By Rajvi Desai

If it were up to Miguel Perdomo, no New Yorker would go hungry on Thanksgiving. 

Be it a family from a nearby shelter tucking leftovers into a bag or a 90-year-old woman hesitating at the door, Perdomo has made sure that everyone who comes to his annual Thanksgiving dinner leaves with a full belly and a happy heart. 

“I always stand by the door, encouraging people to come in. You sit down, grab a plate, listen to some music, talk to some people,” Perdomo, 56, said. “I let my crew know, we’re not turning nobody away on Thanksgiving Day.”

Perdomo, who has worked as a United States Postal Service mail carrier in East Harlem for 16 years, has been serving free Thanksgiving dinners to about 300 people from his community on the fourth Thursday of November for the past decade.

Every year, he goes all out: 20 turkeys, eight trays of rice, five trays of candied yams, four trays of mac and cheese, cornbread, cookies and cake from Costco, cranberry juice and tiny apple juice boxes for the children. 

The meal, which costs $1,000 to $1,200 each year, is partly funded by Perdomo’s fellow letter carriers and clerks at the USPS Hellgate Station on East 110th Street. Most of them contribute $20 each, and Perdomo covers the rest. 

Perdomo said the tradition began 10 years ago, when the owner of the supermarket opposite his post office sought help with starting a Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. Five years in, the supermarket closed down and the owner moved away, leaving Perdomo in charge of continuing the feast. 

“People of the neighborhood came to ask me ‘Hey, Mike, are we going to get Thanksgiving dinner this year?’ I was scared. I didn’t have any of those resources. All I did was collect money and give it to him,” Perdomo said. “That meant that I went to my co-workers. I went to my route.”

Walking along that same route on a cold Tuesday morning on Nov. 14, Perdomo pushed his mail cart down East 110th Street. Dressed in muted gray pants and a USPS jacket, with a slightly askew National Association of Letter Carriers beanie, he was interrupted by every other pedestrian. Greetings and questions from residents rang out, and he responded to every single one of them. Even as he flitted in and out of buildings, sliding letters and packages into mailboxes with a deft hand, members of the community stopped by to relay the latest news of the neighborhood.

It is this relationship with his community that allowed Perdomo to continue the Thanksgiving tradition. He convinced the older residents from a senior center on his route to season a few turkeys and a couple of friends helped with the rest. A bakery, Vallecito, offered to provide the ovens and relatives from New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland agreed to serve the food. His wife, Milly Perdomo, took charge of everything else.

“This is the beauty of what we do,” Perdomo said. “The entire community is involved.” 

He also convinced the Edwin Gould Housing Program to provide a space for the event at no cost. EGA, which provides apartments to 51 young adults, has been working with “Mike the Mailman” for seven years. 

“Welcoming Mike to the space is at the core of our work -- to create a community where youth thrive and feel supported,” program director Eshawn Hall said. “We look forward to partnering with Mike for many years to come.” 

Having attended the dinner for the past three years, Ramon Diaz calls Perdomo “Mr. Mike.”

“He’s a really, really great guy,” Diaz said. “Most of my family’s gone. It’s just me and my brother, so a big turkey is not feasible for us. When I saw the flyer, I didn’t expect much, but it’s like a family atmosphere there.

There’s nothing rude. It’s all nice and the food is very, very good,” Diaz added.

The flyers, which Perdomo persuaded the staff at Edwin Gould to make, are distributed by his co-workers on their routes, as well as outside shelters and around low-income housing. For the 11th annual Thanksgiving dinner, which will be held from 12:30 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 23, the flyers will start going up in East Harlem on Saturday. 

“We feel it’s amazing how many people don’t have a place to go eat on Thanksgiving,” Perdomo said. “It’s a lot of lonely New Yorkers.” 

After a decade of serving free Thanksgiving dinners, Perdomo said he can recall “thousands” of stories: A young teen, whom Perdomo had seen sleeping in the park, came in one year and heaped his plate with food. But before he ate, the teen disappeared into the bathroom for a half hour as Perdomo watched his plate. 

“You know what he was doing?” Perdomo asked. “He was taking a shower. That broke my heart. I gave him food to take with him after that.”

