John Springman e-mail
Executive Vice President
Outlook May / June 2017
The following article from the March 2015 Postal Record by Mr. Kevin Card is being reprinted here to advise letter carriers of their right to file a Traumatic Injury claim (Ca-1) in the event of an on the job assault.

Assaults can consist of verbal as well as physical abuse. A letter carrier can find themselves in a situation where threats of bodily harm or worse can have a devastating effect. Your safety is your first concern.

Letter carriers who believe that they are in specific danger, someone is menacing or harassing you, call 911. If you feel suspicious or concerned about your surroundings call your Supervisor.

I am confident you will find the following information very helpful

Assaulted on the Job?
As letter carriers, we spend more time in public spaces than just about any other worker. We witness the good, the bad, and everything in between. We are the eyes and ears of the neighborhoods we work in. While the good things we witness make the job enjoyable, letter carriers can also witness, or be victims of, violent crimes.

For the last year, NALC has been working with postal officials to address the safety concerns of letter carriers delivering in danger and darkness. In some offices, increased staffing levels and delivery schedules have made a difference. Yet even with these efforts, assaults on letter carriers continue.

Even the smallest crime can be a traumatic, life-changing experience. In cases of assault and robbery, the trauma can be debilitating. These traumatic, on-the-job injuries are compensable under federal law. While federal law places the responsibility on injured workers for submitting the evidence required to prove a claim for compensation, traumatized victims of violent crimes often are incapable of carrying out normal daily life activities, let alone requesting and developing evidence needed for claim acceptance.

Branch officers will need to assist members who are struggling by helping them file a claim and gather needed documentation.

While the Postal Service does not have the right to actively participate in the claims adjudication process, the agency is responsible for submitting to OWCP all relevant and probative factual and medical evidence in its possession, or which it may acquire through investigation or other means. This does not always happen. This is where active involvement by branch officers can make the difference between claim acceptance and denial.

In a perfect world, postal supervisors would be compassionate to our traumatized members and happily provide any needed information. The fact is that an on-the-job injury creates an extra layer of work for all parties involved.

Most supervisors, no matter how good they may be, are woefully uninformed about their responsibilities in the federal workers’ compensation process. Branch officers should request information directly from the Postal Service to make sure OWCP gets all the facts surrounding an injury. This may require the branch getting a signed release form from the employee. Requesting documentation need not be an adversarial process resulting in grievances, as getting relevant documents into a claimant’s file can expedite claim acceptance, provide needed medical treatment and hasten the injured worker’s return to work. That’s a benefit to the injured worker and the Postal Service.

Every on-the-job injury generates mandatory accident and safety reports by the Postal Service. Postal regulations in Section 820 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) detail management’s responsibilities.

For any accident or injury, postal supervisors are required to file a PS 1769 accident report within 24 hours of an injury or accident. The form contains factual information about the who, what, when and where regarding the accident.

The manager or supervisor must provide a copy of PS Form 1769 to the employee involved upon written request. In addition to the PS 1769, the Postal Service has seven days to enter any work-related illness or injury in the OSHA 300 log. The Postal Service must provide a copy of the OSHA 300 log on request. Branch officers helping injured members should request copies of form PS 1769 and the OSHA 300 log. These documents help prove that the incident causing the injury actually occurred. Injured workers cannot count on the Postal Service forwarding these documents to OWCP.

Traumatic injuries that result from an assault or robbery generate additional reports from postal inspectors and local law enforcement agencies. Branch officers should request a copy of the inspector’s Incident Report detailing the facts of the crime, and any additional information regarding the crime that the Inspection Service has in its possession.

If the incident was reported to local law enforcement agencies, branch officials will need to help the injured worker request copies of those reports, too. Disclosure laws vary by municipality; it may be necessary to help the injured worker communicate properly with local law enforcement agencies.

Once the claimant receives his or her claim number, all documentation should be sent directly to OWCP. The fastest way to get the documents into the claim file is through ECOMP, OWCP’s web portal that allows documents to be uploaded directly to the claimant’s file. For more information on how to use ECOMP, go to the “Injured on the Job” page at nalc.org.

Nobody should go to work expecting to get assaulted or robbed. Helping our members who have been victims of violent crimes is an important service we can provide our members. Contact your national business agent’s office for further assistance if needed.

Next month we will examine the information needed to file a successful emotional injury claim.

Outlook March / April 2017
Count and Inspection, Route Examination, Route Test
Mail Count and inspections are called many things. None of those things spark enthusiasm.

Once upon a time the route test was an annual ritual. The process was never popular with letter carriers and it still isn’t. When mail volume was exploding there were no more C&ls. Postal management was never eager to add routes. In many instances letter carriers with overburdened routes demanded to be tested in order to get relief. Currently the volume of letters and flats seems to have greatly diminished and management is sharpening their pencils intent on “right sizing” the routes.

