that your main objective should always be to process the mail correctly. Conflict in the workplace is bad behavior, which hinders productivity. It is not condoned by anyone and it may in fact; cost you, your job!

In various stations, postal employees are becoming violent and threatening bodily harm to others, both on and off the clock. Within stations, management is also dealing with the same conflicts.

At risk, in the event of becoming emergency placed (suspended) would be easy access to excellent benefits, which you now share with your family. How detrimental would it be to lose all medical benefits? What about your retirement plan and the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan? You are also entitled to benefits as a union member; benefits which were long fought for by the NALC. What a shame would it be to lose these benefits over an expression of anger! Why risk it all?

Employees do not have to love each other, but they must strive to work together non-violently. If management intimidates you, don’t get into a confrontation. Ask, instead, to step off and take that time to compose yourself. Next, apprise your shop steward of the situation. This way, management cannot accuse you of any wrongdoing. Work together in harmony; by doing so, you will keep the benefits you have rightfully earned.

Outlook November / December 2014
Holiday, Beware!
With the holiday season upon us, carriers should be extremely careful about delivering mail. This is the season when many deceptive practices take place, including mail theft. Carriers, you too can be robbed! Keep the Accountable Mail in your possession and don’t leave any mail unattended in pushcarts. Pushcarts should be kept in sight at all times and not left unattended in front of buildings. If you are unable to keep it in sight; fold it and put it in your relay box.
Carriers beware it is pickpocket season! Be careful in crowded elevators and try to keep your bluebag in front of you at all times. If it is behind you, a sneaky thief can easily help themselves to its contents. If you are doing your route and someone looks suspicious, do not put yourself at risk. Phone your supervisor or call 911 if you feel threatened. Also be mindful that someone stopping you for directions may be in cahoots with someone behind you, who will try to grab something from your bag.

Be aware that drop and relay drivers are being duped and robbed while delivering the mail at this time of year. Here is a scenario of what it actually occurring. While a carrier is unloading his truck, a person walks up to him and says, “Excuse me, did you drop this $5.00 bill?” While that carrier answers the question, someone else sneaks up behind him and pilfers from the truck. Be aware and try to prevent yourself from becoming another crime victim.

Occurrences relating to the The Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace, signed by the Postal Service and the NALC, referred to as, “The Joint Statement” are the basic theme for this particular writing. On numerous occasions, management and letter carriers are behaving in a manner that is out of compliance with the Joint Statement. Carriers must make every effort to prevent conflict in the workplace by not personally venting their dissatisfaction with job or management.

Keep in mind, your job is to deliver the mail correctly and losing your job would be a complete horror story for you and your family. Think of all of the benefits you would not only lose for yourself; but for your spouse and children too, if you should become emergency-placed (suspended). Bad behavior is not condoned by anyone and it can cost you your job. If you are terminated from your job, you would also lose all medical benefits.

In various stations, postal employees are becoming violent and threatening bodily harm to others and that same bad behavior is also true for management.

You have a retirement plan and the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-deferred retirement savings plan available to all letter carriers, though under a different set of rules for CSRS and FERS employees. You also have benefits as union members, which were long fought for by the NALC. It would be a shame to give up these benefits because an expression of anger got the best of you and caused you to lose your job. Employees do not have to love each other, but they must strive to work together peaceably. Don’t be the cause of disorder and hard feelings. If management intimidates you, don’t get into a confrontation. Ask to step off, so that you can compose yourself and then see your shop steward and explain the incident. In this way, management cannot accuse you of any wrongdoing. Try to work together in harmony. In doing so, you will keep the benefits you have earned by being a New York Letter Carrier.

I look forward to providing you with more information about events in the future.

Until next time, I wish you and your family a safe, blessed, and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Outlook September / October 2014
Of Importance for Those Who Have NALC Health Plan
If you have the NALC Health Plan, you must be up-to-date with payment of dues. One year in a non-pay status will cause you to risk losing your health coverage and becoming ineligible to acquire it in the future. You would create a dire situation for yourself by not retaining your health coverage.
Eyeglass and Dental Vouchers
Letter Carriers not in good standing in a non-pay status are ineligible to receive dental and eyeglass vouchers. There are no exceptions, only members in good standing will receive vouchers for these services. Please do not ignore bills for union dues when they arrive in the mail.
Those Members in the Military
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become an active member of the military. We need to know when your service begins and ends. Branch 36 is charged per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. Our members serving in the military are not required to pay dues while on active duty. Therefore, Branch 36 must be informed of your military service in a timely manner.
Retirement Awareness
Many carriers who have retired and already have a set date would like to buy back military time. Unfortunately, once you are retired it is too late to buy back military time; it must be done prior to retirement. You can’t Buy-Back once you retire. All information relating to Buy-Back must be completed before you retire and all payments must be in beforehand to get the credit for that time of service. You should call Shared Services and request the forms for whatever branch of service you were in. When you receive the form, be certain to fill the form out correctly. You need Form RI 20-97. The name of the form is Estimate Earnings during Military Service. Fill out the form and in Box 19 make sure you write your name and address so the military can mail it back to you. Be sure to keep a copy for your records before sending it to Shared Services. That office will return it to you and advise you of the money you must pay to Buy-Back your military time. All monies must be paid in full prior to retirement.

The U.S. Postal Service has sent out a form to all carriers who are eligible to retire. The name of the aforementioned form is National Retirement Council System Annuity Estimate. The number of the form is AAF241P1. I would like all parties who have received this report to examine it very carefully because as of 2005, all of the personnel records were sent to: Human Resources Shared Services Center, P.O. Box 970500, Greensboro, NC 27497-0500.