Perdomo insists on treating everybody the same on Thanksgiving Day. He also issues a warning to volunteers: “If you think that you cannot handle any kind of person, then this is not for you.”

Many people request to take food home with them, and he never says no. He also makes sure there is enough turkey and rice for the visitors who come in later, and in his characteristically generous manner, he leaves the leftover food for the youth at Edwin Gould. 

“I get goose bumps. I get so emotional when all these people who have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving come to my dinner,” Perdomo said. “These are the people I see every day ... I am their mailman.

Letter Carrier Simone McCrorey from Cathedral Station (L) and Alex Lee (2nd from L) joined
other postal officials in ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ.Letter Carriers were chosen because of the Customer Connect leads that led to postal revenue. Great Job!

Election notice

Pursuant to an election complaint received by the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), the National Association of Letter Carriers has entered into a voluntary agreement with OLMS to conduct a new officer election for the position of NALC Director of Retired Members under OLMS’ supervision. There will not be new nominations for this position. The term of office for this election is the remainder of the unexpired term, which will end in December 2018.

The election will be conducted by mail ballot. NALC members in good standing as of June 1, 2015, are eligible to vote. All NALC members are encouraged to update their addresses with the union by contacting the NALC Membership Department at 202-662-2836 or by visiting

Ballots will be mailed to eligible members on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, 2015. Ballots are due back in the post office box by 12 p.m. on Oct. 5, 2015. The tally will commence immediately afterward at Peake-DeLancey Printing, 2500 Schuster Drive, Cheverly, MD 20781. The results will be published on the NALC website, with the vote totals broken down by branch.

If you have not received your ballot by Sept. 21, 2015, or if you spoil your ballot or need another ballot for any reason, contact your local branch office and request that it contacts the NALC Membership Department to provide a duplicate ballot to you. When requesting a duplicate ballot, please provide your branch office with your name and current mailing address. The NALC Membership Department will process your duplicate ballot request. If you cast your original ballot and a duplicate ballot, only the duplicate ballot will be counted.

All phases of the election are being supervised by OLMS. If you have any questions, please call U.S. Department of Labor, OLMS, Election Supervisor Brian Lucy at 202-513-7318 or e-mail Any NALC member wishing to file a protest regarding the conduct of this election must do so in writing to the election supervisor no later than Oct. 19, 2015. To receive the mailing address and fax number options to file a protest, contact OLMS Election Supervisor Brian Lucy at the phone number or e-mail address above.

Campaigning—Union or employer equipment (including copiers, computers, printers, telephones, e-mail, etc.), office supplies, websites, newsletters, social media, membership lists, facilities, cash, or any other financial or in-kind resources cannot be used to promote or attack any candidate in the election. This prohibition extends to the use of union funds or resources to publicize a branch’s endorsement of a candidate. Campaigning cannot be conducted on union or Postal Service time (including during union meetings or training events) and Postal Service rules regarding campaigning must be followed. These rules apply to any union (including the national, state association, branch, and any other union) and to any employer (whether or not they employ union members). However, these rules do not prohibit branches from publishing in their newsletters campaign advertisements that have been paid for by a candidate. Branches may also sponsor a debate between the candidates, or invite the candidates to speak at meetings, so long as both candidates are afforded an equal opportunity to appear.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the new election and/or campaign activities, please contact OLMS Election Supervisor Brian Lucy at

On October 16, 2014, Grand Central Station was renamed the Vincent R. Sombrotto station at a dedication ceremony held in its lobby.
There were well over 100 people in attendance to witness this huge honor. Vince’s widow, Mrs. Rae Sombrotto, attended along with their seven adult children, as well as a few grandchildren. Vince’s youngest daughter, Dr. Lisa Sombrotto, spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the Sombrotto family. This ceremony was hosted by the Postal Service. Manhattan Postmaster Elvin Mercado was the Master of Ceremony. He introduced USPS Area Vice President Northeast Richard Uluski as the opening speaker and then introduced the creator of the bill, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. NALC President Fred Rolando and New York State President George Mangold spoke about the accomplishments of Vince Sombrotto. I also had the privilege of speaking on behalf of the Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 members. Branch 36 was honored by having the following people represent our branch at the ceremony: Woodlawn Station shop steward Jillian Diaz sang the National Anthem, Branch 36 Vice President Pat McNally led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Branch 36 retiree Cleveland Morgan gave the invocation.