The NALC has participated in multiple “joint” route evaluation processes. Branch 36 has independently been involved in “joint” route evaluation processes. In those instances the union wanted a seat at the table. The process was and remains subject to disagreement and acrimony. Presently the N.Y. District Postal Service is proceeding in traditional C&ls without the union’s participation.

Branch 36 has been conducting training for those stations preparing for route inspections.

Okay, so what you ask is a “Route Inspection”?

One of the key steps in conducting the route inspection is for management to conduct a “dry run”. This is a method to familiarize the letter carriers with the primary form they will be using during the C&l.

The purpose of the dry run is to teach carriers how to complete the Form 1838-C. Management is required to review the count procedures with all carriers within the 21-day period prior to the start of the route count and inspections. The dry run consists of several required elements set forth in M-39 Section 217 shown below. Section 917 of the M-41 also covers the dry run. Since regulations require replacement carriers to count the mail and enter the data on the ,1838-C in the same way as the regular carrier during the count week (M-39 Section 221.132), all carriers should receive the dry-run training, M- 39 217 Dry-Run Count 217.1 A review of the count procedures will be made within 21 days prior to the start of the count and route inspection to teach the carrier how to accurately complete count forms (1838-C and 1838-A) during the period of count and inspection. An actual count of mail or recording of time used will not be kept on the day the dry run is made. 217.2 The sample dry-run count items, forms, and completion instruction must be furnished each carrier concerned in time to allow for completion and review prior to start of the period of count and inspection (see exhibits 217.2 (p. 1, 2, and 3)). Overtime or auxiliary assistance should not be used for the completion of the dry run. Therefore, a lighter volume day should be selected. Use only the appropriate data (EPM/Non-EPM) for the unit being inspected. 217.3 An instruction period should be held following the issuance of the dry-run materials but before the completion of the dry-run exercise, 217.4 The carrier must be furnished a sample list of mail-count items and time-used items. The carrier must enter these items on a dry-run form. A manager must review each completed dry-run form for accuracy, error, and omissions, and they must be discussed and explained to the carrier. When necessary, the manager may require a second completion of the form to assure that the carrier is thoroughly familiar with completing the form to be used. M-39 221.132 Replacement carriers assigned to regular, full-, and part-time routes must count the mail and enter the data on the prescribed forms in the same way as the fulltime carrier.

This Form 1838-C is rather unique. Most of the annotations made on it are foreign to letter carriers. Various references are made on the Form 1838-C called Line Items. Line Items indicate the performance of a function other than casing mail. Every aspect of a letter carriers daily activity is being monitored minute by minute. When the form is completed the Line Items will be totaled up and subtracted from the total. The remaining time was the time the carrier used to case mail. The Line Items refer primarily to “good time” necessary functions for route delivery preparations.

The following is a brief description of each of the line items used to record time during the week of route count and inspection on PS Form 1838-C. During the week of inspection, carriers will be credited with the actual time it takes to perform the tasks as explained below. Line 14 - Accountable Mail - 6 minutes minimum time allowance - Time spent when you stop casing mail to get your accountable mail, signing for it, filling out the name or address on PS Form 3849 (and casing the notice as a reminder) in the morning plus the time it takes to get cleared, and go on to your next task in the aftemoon/evening. Line 15 - Withdrawal of Mail - 5 minutes minimum time allowance - This includes time spent withdrawing mail from tubs or trays, cutting straps, removing plastic, etc. This line item also includes time you spend withdrawing mail from both the throwback and hot cases. The M-39 states that, “two withdrawals of letter mail and one of papers for each trip, with a final pull just prior to leaving time, generally are sufficient.” Line 16 - Sequencing and Collating Mail - Time spent collating or sequencing mail is recorded on this line. For example, time spent collating circulars to get down to three bundles in an FSS environment is recorded on line 16. Line 17 - Strapping Out Time - Most Letter Carriers will not use this line item. Line 17 is only used in very limited circumstances. The only time line 17 is used is when you have motorized curb delivery routes where the majority of the case separations contain more than two addresses per separation. In these instances, the Letter Carrier records the actual time to place the mail in the exact sequence of delivery instead of 1 minute for each 70 pieces. Line 18 - Break -10 minutes minimum time allowance - In most offices, a 10 minute credit is given where Letter Carriers take a morning office 37 break. If your office has a longer break time than 10 minutes, keep in mind that more time must be credited for line 18.

Line 21 covers a variety of normal recurring activities that constitute “good time”.

Line 21 - Recurring Office Work Not Covered by Other Line Items - 9 minutes minimum time allowance - This covers a wide variety of office functions that you perform on a recurring, continuing basis. Generally speaking, recurring office time is an office task that occurs at least once per week. Many of these functions are universal and take place on almost all, if not all, routes. Some examples in the morning are getting your scanner and setting it up, trip(s) to the throwback case, getting your parcel hamper, checking for sleepers, AMS/edit book/red book work, replenishing forms, verifying hold mail, weekly safety talks, removing tags, returning empty equipment to a designated area, etc. Some examples in the aftemoon/evening are taking care of outgoing mail collected on your route, placing your attempted parcels and 3M mail in the designated location, returning your parcel hamper to the designated location, processing undeliverable mail, trip(s) to the throwback case, returning empty equipment to a designated area, etc.