Prior to moving to North Carolina, personnel should have updated all information, including credible service concerning military Buy-Back. For that reason, I hope you retain your receipts regarding payment of your Buy-Back. If the information on the form is incorrect, you must call Shared Services. The telephone number is: 1-877-477-3273. If you are considering retirement, do not hesitate, because making corrections takes time. It will take about three to four weeks to receive a new corrected Form 50 to make sure all information is correct.

Outlook July / August 2014
Those Members Receiving OWCP
If you are receiving OWCP (Workers’ Compensation), you are directly responsible for paying union dues. Please remit dues to Branch 36 upon receipt of a statement specifying the amount of dues owed.

You will be billed directly for the amount of dues owed during the time you receive Workers’ Compensation. Dues cannot be deducted from the OWCP check.

Of Importance for Those Who Have NALC Health Plan
If you have the NALC Health Plan, you must be up to date with the payment of dues. One year in a non-pay status will cause you to risk losing health coverage and becoming ineligible to acquire it in the future. You would create a dire situation for yourself by not retaining your health coverage.
Eyeglass and Dental Vouchers
Letter Carriers in a non-pay status who are not up to date with their dues are ineligible to receive dental and eyeglass vouchers. There are no exceptions, only members in good standing will receive vouchers for this service
Those Members in the Military
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become an active member of the military. We need to know when your service begins and ends. Branch 36 is charged per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. Our members serving in the military are not required to pay dues while on active duty. Therefore, Branch 36 must be informed of your military service in a timely manner.
Outlook May / June 2014
Your Rights
This article concerns the subject of post-Miranda questioning. By reading the article, Coping with Post-Miranda Questioning, reprinted from Vol. 16, No. 2 of the Spring, 2003 issue of NALC Activist, I hope that you can get a better understanding of your rights and see the different circumstances in which you could become involved. It is quoted herein:

“You’ve heard it a million times on television: ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney...’ These words, derived from the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda vs. Arizona, are commonly known as “Miranda warnings” informing persons in custody of constitutional rights prior to an interrogation. But what happens when local management wishes to interview an employee after postal inspectors have already given the carrier the Miranda warning? Does the carrier, in effect, have to waive his constitutional rights? A recent regional arbitration case clarified this issue and provides helpful guidance to branch offi cers and stewards.

THE FACTS
Case Nos. F98N-4FD 00251275 (C-22054), consolidated for arbitration, involved an allegation that a letter carrier had mishandled mail, an allegation that prompted local management to call in the Postal Inspection Service. The letter carrier was called into the office where two postal inspectors produced their badges and indicated they would like to ask the employee a few questions. The letter carrier, who was also the Branch President, requested union representation at that point. Since union representation was not available, the postal inspectors rescheduled the interrogation for several days later. At that meeting, the carrier was read her Miranda rights. After consultation with her attorney, the carrier refused to answer any questions, and the postal inspectors ended their interview.

The employee’s Postmaster then contacted the carrier and requested that she make herself available for an investigatory interview by local management. On advice from her attorney, the carrier declined until the Postal Service would provide her with assurances it would not seek criminal charges. The Postmaster wrote the employee that his investigation was administrative and not part of the Postal Inspection Service’s case. Nonetheless, on advice of her attorney, the carrier continued to refuse to submit to any interview until the Inspection Service itself would definitely state it would not seek criminal charges.

Ultimately, the Postal Service issued a Notice of Removal to the employee. Among the charges was, “Failure to Cooperate in an Official Investigation.” The Postal Service asserted that although the employee was not required to speak to the Postal Inspectors after they “Mirandized” her, an interview by local supervisors was administrative and therefore outside the realm of the Inspection Service and the carrier’s Miranda rights. Management further concluded that the employee’s failure to cooperate in an official investigation was a serious breach of Part 666.6 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, “USPS Standards of Conduct.” In response, the union grieved the removal, arguing that the Postal Service had Violated Article 5 of the National Agreement and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The grievance was eventually arbitrated.

In his decision, Arbitrator Claude D. Ames ruled that given the employer’s
reasonable belief that anything she said could be used against her in a criminal proceeding, the employee reasonably sought assurances from the Inspection Service that it would not seek criminal charges, assurances that the Postmaster’s letters did not provide. Absent such assurances, Arbitrator Ames ruled that the employee did not fail to cooperate in an investigation. In his award, the arbitrator stated that:

“Failure to Cooperate with a Postal Investigation, is unsustainable given the factual circumstances. Grievant was never informed by the postal inspectors or local management that any subsequent statements in an administrative investigation would not or could not be used against her in any criminal proceeding after being Mirandized. Although Grievant requested adequate assurances from the Postmaster through her attorney that no criminal investigation was pending prior to proceeding with the administrative investigation, these assurances (letters) were knowingly equivocal and insufficient, not the assurances that Grievant and her attorney were seeking, given the Postal Inspector’s earlier statement that he would seek a grand jury against the grievant. Under these factual circumstances, Grievant is held to have had a well-founded belief of criminal prosecution and exercised her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination... It is also well settled that an order to remove an employee for failure to answer possible incriminating questions in an investigation, an agency must first advise the employee that (i) his refusal to answer may result in removal, and (ii) any statement(s) made during the interview will not be used against him/her in a criminal proceeding... A thorough review of the evidence record here, including Management’s letter of assurance, does not indicate that Grievant was so advised... The Grievant’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent under these factual circumstances is constitutionally protected.”

NOTE TO STEWARDS
It is critical for stewards to understand and recognize the difference between a normal Investigatory interview, even when conducted by Postal Inspectors, and investigations that cross the threshold into criminal investigations when they read the employees their Miranda rights normally given by law enforcement officials such as postal inspectors, since once the warning is given, anything the individual says can be used in a court of law to show criminal activity.