The executive board of The Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 has been re-elected. Only one member of the executive council receive a challenge that was, Mike Kelly Director of Education and he won convincingly by a margin of 772 to 60. The installation was held during the April general membership meeting at the Pine Restaurant in the Bronx.  We had the pleasure of having NALC President  Fredric  Rolando as the installing officer with NALC Director of Health Benefits Brian Hellman assistant installing officer.

When a Service Talk is not a Service Talk
by Curtis Jewell
Today 8/30/12 a service talk was held at my station. The speaker was the station manager and he was discussing a recent communication from the PMG. He talked about the increase in parcel delivery and decrease in first and second-class mail. Generally he explained the percent of expected change making employees aware of future volume projections.

All right, we've heard this before; management projecting the postal future is not unusual and sometimes they can even get it right.

However he then began to explain how the P0 would be going from 6-day delivery to 5-day delivery. He used words that began to sound like this was a done deal. He said that around November, 2012 several stations may be closed and that during 2013 or early 2014 the PO would change to a 5-day delivery. I intervened and told him that the NALC's position was strongly against any move to change to a 5-day delivery and that to imply there is an agreement would be misleading.

Ok, for me that was normal, management and craft discussing issues with different points of view, I get that; it's how things work, right? But what I really didn't get was the reaction of my fellow carriers; many actually applauded the idea of changing to a 5-day delivery. So I brought up the loss of jobs, service reduction and other issues related to such a change but I had a feeling that many of my coworkers were not at all concerned and this really bothered me.

Then the manager addressed my statement by stating the following:
Don't concern yourself because the changes are inevitable.
Management will offer an Early Out for carriers who would lose their own assignments.
Parcel Post will remain at 6-day and may increase to 7-day.
No one will be hurt by the changes.

I really wasn't surprised by what he said but I was surprised by the reaction of my fellow workers. Many (not all) took the bait: hook, line, and sinker and that is my concern.

I wonder why after so many years of management's indecisive and ineffective ideas would so many rejoice in these hollow words. Can we be so easily fooled?

I can't spend a lot of time trying to figure it out but I will say this to my fellow Letter Carriers, friends, and co-workers. Please do your homework. Read President Rolando's editorials. Go to the NALC's website (, become an e-activist. Fully understand what a 5-day delivery will do before you support it. Don't fall for the sweet talk they're giving us just because it is what you want to hear. We have come too far to fall for the oldest trick in the book. Educate yourself, stay active; it's your bread and butter. You don't want to figure it OUT when you're OUT of a JOB.

Follow what happened at the 68th Biennial Convention with the daily chronicles
Letter Carrier Daily Log
This form has been created to help carriers. The form has places to record information such as clock rings, mail volume, auxiliary assistance, and other daily information letter carriers have intrest in keeping. The form may be printed out, or information may be typed in directly into the form so it can be saved electronically.
April 12 Rally in front of Senators Schumer & Gillibrand offices
What is Postcrossing?
It's a project that allows anyone to receive postcards (real ones, not electronic) from random places in the world Learn More.....

Informational Picketing at the New York State Convention  

Branch 36 at the "We Are One" rally

1970 Postal Strike
Forty years ago, the rank-and-file members of Branch 36 took a stand that changed the course of history. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that the gains that letter carriers and other postal employees have made in the past four decades are a direct result of the courage and solidarity the rank-and-file members of Branch 36 displayed in March 1970 when they embarked on the country's first and only nationwide postal strike. Without the strike, the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, which brought true collective bargaining to postal employees would probably not have been enacted. As a result, literally millions of workers employed by the Postal Service during the past 40 years have been the beneficiaries of wages, benefits and working conditions far superior to what they otherwise would have been.