Conversely, lines 22 and 23 are not “good time’. If you see these lines indicated on your 1838-C you must question their validity. You may have a good reason to explain them away.

Line 22 - Non-recurring Office Work - Line 22 is for non-recurring, noncontinuing office functions. Because Line 22 items are not regular office activities, you will not receive credit in the route evaluation for the time spent performing them. Activities that are not part of the normal routine do 38 not become part of the route. Remember, no work performed on a recurring, continuing basis should be recorded on line 22. Generally speaking, recurring office time is an office task that occurs at least once per week as explained above in the description of line 21. Line 23 - Counting Mail and Filling out PS Form 1838-C - Only the time spent counting the mail and filling out PS Form 1838-C during the week of count and inspection is recorded on line 23.

As you can see there are strict guidelines governing letter carrier office duties. The street; however; is quite different. There is no standard street time. There is no required pace. There is no rush. Observe all safety considerations when delivering the mail.

M-00304 “In keeping with the principle of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, it is understood that there is no set pace at which a carrier must walk and no street standard for walking,”

M-01769 “...there is no set pace at which a carrier must walk and no street standard for walking.”

On the day you are “tested” you will be accompanied by a “Route Examiner”. The Examiner has certain conduct rules.

Conduct of the Route Examiner: The role of the examiner is to observe and accurately record data. M-39 Section 232.1 requires the examiner to do the following: Any claims of a violation of these requirements should be supported by a detailed statement from the letter carrier(s) involved. M-39 232.1 The route examiner must: a. Not set the pace for the carrier, but should maintain a position to observe all delivery points and conditions, b. Not suggest or forbid any rest or comfort stops but should make proper notations of them. c. Not discuss with the carrier on the day of inspection the mail volume or the evaluation of the route. These matters must be discussed with the carrier at a later date when all data has been reviewed and analyzed, d. Make notations on the day of inspection on the appropriate form or separate sheet of paper of all items that need attention, as well as comments on the day of inspection. Also list any comments or suggestions for improving the service on the route, as well as suggestions or comments made by the carrier during the course of the inspection for improvement in delivery and collection service, e. Make comments and suggestions clearly, and in sufficient detail for discussion with the carrier and for decision-making purposes. The manager who will actually discuss the results with the carrier must have enough facts and figures to reach a final decision on any necessary adjustments to the route.

Any claims of a violation of these requirements should be supported by a detailed statement from the letter carrier(s) involved.

Hopefully, this has provided you with a glimpse of what your “route test” will look like.

Work smart, work safe. Good luck.

Outlook January / February 2017
Where Do We Go From Here?
The Presidential election is over and sure enough; truth is stranger than fiction. An outsider has been elected President of the United States by the people; just barely. The new United States President has no political profile. He ran as a Republican, however, his agenda often conflicts with traditional Republican goals. He purports to be the champion of the average American worker. His stated mission is to bring back American jobs. His mantra during the campaign was and remains, “Make America great again.”
The new president’s conduct is very polarizing. People either love him or hate him, not much in between. He singlehandedly dismantled the realm of “political correctness”. Rude and crude are his prevalent preferences. There is not much finesse in his demeanor. It seems as if each new day he maligns another segment of American society.

The NALC unfortunately endorsed his opponent. She was historically a strong supporter of working families with a particular fondness for letter carriers. There was a popular vision, wishful thinking perhaps, that the Democrats would enjoy a sweeping victory. They would win the White House, take back the majority in the Senate and maybe even gain some seats in the House of Representatives. When the nation woke up on November 9th, many of us were incredulous. Did this really happen?

I would think that the new leadership, the President and all of the President’s men, should be judged by their actions. There is much angst and anger in too many sectors of American society. The fact is the American democracy has dictated this change of leadership. Those of you who are reading this had a role, hopefully, in this election. America has spoken.

The current situation is not unique. We, as organized labor, have seen our struggle advance and at other times we have been demeaned and maligned by those in power. Our struggle is a work in progress. The reality is that letter carriers have to be vigilant in two arenas. Collective Bargaining is a right that the NALC fought for and obtained in 1970. Letter carriers have prospered progressively since that time. The leadership of the NALC excels at Collective Bargaining, be it negotiating or arbitrating.

The second arena is political. The NALC must be extremely astute in legislative matters. The single stroke of a pen can negate or diminish ail that has been gained since 1970. A majority of one, one vote, in the Legislature can also be damaging to our livelihood.

Everyone wants to win, of course. You don’t win by luck. Luck is the residue of design, you plan to win. The NALC in Washington, D.C. has been on defense for some time. Preventing draconian, damaging legislation is a win. It has not been in our DNA to give back. The advances are coming.