Inspectors also enter the realm of a criminal investigation when they request that the employees sign PS Form 1067, Warning and Waiver of Rights. But stewards should always advise carriers not to sign PS Form 1067, because by signing, they waive their Miranda rights, if employee does sign PS Form 1067, anything the employee says from that point forward can be used against the employee in a court of law.

Stewards also should remember that they are not attorneys and thus cannot offer legal advice to employees facing potential criminal charges. To do so, could place you and your branch in a legally vulnerable position. So stewards, immediately inform the employee that he or she may wish to seek legal advice should there be any possibility that the Postal Service will bring criminal charges against the employee. You should instruct the carrier not to answer any questions postal inspectors ask and that the interrogation should be suspended until the employee has had an opportunity to consult with an attorney.

On the other hand, as Arbitrator Ames pointed out, the Postal Service may take disciplinary action against employees when employees fail to cooperate with normal investigatory interviews that have not crossed the threshold into criminal investigations. Therefore, stewards should be wary of advising employees subject merely to an investigatory interview to remain silent. If you are unsure whether the investigation is indeed a criminal investigation or is, as in Ames’ case, a “mixed investigation,” contact other union officials for help. But don’t forget that in any investigatory interview, the steward has the right to a preinterview conference with the employee (see sidebar on employees’ Weingarten Rights on page 6.) For a detailed treatment of carrier and stewards’ rights read, When Postal Inspectors Ride into Town, within NALC Activist, Fall 1998, pages 1, 6-10.”

I would like to wish all active and retired letter carriers and their families a healthy, safe and happy summer.

Outlook March/ April 2014
Those Members Receiving OWCP
If you are receiving OWCP (Workers’ Compensation) you become directly responsible for paying your union dues. Please remit dues to Branch 36 upon receipt of a statement specifying the amount of dues owed. We will bill you for the amount of dues owed during the time you receive Workers^ Compensation because dues cannot be deducted from your OWCP check.
Of Importance for Those Who have NALC HEALTH PLAN
you have the NALC Health Plan, you must pay all dues owed because after one year in a non-pay status, you lose your health coverage and become ineligible to acquire it in the future. You would create a disaster for yourself by not retaining your health coverage.
EYEGLASS AND DENTAL VOUCHERS
We experience ongoing great difficulty regarding those members who refuse to pay dues when they are in a no pay status. Because these non¬paying dues members are not members in good standing, they are ineligible to receive dental and eyeglass vouchers. There are no exceptions. There are members who ignore correct bills asking them to pay dues.
THOSE MEMBERS IN THE MILITARY
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become a member of the military. We need to know when your military time begins and when it ends. Branch 36 is charged for per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. We must inform NALC in a timely manner. It is of extreme importance that we be informed as indicated. Our members serving in the military are not responsible for paying dues while on active duty.
Outlook January / February 2014
Awareness Alert
Happy New Year. We are starting a new year. Let’s get off on the right foot by remembering our various responsibilities so that important matters run smoothly. With that in mind, I will remind you all of those responsibilities.
THOSE MEMBERS RECEIVING OWCP
If you are receiving OWCP (Workers’ Compensation) you become directly responsible for paying your union dues. Please remit dues to Branch 36 upon receipt of a statement specifying the amount of dues owed.
We will bill you for the amount of dues owed during the time you receive Workers’ Compensation because dues are deducted from your salary only when you are on-the-job.
OF IMPORTANCE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NALC HEALTH PLAN
If you have the NALC Health Plan, you must pay all dues owed because after one year in a non-pay status, you lose your health coverage and become ineligible to acquire it in the future. You would create a disaster for yourself by not retaining your health coverage.
EYEGLASS AND DENTAL VOUCHERS
We experience ongoing great difficulty regarding those members who refuse to pay dues when they are in a no pay status. Because these non-paying dues members are not members in good standing, they are ineligible to receive dental and eyeglass vouchers. There are no exceptions.
THOSE MEMBERS IN THE MILITARY
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become a member of the military. We need to know when your military time begins and when it ends. Branch 36 is charged for per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. We cannot retroactively claim that per capita tax should be credited to us. We must inform NALC timely. It is of extreme importance that we be informed as indicated. If we are charged the per capita tax because we are unaware of the facts regarding your time in the military, we incur expenses that could be spent in a better way, to assist you concerning your membership needs, rather than paying per capita tax.
RETIREMENT AWARENESS
A lot of carriers are retiring who already have a date and they want to buy back military time and they can’t because when you are ready to retire and have a date, all money for Buy-Back must have been paid. You can’t Buy-Back once you retire. All information relating to Buy-Back must be completed before you retire and all payments must be in, so as to get credit for that time. You should call Shared Services and request the forms for whatever branch of service you were in. When you receive the form, you must correctly fill it out. You need Form RI 20-97. The name of the form is Estimate Earnings During Military Service. Fill out the form and in Box 19 make sure you put your name and address enabling the military to mail it back to you and keep a copy for yourself and send it to Shared Services. That office will return it to you and let you know the amount of money that you must pay to Buy-Back your military time. All monies must be paid in full prior to retirement.