The strike itself was one of those rarities in American labor history -- an actual uprising of rank-and-file workers who forged what was a true revolutionary act and who acted with courage and conviction despite the resistance of their elected leaders. This revolution sprang from the despair felt by carriers in New York and in many other parts of the country who could not support their families. In fact, for those current members of Branch 36 who were not carrying the mail in 1969 and 1970, words cannot truly convey the suffering of letter carriers and their families at that time. Because of the high cost of living in New York City, many carriers were forced to work two jobs or go on welfare, if not both. Ironically, it was only the federally-sponsored "War on Poverty" of the 1960s which enabled the families of some letter carriers in New York to survive.

Every revolution has its triggering events, and for the 1970 postal strike it was the courageous actions of a small group of Bronx letter carriers that began the process of converting frustration and despair into citywide collective action. On July 1, 1969, in reaction to a meager pay increase issued by President Richard Nixon, almost all of the letter carriers and postal clerks at the Kingsbridge Station in the Bronx called in sick. Then, when on the very next day, the Postmaster suspended all 56 letter carriers and 16 clerks at Kingsbridge, 16 of the 36 letter carriers in the Throggs Neck Branch in the Bronx also called in sick.

Significantly, the rank-and-file members of Branch 36 were not frightened by the Post Office Department's investigations and suspensions because for the first time in years, they had gained a sense of control and pride. The actions of the Bronx carriers had instilled a sense of euphoria among many New York carriers, for it became clear that if thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of postal employees could only show the same sense of euphoria among many New York carriers, for it became clear that if thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of postal employees could only show the same sense of courage and solidarity that the Bronx carriers had demonstrated, then throughout the country true power would rest in the hands of postal employees.

But the Kingsbridge and Throggs Neck incidents were important for another reason: The branch leadership's reaction to the suspensions created a growing split between Branch 36's leadership. Frightened by the possibility of an illegal strike, the increasingly militant rank-and-file were willing to take whatever steps were necessary to shatter the chains of economic slavery. The key issue dividing the two groups was whether the branch would compensate the suspended carriers for the wages they had lost during their two-week suspensions. Vincent R. Sombrotto, then a rank and-file carrier who did not hold an office in the branch, first raised the issue at a special meeting of the branch, but the branch's leadership opposed Sombrotto's proposal and, in fact, criticized the Bronx carriers for what the leaders called precipitous and rash action. At first, Branch 36's officers prevailed, but Sombrotto and his growing army of allies persisted meeting after meeting until, at the Branch's January 1970 meeting, they were successful in signing the two-thirds vote necessary to pass the proposal providing compensation for the suspended carriers.

The issue of paying the suspended carriers was far from the only issue dividing Branch 36's rank-and-file carriers from their leaders. At the branch's January meeting, the members also rejected the branch leadership's endorsement of a December 18th agreement between President Richard Nixon and NALC National President James Rademacher. This agreement coupled Nixon's endorsement of a pay increase with Rademacher's backing of an independent "postal authority" to replace the cabinet level Post Office Department an idea the NALC had previously opposed. The members at the January meeting were incensed at the Nixon-Rademacher pay increase an increase they deemed grossly inadequate. Instead, they demanded substantial improvements in pay and benefits and angrily voiced their willingness to strike if necessary.

Branch 36's leadership tried to stem the rising tide of militancy. Working through the branch's station stewards-then called station delegates-the branch conducted a "strike survey" which asked members whether they would go on strike alone if the national union did not substitute the provisions approved by the branch's January meeting for the Rademacher-Nixon agreement, whether the members would strike only if a strike was called by the national union, or whether they would strike under any circumstance.

It soon became clear that the survey was not designed to determine the true feelings of branch members. At the February branch meeting, rank-and-file members asked for the results, but the branch officers said the returns were still being analyzed and the figures would be released at the branch's March meeting which, in the end, they never did. To this day, the results of that survey are not known.

It was at the March 12th branch meeting at Riverside Plaza Terrace that the ferment among New York carriers finally boiled over when they learned that a House of Representatives committee had, on the same day, approved a bill reflecting the Nixon- Rademacher compromise. In response to the congressional action and to the unwillingness of the branch officers to release the results of the strike survey, carriers attending the March membership meeting stormed the podium and angrily demanded a strike vote.