The membership is anxious for increased wages and benefits. The NALC leadership is currently working to that end. I must state it again: Every letter carrier must be accountable. The NALC is “every letter carrier”. The bright tomorrow that every letter carrier wants can only be achieved if every letter carrier contributes.

Your union dues have built and support a very strong union, the National Association of Letter Carriers. Your union dues cannot be used for political purposes. Political activity involves campaign contributions, participation in candidate fundraisers or the release of letter carriers to actively work full time in political campaigns. There are many ways the NALC can be politically active, but none can include union dues money. This is why we have the Letter Carrier PAC (Political Action Committee). The voluntary contributions of letter carriers to the Letter Carrier PAC are what fund the NALC political/legislative activities. Just as we have built an awesome union, letter carriers must take the next step and build a vibrant Letter Carrier PAC. This is how we plan to win.

To solidify the NALC opportunity to continue to excel in both arenas, every letter carrier must contribute to the Letter Carrier PAC. This is especially important to CCAs and newly converted regulars, all those letter carriers with a long road ahead. You must pave the way, it is your tomorrow.

I would like to take a privileged opportunity to recognize some very good, long time personal friends. They are letter carriers, of course, with whom I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Pine Restaurant. Richie Vetrano, Vinnie Naccarato and Tom McArdle, all retired from Woodlawn Station, and Drake Spencer, an active clerk at Woodlawn Station, had our annual get together. It’s always great to see those guys.

Outlook November / December 2016
Work Safe, Work Smart
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Even before the leftovers were stowed away in the fridge, and all the dishes, and pots and pans were washed and put away; it’s the “Holiday Season”. Aren’t you glad you don’t work at J.C. Penney’s or Sears? You would have to have been at work on Thanksgiving night. Well, Christmastime is upon us. As letter carriers, we all know what that means. The volume of every class of mail; especially parcels, will go through to the roof.

It will take a “Herculean” effort to get the job done. Let me remind you, you are not Hercules. You are a professional letter carrier. Professional letter carriers will do their best. Professional letter carriers will get the job done. We always do.

As a professional, you are aware that you should continue to work in the same safe manner as you do every day. There is no “rush”, “hurry” or “overload” necessary. Our customers receive our best efforts twelve months a year; the extraordinary workload does not change anything. Every piece of mail should get a proper delivery. Do not take shortcuts. Do not be intimidated. Heavy mail, extreme volume is not an “emergency.”

To do a job and to do it right, the proper equipment is vital. Three wheel pushcarts, flimsy luggage carriers and satchel bags with gaping holes are not proper equipment. Upon your “mandatory vehicle inspection” any safety defects must be noted and “red tagged.” With the proper equipment, the job will be safely and professionally accomplished. Safety first.

No one, not the Union nor Management, wants to see anyone get injured. We all want everyone to go home to their families in the same, happy, healthy condition as they left home for work that morning.

I hope these tips were already part of your routine. Work smart, work safe.

I wish a wonderful Holiday Season to all

Outlook September / October 2016
Your Opportunity Is Here
Letter carriers have been aware of the ongoing struggle to get congress to do something vital to the future viability of the U.S. Postal Service. Postal reform is a must. The NALC has been deeply involved in the legislative process, but our best efforts have been on defense. The NALC has blocked many forms of postal reform that contained more harm to the Postal Service and postal employees than the current status. No bill is better than a bad bill.

Your opportunity is here. This November 8th, Election Day, letter carriers can vote into office those representatives who support postal reform that will enable the USPS to continue to provide the American people with the least expensive, most efficient Postal Service in the world.

Letter carriers should know who our friends are in the House and in the Senate. Letter carriers should read the Postal Record and the NALC Bulletins, these publications herald our supporters. We must send those friends to Washington. When letter carriers send a favorable majority to Washington next year they can end the “artificial financial crisis”, the pre-funding mandate.

This can only happen if each and every one of us goes to the polls on November 8th to make this a reality. This is your opportunity.

I remain confident that a Collective Bargaining Agreement will be accomplished soon. Once again letter carriers must use their voices to signify their support or rejection of the wage and benefit package the NALC has wrested from its negotiations with the Postal Service. This is the preferable outcome to the continuing contract talks that have been conducted since February 2016 and optimistically extended through the May 2016 deadline. If the NALC brings forth an offer it is up to you to decide whether you accept or reject the offer. This is your opportunity.

So many letter carriers are interested in the status of the contract, and that is encouraging to know they are paying attention. 100% involvement of every member of the NALC would be phenomenal, but the reality is that less than 25% of all letter carriers are e-activists (free) or Letter Carrier Political Fund contributors ($$$). It should be pointed out that dues money cannot be used for political purposes. That is why there is a PAC. This enables the NALC to raise funds and be a player in the legislative process. The letter carrier fate is not only impacted by “collective bargaining” but is even more readily influenced by the legislative process, Congress.