The U.S. Postal Service has sent out a form to all carriers relative to eligibility to retire. The name of the aforementioned form is National Retirement Council System Annuity Estimate as of pay period 05-01-2010. The number of the form is AAF241P1. I would like all parties who have received this report to examine it very carefully because as of 2005, all of the personnel records went to:

Human Resources Shared Services Center
P.O. Box 970500
Greensboro, NC 27497-0500
When they moved to North Carolina, personnel should have updated all your information and especially credible service concerning military Buy-Back. I hope that you retained your receipts regarding payment of your Buy-Back, because if this form is incorrect, you must call Shared Service. The telephone number is: 1-877-477-3273. If you are thinking of retirement, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get this corrected because it does take time. It will take approximately three to four weeks to receive a new corrected Form 50 to make sure that all your information is correct.
Outlook November / December 2013
Holiday Beware
With the holiday season upon us, carriers please be extremely careful about delivering mail. This is the season when deceptive practices take place, including theft of mall. You too can be robbed. Keep the accountable mall in your possession. Don’t leave any mail in pushcarts. Don’t leave the pushcart unattended in front of buildings. Pushcarts
should always be kept in your sight at all times. If you cannot keep it in your sight, fold the pushcart and put it in the relay box.
Be careful in crowded elevators. Try to keep your bluebag In front of you, because if it is behind you, someone can pick your bag. Also, for your own personal safety, beware of pickpockets. This is their season. If you are doing your route and someone looks suspicious, don’t put yourself at risk to be harmed. Phone your supervisor or call 911. Also, be aware of people stopping you for directions while another party comes from behind you to pick your bag. That kind of person is also part of the scene around town at this time.

Be mindful that drop and relay drivers are being duped and robbed while delivering mail. Here’s an example of what is occurring. While you are unloading your truck, a person walks up to you and says, “Excuse me, did you drop this $5.00 bill?” While answering the question, someone else sneaks up behind you and steals from your truck. So be aware and alert, try to prevent yourself from becoming another crime victim.

Occurrences relating to The Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior In the Workplace, signed by the Postal Service and the NALC, referred to as, “The Joint Statement” are the basic theme of this writing. On numerous occasions both management and letter carriers are behaving in a manner that is out of compliance with the Joint Statement. Carriers must make every effort to prevent conflict in the workplace. The workplace must not be misused to do personal venting during job time.

You have a job you all know about, which is to deliver the mall correctly. Losing your job would be a horror story. Think of all the benefits you’d lose. You now have access to excellent benefits for yourself, your spouse, and your children, which you would forfeit sometime after becoming emergency placed. This kind of behavior is not condoned by anyone, and can cost you your job. If your job is terminated, you lose your medical benefits.

In various stations postal employees are becoming violent and they are threatening to cause bodily harm to others. The same is true of management.

You have a retirement plan and the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-deferred retirement savings plan available to all letter carriers, though under different rules for CSRS and FERS employees.

You also have benefits as a union member which were long fought for by the NALC. It would be a shame to give up these benefits because your expression of anger caused you to lose your job. Employees don’t have to love each other, but they must strive to work together peaceably - don’t cause disorder and hard feelings. If management intimidates you, don’t get into a confrontation. Ask to step off so that you can compose yourself and then see your shop steward and apprise your shop steward of the incident. In this way, management cannot accuse you of any wrongdoing. Always try to work together in harmony. By doing so, you will keep the benefits you have earned.

Until next time, I will look forward to providing more information and keeping you informed about events that will take place in the future.

I wish you and your family a safe, blessed and happy holiday. Have a prosperous New Year.

Outlook September / October 2013
Those Members Receiving OWCP
If you are receiving OWCP (Workers' Compensation) you become directly responsible for paying your union dues. Please remit dues to Branch 36 upon receipt of a statement specifying the amount of dues owed.

We will bill you for the amount of dues owed during the time you receive Workers' Compensation because dues cannot be deducted from your from your OWCP check.

OF IMPORTANCE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NALC HEALTH PLAN
If you have the NALC Health Plan, you must pay all dues owed because
after one year in a non-pay status, you lose your health coverage and become ineligible to acquire it in the future. You would create a disaster for yourself by not retaining your health coverage.
EYEGLASS AND DENTAL VOUCHERS
We experience ongoing great difficulty regarding those members who refuse to pay dues when they are in a no pay status. Because these non-paying dues members are not members in good standing, they are ineligible to receive dental and eyeglass vouchers. There are no exceptions. There are members who ignore correct bills asking them to pay dues.
THOSE MEMBERS IN THE MILITARY
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become a member of the military. We need to know when your military time begins and when it ends. Branch 36 is charged for per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. We must inform NALC timely. It is of extreme importance that we be informed as indicated. Our members serving in the military are not responsible for paying dues while on active duty.
RETIREMENT AWARENESS
A lot of carriers are retiring who already have a date and they want to buy back military time and they can't because when you are ready to retire and have a date, all money for Buy-Back must have been paid. You can't Buy-Back once you retire. All information relating to Buy-Back must be completed before you retire and all payments must be in, so as to get credit for that time. You should call Shared Services and request the forms for whatever branch of service you were in. When you receive the form, you must correctly fill it out. You need Form RI 20-97. The name of the form is Estimate Earnings During Military Service. Fill out the form and in Box 19 make sure you write your name and address enabling the military to mail it back to you, and keep a copy for yourself and send it to Shared Services. That office will return it to you and let you know the amount of money that you must pay to Buy- Back your military time. All monies must be paid in full prior to retirement.

The U.S. Postal Service has sent out a form to all carriers relative to eligibility to retire. The name of the aforementioned form is "National Retirement Council System Annuity Estimate." The number of the form is AAF241P1. I would like all parties who have received this report to examine it very carefully, because as of 2005, all of the personnel records went to: Human Resources Shared Services Center, P.O. Box 970500, Greensboro, NC 27497-0500.

When they moved to North Carolina, personnel should have updated all your information and especially credible service concerning military Buy-Back. I hope that you retained your receipts regarding payment of your Buy-Back, because if this form is incorrect, you must call Shared Services. Their telephone number is: 1-877-477- 3273. If you are thinking of retirement, you shouldn't wait until the last minute to get this corrected because it does take time. It will take approximately three to four weeks to receive a new corrected Form 50 to make sure that all information is correct.