The long-delayed was finally taken on March 17,1970 at jampacked Manhattan Center on West 34th Street. At approximately 11 p.m., the results were announced to the members: 1,555, yes, 1,055, no. Immediately, President Jack Leventhal of Brooklyn's Branch 41, announced that he had the authorization of his members to support Branch 36. Moe Biller, President of the Manhattan-Bronx Postal Union - the union representing clerks and drivers in Manhattan and the Bronx said he could not take a position until he determined the feelings of his membership.

At 12:0l a.m., March 18, members of Branch 36 set up picket lines outside post offices throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. The strike was finally on. Although not all the members had voted for the strike, almost every letter carrier in Branch 36 stayed out. Immediately, the rank-and-file members of the Manhattan-Bronx Postal Union honored the picket lines. And later that day, Branch 41 and branches in Long Island and Northern New Jersey joined the strike. And then the strike spread to large and small communities alike from coast to coast as letter carriers and postal clerks walked off their jobs and dug in for the duration. Not until March 21 did the Manhattan-Bronx Postal Union actually join the strike, and by March 23rd, the strikers numbered almost 250,000.

Although many letter carriers and other postal workers throughout the country began to return to work following Nixon's decision to use Army troops to process mail in New York, New York's letter carriers remained steadfast. It was only when the leaders of Branch 36 assured their striking members that an agreement had been reached with the Administration-even though no such agreement existed that New York's carriers and clerks put down their picket signs and went back to work on March 25. First to go out and last to go back in, Branch 36's letter carriers had shown resolve and courage that would never be forgotten.

Congressional leaders and national postal union officials spent the next several months resolving the twin issues of pay increases and postal reform, and it was not until August 12, 1970, that the Postal Reorganization Act became law. Carriers and other postal workers had, at long last, achieved full collective bargaining rights. Although the members of Branch 36 had not achieved all they had struck for, the years of what some deemed "collective begging" were over, and the strikers had been vindicated. The long struggle of letter carriers for dignity and justice had taken a giant step forward.

The strike of March 1970 was a true revolution-a revolution the rank-and-file letter carriers of Branch 36 ignited. It was not a strike called by the National Union or by the leadership of Branch 36-and can even be viewed in part as a strike against the incumbent leadership. In essence, the 1970 postal strike sprang from the collective anguish and despair of thousands of ordinary New York letter carriers who would not be denied. It was their courage and their willingness to take unparalleled risks that will put every man and woman who ever carries mail forever in their debt.

Since 1955, MDA has built bridges and knocked down barriers for youngsters with muscular dystrophy and related diseases by providing an unforgettable week at MDA summer camp. 
MDA camp is a magical place offering a wide range of activities specially designed for young people who have limited mobility or use wheelchairs.  Although structured, camp programs are conducted in a relaxed  atmosphere that gives campers an unmatched opportunity to develop lifelong friendships, share interests and build self-confidence.
Branch 36 Bowls for a Cure
Now Playing Now Playing
Award Summary: The contractual provision (2-B) under challenge in this case has not been proven to impose an unreasonable burden on the Postal Service; the Service's request that it be replaced is rejected. The grievance is dismissed.

The current language in Item 2-B remains the same. Management and the NALC must mutually agree to schedule changes that require a Carrier to work additional Saturdays during the course of a year.

Management tried to have the above language removed and be able to change schedules without an agreement.

About Route Adjustments

Many stations in the Bronx and Manhattan are undergoing route adjustments. The new route adjustment procedure is replacing the old C&I procedure. As Management and National hammer out the new language that will surely be in the next contract. Branch 36 already has an agreement to use the process now.

   Why is Route Adjustment s better then C&I’s?

  The teams that are doing the route adjustment are made up of management and union people and the Union gets a full say in the matter. C&I’s were just management and a one week picture or sometimes a one day picture of your route. Route adjustments are based real time! Your time, averages are taken from the past year. C&I team came in and tested, Route Adjustment team come in and talk to everyone in the station. Every carrier is interviewed it’s not just cold numbers. With Union involvement it’s a far superior product.

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