You are the “union”, you are the NALC. E-activist and the Letter Carrier Political Fund are your tools. To build a better future you must use these tools. You are empowered. This is your opportunity.

Imminently, letter carriers will find themselves in a position to make decisions. Letter carriers can and will decide their future. This is your opportunity to enjoy a lasting success.

Outlook July / August 2016
Something’s Coming
I have a strong feeling that by the time you read this there will have been significant progress in our contract negotiations. I am confident that the NALC is primed to deliver a very progressive agreement for letter carriers. I do not have any privileged information, just a strong premonition. President Rolando has stated that it is the NALC’s mission to significantly improve the Collective Bargaining Agreement for CCA’s and I expect to see that happen. President Rolando has said that all hardworking letter carriers are entitled to be fairly compensated for the gains that the USPS has realized in recent years, thanks to the letter carriers’ efforts. I, too, expect this to happen.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be a shining light in contrast to our last arbitrated contract. While I am exuberant about the prospects, let’s be real. The contract is an instrument acceptable to both parties. We will move forward, we will make progress, but don’t expect any homeruns

Now, let me admonish you as I have been doing since May, 2016. The contract is of major importance, but even more importance must be placed on Congress. Whatever we have struggled and fought for over the years can be wrought meaningless by the actions of Congress. Surely, you’ve heard past references to “wage freezes” on Federal workers or unilateral actions by Congress to negate negotiated rights and benefits of Federal employees. These are just analogies, but are not to be dismissed. Postal employees are not categorized as “Federal” employees. The point, however, is that we too can be subject to having any provision altered or declared null and void by Congress despite what our contract states. You are aware of the constant threats to “collective bargaining” by some in Congress. The picture should be quite clear: our rights, wages and benefits are impacted on two fronts. One is the U.S. Postal Service and the other is Congress.

Our National level leaders are working on procuring a contract that rewards letter carriers with gains in wages and benefits.

Each one of us has the responsibility of doing our job, as it relates to Congress. As stated, Congress has the means to derail any or all of our wages and benefits. Every letter carrier should be an e-Activist. Every letter carrier should be a contributor to the Letter Carrier Political Action Committee. Each one of us must register to vote. Each one of us must vote on Election Day. Your politics should be your livelihood.

Our National level leaders will have done their jobs, and done them very well. Every letter carrier must make their best, personal effort. One quote from the former NALC President Bill Young that continues to resonate with me is: “I can do this with you, but I cannot do this for you.”

I hope this scenario comes true. I encourage all letter carriers to make the effort to join our ranks and further empower the NALC.

Outlook May / June 2016
Two Opportunities to Enhance Your Future
The expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (Contract) is at hand. Negotiations have begun in earnest and our leaders in Washington D.C. are meeting regularly with U.S.P.S. negotiators. There is a new regime at L’Enfant Plaza and the NALC is hopeful the talks will be fruitful.
Success at the bargaining table would be wonderful. There is plenty within reach. The economic state of the Postal Service is considerably better than it was in 2011. Letter carriers are eager for wage and benefit increases. Improvement in workplace rules and guidelines for letter carriers would also be welcomed. The NALC has a seasoned, knowledgeable team working to achieve the goals of the membership. Traditionally, our leadership delivers for letter carriers; I am confident they will do it again.

Letter carriers can pave the path going forward this fall. There is a major election coming this November. Not only is this a presidential election year, but the opportunities for representatives, friendly to working families are huge. The turmoil swirling about the presidential candidates leaves open the possibility that a shift in the balance of power in the House of Representatives and the Senate can be realized. While it is recognized that the NALC is not an arm of the Democratic Party, it is presently more advantageous for us to have a Democratic majority in power. The current committee chairs are not beneficial to letter carriers; nor for that matter, favorable to the postal service. We can seize the day!

Every letter carrier must be registered to vote in the upcoming elections. Every letter carrier must support representatives who support letter carrier and postal issues. Did you realize that if the U.S.P.S. did not have the prefunding albatross there would be $50 billion additional for the NALC to negotiate? With representatives friendly to our plight, the prefunding issue can be rectified. Perhaps, the pension overpayments could also be addressed with such a Congress.

The opportunity is here, now. All letter carriers can benefit from a worker- friendly Congress. You can make this happen. The future is yours to secure. New and relatively new letter carriers must understand that their involvement is required.

Wages and benefits are negotiated by the NALC and U.S.P.S. by virtue of “collective bargaining.” Collective bargaining is a right earned by letter carriers, as a result of the Great Postal Strike of 1970. This right has served letter carriers well for many years. However, are you aware that Congress has the power to rescind that right?

Postal reform legislation is in need of an update. The most recent major postal legislation: the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006; saddled the U.S.P.S. with the prefunding mandate and other negative provisions as well. The Postal Service is the only government pension plan that is fully funded; yet, this bill required the Postal Service to prefund benefits for retirees 75 years into the future. No other government agency has such a requirement. The Postal Service has paid $50 billion towards this mandate. The Postal Service cannot access this money. In essence, this money represents a low cost loan to the government.