Outlook July / August 2013
Summer and Awareness
The summer has once again come upon us. I am a grandfather and say that we have to be very careful about how the sun and swimming pools affect small children. Be sure someone responsible is caring for them and watches what they do and where they go, at all times. Sunscreen must be applied to protect them from getting severely sunburned. Many physicians advocate using a sunscreen containing zinc oxide because it is thought to be the best chemical for the purpose of protecting the skin. Use it every half hour or every hour. During the course of our vacation, we get too relaxed and lose track of our surroundings. In the not too distant past there were reports about sharks, including a dead shark that showed up in waters in Far Rockaway, NY. We cannot control tsunamis, hurricanes or tornadoes and other uncontrollable weather conditions called an Act of God, which in French is called "force majeure", because it cannot be reasonably anticipated, but we can be sure to be extra careful about what we do know, so as to protect ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
Changing times bring about ever-changing conditions. Regarding what we eat, we should beware of food packaging and check whether it has been tampered with. Many years ago you could leave your door open and no one would bother you or trespass. Today, never leave your door open and don't permit anyone to trespass.

Back to work topics: I receive a lot of phone calls from various stations where the carriers feel that they can call the Branch because they do not want their shop stewards to represent them. The shop stewards in the stations are elected by the majority of the station carriers, so, they are the only ones who can represent the carriers of that station. As I spoke to these carriers I also explained to them that they have the right to do their own Informal A, but the shop steward must be present when management renders a decision so as to protect the contract, so that it is not violated by management. Upon completion of the Informal, the case is given to the shop stewards to continue in the grievance procedure once it's denied at the Informal. Another issue is, if you are offered an oral discussion you cannot refuse it, nor can the grievant, nor can the shop steward. A discussion is just what it is. Nothing involving aforesaid discussion is placed on your record.

When you have problems and concerns in the stations, phone me and we'll discuss what's best to do about each problem. I'll quote information I wrote in the past that still applies: "In general, another problem relative to the workplace is that the carriers are assigned to do more work than is humanly possible within too short a time. We cannot do 10 hours work in 8 hours. Management's edict becomes preposterous because too much work is assigned to be done in too little time. Such assignments create and reinforce a burden which causes stress and mistakes. There are members of management who have exhibited long-term sustained destructive efforts to be ultra difficult and hateful toward carriers. They misuse the workplace to display maliciously ill-mannered attitudes and actions, and should have their employment with the U.S. Postal Service terminated. At this late juncture in time, it is anticlimactic to send them to school for additional training. We should get rid of the bad apples in management..." As usual, whenever you need a helping hand, contact me in the Grievance Division at Branch 36.
LET'S ALL ENJOY A HEALTHY, SAFE, GREAT SUMMER!

Outlook May / June 2013
Your Rights
This article concerns the subject of post-Miranda questioning. By reading the article, Coping with Post-Miranda Questioning, reprinted from Vol. 16, No. 2 of the Spring, 2003 issue of NALC Activist, I hope that you can get a better understanding of your rights and see the different circumstances in which you could become involved. It is quoted herein:

“You've heard it a million times on television: ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney...” These words, derived from the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda vs. Arizona, are commonly known as "Miranda warnings" informing persons in custody of constitutional rights prior to an interrogation. But what happens when local management wishes to interview an employee after postal inspectors have already given the carrier the Miranda warning? Does the carrier, in effect, have to waive his constitutional rights? A recent regional arbitration case clarified this issue and provides helpful guidance to branch officers and stewards.

THE FACTS
Case Nos. F98N-4FD 00251275 (C-22054), consolidated for arbitration, involved an allegation that a letter carrier had mishandled mail, an allegation that prompted local management to call in the Postal Inspection Service. The letter carrier was called into the office where two postal inspectors produced their badges and indicated they would like to ask the employee a few questions. The letter carrier, who was also the Branch President, requested union representation at that point. Since union representation was not available, the postal inspectors rescheduled the interrogation for several days later. At that meeting, the carrier was read her Miranda rights. After consultation with her attorney, the carrier refused to answer any questions, and the postal inspectors ended their interview.

The employee's Postmaster then contacted the carrier and requested that she make herself available for an investigatory interview by local management. On advice from her attorney, the carrier declined until the Postal Service would provide her with assurances it would not seek criminal charges. The Postmaster wrote the employee that his investigation was administrative and not part of the Postal Inspection Service's case. Nonetheless, on advice of her attorney, the carrier continued to refuse to submit to any interview until the Inspection Service itself would definitely state it would not seek criminal charges.

Ultimately, the Postal Service issued a Notice of Removal to the employee. Among the charges was, "Failure to Cooperate in an Official Investigation." The Postal Service asserted that although the employee was not required to speak to the Postal Inspectors after they "Mirandized" her, an interview by local supervisors was administrative and therefore outside the realm of the Inspection Service and the carrier's Miranda rights. Management further concluded that the employee's failure to cooperate in an official investigation was a serious breach of Part 666.6 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, "UAPS Standards of Conduct." In response, the union grieved the removal, arguing that the Postal Service had Violated Article 5 of the National Agreement and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The grievance was eventually arbitrated.

In his decision, Arbitrator Claude D. Ames ruled that given the employer's reasonable belief that anything she said could be used against her in a criminal proceeding, the employee reasonably sought assurances from the Inspection Service that it would not seek criminal charges, assurances that the Postmaster's letters did not provide. Absent such assurances, Arbitrator Ames ruled that the employee did not fail to cooperate in an investigation. In his award, the arbitrator stated that:

“Failure to Cooperate with a Postal Investigation, is unsustainable given the factual circumstances. Grievant was never informed by the postal inspectors or local management that any subsequent statements in an administrative investigation would not or could not be used against her in any criminal proceeding after being Mirandized. Although Grievant requested adequate assurances from the Postmaster through her attorney that no criminal investigation was pending prior to proceeding with the administrative investigation, these assurances (letters) were knowingly equivocal and insufficient, not the assurances that Grievant and her attorney were seeking, given the Postal Inspector's earlier statement that he would seek a grand jury against the grievant. Under these factual circumstances, Grievant is held to have had a well-founded belief of criminal prosecution and exercised her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination… It is also well settled that an order to remove an employee for failure to answer possible incriminating questions in an investigation, an agency must first advise the employee that (i) his refusal to answer may result in removal, and (ii) any statement(s) made during the interview will not be used against him/her in a criminal proceeding… A thorough review of the evidence record here, including Management's letter of assurance, does not indicate that Grievant was so advised... The Grievant's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent under these factual circumstances is constitutionally protected.”