The PAEA has created a false crisis of economic failure. Minus the pre- funding, the U.S.P.S. has been profitable. Recent proposed legislation to allow the Postal Service more autonomy and a feasible economic structure has been blocked by the current majority in Congress. This is our opportunity to wrest control from those negative influences. This is our opportunity to empower a favorable majority. You have to make this happen!

Outlook March / April 2016
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
There are many ways to view the recent activities playing out in the political arena. The two major parties: Republican and Democratic have been engaged in the process to select a candidate for the Presidential Election this coming November. The individual who comes out of their respective party’s convention with the nomination will be on the ballot in November.

The Democrats started out with three candidates in pursuit of the party’s nomination. In short order, one prospect dropped out and two remained: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

The Republicans began this process with approximately sixteen presidential candidate hopefuls. With their convention a few short months away, there are currently only four candidates still vying for the Republican Presidential nomination. By the time you read this, there may be less than four.

The focal points of this process are the various televised debates. The debates are hosted by different networks with different network hosts from varying locations.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have vigorously debated each other reflecting their diverse philosophic visions for the nation to employ going forward.

These debates and press conferences or however you may characterize them are currently in the forefront of America’s news and entertainment. The news surrounding these political events will overshadow reporting on: MLB Spring Training, NCAA March Madness, and perhaps even letter carriers’ inquisitiveness of a new Letter Carrier Collective Bargaining Agreement (Contract).

While it may be true that our contract is of our utmost concern; you might be astonished at the correlation between our contract negotiations and the nation’s election of a new President and a new Congress.

Letter carriers must be aware of the fact that collective bargaining, contract language, contractual benefits and those Federal Laws such as: FECA (compensation) can be modified or eliminated “with the stroke of a pen” from Congress.

If you have been paying close attention, you are cognizant of the need for radical postal reform. Only those folks and candidates, friendly to our position, will deliver positive legislation protecting and enhancing the future of the U.S. Postal Service and its’ patrons and employees.

Letter carriers must continue to follow the NALC Postal Record, the NALC Bulletin and the N.Y. Letter Carriers Outlook for updates and contract negotiations.

Letter carriers must also continue to be actively engaged in the political process, be E-Activists, contributors to the Letter Carriers PAC, and be sure to register and VOTE on Election Day. Election Day encompasses Primary Elections as well.

The importance of this message cannot be emphasized enough and not wasted on the young and the new hires. It is their tomorrow that is being built now. What we do now, will benefit all letter carriers; today and tomorrow. All letter carriers must step up, the time is NOW.

Outlook January / February 2016
2016: The Future is Now
Welcome to 2016, a key year for letter carriers. In mid-February, the NALC will launch contract negotiations with the Postal Service regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current contract expires in May.

There is a lot at stake and vast room for improvement. The NALC has an excellent track record in negotiations. The NALC likewise has an outstanding, experienced team prepared for negotiation or arbitration. A negotiated settlement is our preference, as in the course of give and take, the NALC does have some control of the outcome. Traditionally, in negotiations, each party comes away with items from their wish list. Best case scenario, both parties are satisfied with the outcome. Win-Win: What a great concept.

Arbitration, on the other hand can be scurrilous. In arbitration, the parties present their cases to an impartial arbitrator. In most instances, the arbitrator is familiar with Postal and Labor nuances such as jargon and precedent. The drawback to the Arbitration process is what the resolution may be. Once the NALC and the USPS have laid out their respective cases the “final and binding” decision is crafted by the arbitrator. Arbitration decisions can be less than hoped for. Historically, there have been fantastic decisions (Fleischli 1998) and terrible decisions (Das 2011).

Arbitration and negotiations are the foundation of “collective bargaining”. It does serve its purpose, not all decisions are landmark. The NALC and the USPS have an avenue to achieve their wants and needs. Collective bargaining is vital to working men and women. It is the voice of working men and women. Workers have put their lives on the line to achieve “collective bargaining”. Letter carriers put their freedom and livelihoods on the line to achieve “collective bargaining”.

I have full confidence and high expectations that the NALC team will deliver for letter carriers in 2016.

Prior to 1970, postal employees did not have “collective bargaining”. Postal employees, letter carriers, had what was essentially collective begging. The postal unions would “ask” Congress for higher wages and Congress often failed to deliver. Many of Congresses promises were disingenuous. The only raises they granted were for themselves.

The Great Postal Strike of 1970 changed all that. Postal employees won the right to “collective bargaining”. Congress presents a different problem at present. In the Congress, there are those who would dismantle “collective bargaining”. In the Congress, there are also those who would dismantle the Postal Service as we know it. The NALC cannot alter the course of Congress. The NALC can alter the makeup of Congress. November 2016 will see not only the Presidential election, but every seat in the House of Representatives will be contested. You are the NALC; you decide who goes to Washington, D.C.