NOTE TO STEWARDS
It is critical for stewards to understand and recognize the difference between a normal Investigatory interview, even when conducted by Postal Inspectors, and investigations that cross the threshold into criminal investigations when they read the employees their Miranda rights normally given by law enforcement officials such as postal inspectors, since once the warning is given, anything the individual says can be used in a court of law to show criminal activity.

Inspectors also enter the realm of a criminal investigation when they request that the employees sign PS Form 1067, Warning and Waiver of Rights. But stewards should always advise carriers not to sign PS Form 1067, because by signing, they waive their Miranda rights, if employee does sign PS Form 1067, anything the employee says from that point forward can be used against the employee in a court of law.

Stewards also should remember that they are not attorneys and thus cannot offer legal advice to employees facing potential criminal charges. To do so, could place you and your branch in a legally vulnerable position. So stewards, immediately inform the employee that he or she may wish to seek legal advice should there be any possibility that the Postal Service will bring criminal charges against the employee. You should instruct the carrier not to answer any questions postal inspectors ask and that the interrogation should be suspended until the employee has had an opportunity to consult with an attorney.

On the other hand, as Arbitrator Ames pointed out, the Postal Service may take disciplinary action against employees when employees fail to cooperate with normal investigatory interviews that have not crossed the threshold into criminal investigations. Therefore, stewards should be wary of advising employees subject merely to an investigatory interview to remain silent. If you are unsure whether the investigation is indeed a criminal investigation or is, as in Ames' case, a "mixed investigation," contact other union officials for help. But don't forget that in any investigatory interview, the steward has the right to a preinterview conference with the employee (see sidebar on employees' Weingarten Rights on page 6.) For a detailed treatment of carrier and stewards' rights read, When Postal Inspectors Ride into Town, within NALC Activist, Fall 1998, pages 1, 6-10."

I would like to wish all active and retired letter carriers and their families a healthy, safe and happy summer.

Outlook March / April 2013

I am very proud to report that I have been reelected Second Vice-President/ Financial Secretary. My new term in office runs from April, 2013 to April, 2016.

I am the administrative executive for the entire Grievance Division of Branch 36. I counsel the hearing officers as to their responsibility and I prepare the material relating to the grievants for the arbitration process. I am an arbitration advocate. I also appear with officers on behalf of Branch 36 at all orientation classes which introduce Branch 36 to those who are new to the letter carrier craft.

Carriers requesting light duty must correctly fill out a Light Duty Request form. Carriers are not properly filling out Light Duty Requests as per the Light Duty policy of Article 13 under the provisions of Article 13 of the National Agreement and the LMOU.

1. Purpose:
Under the provisions of Article 13 of the National Agreement and the LMOU, the USPS is obligated to show/provide the greatest consideration for full-time regular, part-time regular, and part-time flexible schedule employees requiring temporary light duty or other assignments, to give each request careful attention, and to reassign such employees to the extent possible in the employees's station/plant.

This policy pertains only to those employees who sustain an "off-the-job injury" or "non-job related illness" which prevents them from performing their regular job duties and/or other Postal Service work.

Medical Documentation:
In addition to the employee's written request for temporary light duty assignment, the employee is obligated and must submit a medical certificate from a health care practitioner that reflects the following:
a) All medical certificates must be current, and signed by the health care practitioner on official letterhead. The certificates should be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of being signed by the health care practitioner. Copies of medical certificates will not be accepted, only original medical certificates.

Request for Light Duty Assignment
Employees who are unable to perform the full duties of their assigned position may request a temporary light duty assignment as follows:
a) Prior to reporting for his/her scheduled tour of duty, the employee shall submit a written request for a temporary light duty assignment together with an appropriate medical certificate to his/her Manager, Customer Services/MDO/ MMO. The Manager, Customer Services/MDO/MMO shall then contact their respective light duty coordinator to determine the availability of light duty work.

b) If a temporary light duty assignment is available, the employee will be given a temporary light duty offer in writing. The employee will be required to sign the form and indicate whether he/she accepts or does not accept the offer. If the employee accepts the offer, he/she will be directed when and where to report to the assignment.

c) If a temporary light duty assignment is not available, management will notify the employee in writing. The employee will be permitted to request leave of his/her choice; either annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay (LWOP), when temporary work is unavailable.

Should you need further clarification in reference to the aforesaid information, feel free to give me a phone call at Branch 36. The number is: (212) 239-3901.

To all my Brothers and Sisters, I wish you all a very happy and healthy Passover and Easter.

Outlook January / February 2013
In Remembrance
We have learned very sad news. On January 10, 2013 at about 9:03 a.m., Vincent R. Sombrotto passed away at the age of 89.

Turning the clock back in time, it can be remembered that "Vince" worked for many years at Grand Central Station. So did I and former President of Branch 36, Frank M. Orapello. "Vince" led the 1970's Postal Strike which resulted in the right of postal workers to engage in collective bargaining which opened the way for other necessary basic rights of all letter carriers around the nation. He was a dynamic strong leader with talents that never faded. He was a man who occupied the spotlight and that is where he rightfully belonged. He was a prolific writer and a great public speaker as well. He was a relaxed and well informed public speaker. His artful use of words held the public spellbound

on all occasions during his entire career, whether he spoke at Branch 36 as its president, NALC in Washington, D.C. or at the White House upon invitation of the President of the United States to address the Cabinet on postal issues. He met the challenges with distinction and class. It was always a pleasure to listen to "Vince". His taste was impeccable concerning his leadership responsibilities.

A very long time ago, there was an all-time favorite love song with the words, "...it's just like Grand Central Station when I look at you..." That's how it was with "Vince" and his lady love with whom he joined his life in familial harmony over fifty years ago. Their immediate family is made up of five daughters and two sons. To be comical you could say they had a baseball team!

Considering his past when he was president of Branch 36, here is an example of how he wrote for the New York Letter Carriers' OUTLOOK: "...the incredible paradox that the UPS has created for the USPS is the USPS is losing money in processing a greater volume of mail. You would have thought that after the negative experience the USPS suffered through because of the 1974 UPS strike that the high-priced geniuses in Washington, (added: so-called geniuses) would have developed a contingency plan for what will surely be the 1976 debacle. Could it be that this is exactly what they want and that is to give away all of the Parcel Post business to their major competitor?" That's a quote from the November, 1976 edition from his column, Personally Speaking.

We could write reams of paper about "Vince" because he lived a very active and very interesting life. Let us now say that we will so deeply miss him and wish to convey to his family our condolences. "Vince", we enjoyed knowing you.

Outlook November / December 2012
Holiday Beware
With the holiday season upon us, carriers please be extremely careful about delivering mail. This is the season when deceptive practices take place, including theft of mall. You too can be robbed. Keep the accountable mall in your possession. Don't leave any mail in pushcarts. Don't leave the pushcart unattended in front of buildings. Pushcarts should always be kept in your sight at all times. If you cannot keep it in your sight, fold the pushcart and put it in the relay box.
Be careful in crowded elevators. Try to keep your bluebag In front of you, because if it is behind you, someone can pick your bag. Also, for your own personal safety, beware of pickpockets. This is their season. If you are doing your route and someone looks suspicious, don't put yourself at risk to be harmed. Phone your supervisor or call 911. Also, be aware of people stopping you for directions while another party comes from behind you to pick your bag. That kind of person is also part of the scene around town at this time.

Be mindful that drop and relay drivers are being duped and robbed while delivering mail. Here's an example of what is occurring. While you are unloading your truck, a person walks up to you and says, "Excuse me, did you drop this $5.00 bill?" While answering the question, someone else sneaks up behind you and steals from your truck. So be aware and alert try to prevent yourself from becoming another crime victim.

Occurrences relating to The Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior In the Workplace, signed by the Postal Service and the NALC, referred to as, "The Joint Statement" are the basic theme of this writing. On numerous occasions both management and letter carriers are behaving in a manner that is out of compliance with the Joint Statement. Carriers must make every effort to prevent conflict in the workplace. The workplace must not be misused to do personal venting during job time.

You have a job you all know about, which is to deliver the mall correctly. Losing your job would be a horror story. Think of all the benefits you'd lose. You now have access to excellent benefits for yourself, your spouse, and your children, which you would forfeit sometime after becoming emergency placed. This kind of behavior is not condoned by anyone, and can cost you your job. If your job is terminated, you lose your medical benefits.

In various stations postal employees are becoming violent and they are threatening to cause bodily harm to others. The same is true of management.

You have a retirement plan and the opportunity to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-deferred retirement savings plan available to all letter carriers, though under different rules for CSRS and FERS employees.

You also have benefits as a union member which were long fought for by the NALC. It would be a shame to give up these benefits because your expression of anger caused you to lose your job. Employees don't have to love each other, but they must strive to work together peaceably - don't cause disorder and hard feelings. If management intimidates you, don't get into a confrontation. Ask to step off so that you can compose yourself and then see your shop steward and apprise your shop steward of the incident. In this way, management cannot accuse you of any wrongdoing. Always try to work together in harmony. By doing so, you will keep the benefits you have earned.

Until next time, I will look forward to providing more information and keeping you informed about events that will take place in the future.

I wish you and your family a safe, blessed and happy holiday. Have a prosperous New Year.

Outlook September / October 2012
Military Buy-Back Alert
THOSE MEMBERS RECEIVING OWCP
If you are receiving OWCP (Workers' Compensation) you become directly responsible for paying your union dues. Please remit dues to Branch 36 upon receipt of a statement specifying the amount of dues owed.

We will bill you for the amount of dues owed during the time you receive Workers' Compensation because dues are deducted from your salary only when you are on-the-job.

OF IMPORTANCE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NALC HEALTH PLAN
If you have the NALC Health Plan, you must pay all dues owed because after one year in a non-pay status, you lose your health coverage and become ineligible to acquire it in the future. You would create a disaster for yourself by not retaining your health coverage.
EYEGLASS AND DENTAL VOUCHERS
We experience ongoing great difficulty regarding those members who refuse to pay dues when they are in a no pay status. Because these non-paying dues members are not members in good standing, they are ineligible to receive dental and eyeglass vouchers. There are no exceptions. There are members who ignore correct bills asking them to pay dues.
THOSE MEMBERS IN THE MILITARY
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become a member of the military. We need to know when your military time begins and when it ends. Branch 36 is charged for per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. We cannot retroactively claim that per capita tax should be credited to us. We must Inform NALC timely. It is of extreme importance that we be informed as indicated. If we are charged the per capita tax because we are unaware of the facts regarding your time in the military, we incur expenses that could be spent in a better way, to assist you concerning your membership needs, rather than paying per capita tax. Our members serving in the military are not responsible for paying dues while on active duty.
RETIREMENT AWARENESS
A lot of carriers are retiring who already have a date and they want to buy back military time and they can't because when you are ready to retire and have a date, all money for Buy-Back must have been paid. You can't Buy-Back once you retire. All information relating to Buy-Back must be completed before you retire and all payments must be in, so as to get credit for that time. You should call Shared Services and request the forms for whatever branch of service you were in. When you receive the form, you must correctly fill it out. You need Form RI 20-97. The name of the form is Estimate Earnings During Military Service. Fill out the form and in Box 19 make sure you write your name and address enabling the military to mail it back to you and keep a copy for yourself and send it to Shared Services. That office will return it to you and let you know the amount of money that you must pay to Buy- Back your military time. All monies must be paid in full prior to retirement.