Now we’ve come to understand and appreciate “collective bargaining”. All letter carriers must join the struggle to protect that right. Currently in the political arena, candidates from the two major parties are in the process of choosing their respective nominees for President of the United States. November 2016 will be another major opportunity for letter carriers. As you should know, the very existence of the Postal Service is governed by the Congress. Postal employees’ right to “collective bargaining” is one of a myriad of factors relative to the USPS which Congress can influence or eliminate. With the stroke of a pen, Congress can change anything. It is imperative that every letter carrier participate in this election. Letter carriers can elect representatives who will preserve and enhance the livelihoods of working men and women. This is your opportunity to lend your voice to the chorus of working men and women. This is your opportunity to save the middle class. This is your opportunity to make 2016 a landmark year.

Outlook November / December 2015
A Holiday First
The Holiday Season of 2015 assuredly has more new letter carriers than possibly any preceding year. If you have not previously experienced the holiday season as a letter carrier, you will naturally be quite astounded at the volume of mail, catalogs and parcels. You might even think this can’t possibly be delivered today. I would imagine you might become overwhelmed at the sight of the amount of trays, tubs, bundles and bags of small parcels addressed to your route. Seasoned regulars and other experienced letter carriers have seen this annual holiday deluge before and realize this holiday effect is felt worldwide. New York Letter Carriers who have seen it all know this too - it will get done.
You can and will get the job done. You will work safe and smart. Though the mail may be extraordinary, letter carriers do not have to do anything extraordinary. Nothing about the workload constitutes an “emergency.” The huge workload may take more than the usual eight hour workday. Work safe and work smart; you cannot do ten hours of work in eight hours. Do not run, rush or hurry; these are unsafe practices. Do not work through your breaks or lunch. When you do this, you are working for free, not smart.

The holiday season is notorious for the stress it generates. The workplace, as mentioned, will present extreme conditions. The Homefront will have its own extreme demands. Now you know who Santa Claus really is. Where will you get the time and money you need for the holidays? As wonderful as the holidays are, it is actually a great relief when it’s all over.

When the day is done and you finally get to go home to your family, you will be able to appreciate the important things that matter most to you. Those special people that mean so much to you; your family, will bring you the true meaning of the holiday season. Enjoy it!

‘Tis the Season, the most wonderful time of the year!
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all!
And to all a good night!
Outlook September / October 2015
A Welcome Promotion
The Das Arbitration Award created CCA’s (City Carrier Assistants). City Carrier Assistants are entry level letter carriers with a defined path towards career employment. This path to employment had been lacking for almost a decade. A specific formula outlines the method to convert CCA’s to full time career letter carriers. Nationwide, there have been more than 25,000 CCA’s promoted to career status since the Das Arbitration Award.
In the New York District, Manhattan and the Bronx, CCA conversions have recently occurred in substantial numbers and it appears there will be a bit more conversions happening shortly. I know from the many inquiries, which I receive from CCA’s, that this is great news. Most CCA’s, I am sure, are focused on the prospect of holidays off, with pay. Yes, this is a wonderful thing. However, the entire package for career employment is extraordinary. Health coverage for self and family, retirement, accumulated sick and annual leave, (the aforementioned) paid holidays, upward mobility, and many contractual guarantees all come standard with a promotion to full time “career” employment.

Letter carrier is a good job, a tough job. Letter carriers work hard, work smart and work safe. Letter carriers do eight hours of work for eight hours of pay. Letter carriers are solid providers for their families, and characteristically enjoy an American middle class lifestyle.

Letter carriers and CCA’s can and should be union members. Letter carriers and CCA’s are afforded the many protections of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (Contract). The contract encompasses the rights and benefits of letter carriers. Such things as overtime, bidding regulations and wages are among the multitude of items spelled out in the contract.

The current contract expires next May. The union will expend great resources on acquiring a new agreement. We will attempt to negotiate with a willing partner, the USPS. If this approach does not work, the matter will eventually come before an arbitrator. A negotiated contract is true “collective bargaining.” Issues that go before an arbitrator allow a third party to resolve our differences. The NALC’s successful history negotiating or arbitrating a Collective Bargaining Agreement is a tribute to our skilled and dedicated leadership.

The NALC is a major player on many fronts. Letter carriers are educated in the political process. We have an amazing organization. The NALC has a full time Legislative Staff in Washington, DC. The ultimate political goal of the NALC is to have letter carriers encourage their elected officials to support letter carrier issues. While the NALC has many friends on the Democratic side of the aisle, we are not an arm of the Democratic Party. We also have numerous Republican friends, just not as many. A thriving, growing postal service is the goal we solicit Congress’ support in achieving.

To achieve our goals in Congress, the NALC has enlisted hundreds of letter carriers and educated them to become Congressional District Liaisons (CDL). There are 435 members in the House of Representatives and the NALC has developed a network to have a personal contact (CDL) with each one. The CDL’s are letter carriers who have accomplished some amazing results. CDL’s have convinced members of Congress to co-sponsor positive postal legislation because it will benefit their constituency.