The U.S. Postal Service has sent out a form to all carriers relative to eligibility to retire. The name of the aforementioned form is "National Retirement Council System Annuity Estimate". The number of the form is AAF241P1. I would like all parties who have received this report to examine it very carefully because as of 2005, all of the personnel records went to:
Human Resources Shared Services Center
PO BOX 970500
Greensboro, NC 27497-0500

When they moved to North Carolina, personnel should have updated all your information and especially credible service concerning military Buy-Back. I hope that you retained your receipts regarding payment of your Buy-Back, because if this form is incorrect, you must call Shared Services. Their telephone number is: 1-877-477-3273. If you are thinking of retirement, you shouldn't wait until the last minute to get this corrected because it does take time. It will take approximately three to four weeks to receive a new corrected Form 50 to make sure that all your information is correct.

Outlook July / August 2012
Bylaw Rules
Back to work topics: I receive a lot of phone calls from various stations where the carriers feel that they can call the Branch because they do not want their shop stewards to represent them. The shop stewards in the station are elected by the majority of the station carriers, so they are the only ones who can represent the carriers of that station. As I spoke to these carriers I also explained to them that they have the right to do their own Informal A, but the shop steward must be present when management renders a decision so as to protect the contract, so that it is not violated by management. Upon completion of the Informal, the case is given to the shop stewards to continue in the grievance procedure once it's denied at the Informal. Another issue is that if you are offered a discussion you cannot refuse it, nor can the grievant, nor can the shop steward. A discussion is just what it is.
Nothing involving aforesaid discussion is placed on your record.

When you have problems and concerns in the stations, phone me and we'll discuss what's best to do about each problem. I'll quote information I wrote in the past that still applies: "In general another problem relative to the workplace is that the carriers are assigned to do more work than is humanly possible within too short a time. We cannot do 10 hours work in 8 hours. Management's edict becomes preposterous because too much work is assigned to be done in too little time. Such assignments create and reinforce a burden which causes stress and mistakes. There are members of management who have exhibited long-term sustained destructive efforts to be ultra difficult and hateful toward carriers. They misuse the workplace to display maliciously ill-mannered attitudes and actions, and should have their employment with the U.S. Postal Service terminated. At this juncture in time, it is anticlimactic to send them to school for additional training. We should get rid of the bad apples in management..." As usual, whenever you need a helping hand, contact me in the Grievance Division at Branch 36.

LET'S ALL ENJOY A HEALTHY, SAFE, GREAT SUMMER!
Outlook May / June 2012
Awareness Alert
THOSE MEMBERS RECEIVING OWCP
If you are receiving OWCP (Workers' Compensation) you become directly responsible for paying your union dues. Please remit dues to Branch 36 upon receipt of a statement specifying the amount of dues owed

We will bill you for the amount of dues owed during the time you receive Workers' Compensation because dues are deducted from your salary only when you are on-the-job.

OF IMPORTANCE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NALC HEALTH PLAN
If you have the NALC Health Plan, you must pay all dues owed because after one year in a non-pay status, you lose your health coverage and become ineligible to acquire it in the future. You would create a disaster for yourself by not retaining your health coverage.
EYEGLASS AND DENTAL VOUCHERS
We experience ongoing great difficulty regarding those members who refuse to pay dues when they are in a no pay status. Because these non-paying dues members are not members in good standing, they are ineligible to receive dental and eyeglass vouchers. There are no exceptions. There are scores of members who ignore correct bills asking them to pay dues
THOSE MEMBERS IN THE MILITARY
We would appreciate being informed if you are in the military and/or become a member of the military. We need to know when your military time begins and when it ends. Branch 36 is charged per capita tax by the NALC for each Branch 36 member. We cannot retroactively claim that per capita tax should be credited to us. We must inform NALC timely. It is of extreme importance that we be informed as indicated.
RETIREMENT AWARENESS
A lot of carriers are retiring who already have a date and they want to buy back military time and they can't because when you are ready to retire and have a date, all money for Buy-Back must have been paid. You can't Buy-Back once you retire. All information relating to Buy-Back must be completed before you retire and all payments must be in, so as to get credit for that time. You should call Shared Services and request the forms for whatever branch of service you were in. When you receive the form, you must correctly fill it out. You need Form RI 20-97. The name of the form is Estimate Earnings During Military Service. Fill out the form and in Box 19 make sure you put your name and address enabling the military to mail it back to you and keep a copy for yourself and send it to Shared Services. That office will return it to you and let you know the amount of money that you must pay to Buy- Back your military time. All monies must be paid in full prior to retirement.
HUMAN RESOURCES SHARED SERVICES CENTER
PO BOX 970500
GREENSBORO, NC 27497-0500
When they moved to North Carolina, personnel should have updated all your information and especially credible service concerning military Buy-Back. I hope that you retained your receipts regarding payment of your Buy-Back, because if this form is incorrect, you must call Shared Services and the telephone number is: 1-877-477-3273. If you are thinking of retirement, you shouldn't wait until the last minute to get this corrected because it does take time. It will take approximately three to four weeks to receive a new corrected Form 50 to make sure that all your information is correct.



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