CDL’s are exemplary letter carriers, who stepped up for the common good of all letter carriers. All letter carriers, however, must also step up as individuals and at the very least support our goals. Every letter carrier in the NALC, you are the NALC. Your support for the Letter Carrier PAC, your enlistment as an e-Activist and your vote on Election Day is your contribution to strengthening the NALC.

Since the economic turnaround, the Postal Service continues to thrive despite the significant loss of first class letters. E-commerce continues to grow and the USPS is the beneficiary of this significant market. Amazon is the primary vehicle in the Postal Service’s e-commerce business, but it is not the only player, and the Postal Service is not an Amazon entity. There are other big businesses expanding their e-commerce markets and the Postal Service expects to get that business as well.

The NALC has been engaged in growing postal revenues and the Postal Service in joint projects such as Customer Connect. Once again, letter carriers stepping up for the common good. Hopefully, the new leadership at L’Enfant Plaza, USPS Headquarters in Washington, DC, is on the same path. Hopefully, the people at L’Enfant Plaza recognize the NALC efforts when negotiating the next contract.

Throughout the pages of this newspaper, you will find much valued information. The Postal Record, the monthly magazine published by the NALC, also contains a wealth of material. Additionally, there are two very informative websites, www.nylcbr36.org and www.nalc.org, which contain outstanding tools and other resources for letter carriers.

Outlook July / August 2015
The Summer Wind
Welcome newcomers. For many of you this is your first “long, hot summer.” When you took this job, you knew you would be working outdoors. I suspect all letter carriers would agree being out on the route is the best part of their day. Branch 36 Letter Carriers have the pleasure of experiencing everything Mother Nature has to offer: “Rain, snow, gloom of night... We take the good with the bad; letter carriers want to be out there: Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall.
As we enter the “Dog Days of Summer,” I hope management is giving the Standup Service Talk on Heat Hydration Safety. I’ve seen many of you packing your water bottles and coolers; all letter carriers should be doing this. I’ve always said, “the cold hurts, but the heat can kill you” (literally).

To cope with the summer heat you must consume plenty of water. You must take a breather to cool off frequently. This is working smart and safely. Your health and safety is priority number one.

National Business Agents have received the May 2015 talk, “Beat the Heat, Stay Cool” stand-up talk and have distributed it to their region’s branches; if this mandatory stand-up talk has not been given in your station, please reach out to your NBA. Here are key pieces of advice from the safety talk:
- Hydrate before, during and after work. Prevention is important, so make sure to maintain good hydration by drinking at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
- Dress appropriately for the weather. On warm days, make sure to wear light- colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing to keep body temperatures down.
- Utilize shade to stay cool. When possible, use shaded areas to stay out of direct sunlight.
- Know the signs of heat stress. You should understand what heat stress is, and how it can affect your health and safety. Here are some things to look out for:
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, muscle cramps, headache, weakness or fatigue, confusion or dizziness, rash, and nausea. Finally, it’s important to notify your supervisor or call 911 if you’re experiencing signs of heat related illness.

Dealing with the heat and the requirements of the job can be quite stressful. Stress from your home life, finances, health matters, etc. can compound your stress level.

The USPS has partnered with an outside agency to offer stress relief for postal employees. They offer what is known as the Employee Assistance Program, EAP. EAP counseling is available to all postal employees and their families. The primary counsellor in the New York District is Ms. Beatriz Rodriguez. Ms. Rodriguez is very proactive. I have accompanied her to many stations in Manhattan and the Bronx where she has addressed topics such as: suicide prevention and the hidden causes of stress. Ms. Rodriguez has detailed the confidential services available to help individuals resolve personal stress issues. If you would like to make an appointment with Ms. Rodriguez you may reach her at (212) 330-3837.

Stay cool, stay safe. Enjoy the summer wind.

Outlook May / June 2015
The Symbol of Success
I am hearing a litany of complaints from CCA’s and regular carriers regarding their uniform allowances and now, ironically, management is expressing concern over the lack of carriers in uniform. On numerous occasions, I have gotten involved with various management levels to remedy this situation. It came to the point where the management person said to me, “John, this is not my job.” To which I replied, “It’s not my job either, but someone needs to get these letter carriers their uniforms.” On other occasions, I have been told by letter carriers that vendors would not do business with them because the Postal Service wasn’t paying their bills. I addressed this larger issue with HR and some of the Station Managers complied. Letter Carriers from many stations were still not able to procure uniforms from certain vendors, even after the intervention.
I am optimistic that management will address this current dilemma with a mechanism that provides the means for those CCA’s and Regulars who need uniforms to get them. In addition, I am hopeful that this remedy operates properly going forward.

As I visit stations, I am apprised by carriers of the state of the equipment they are using to get the job done. It is shocking to realize the condition of the tools of the letter carrier trade. Many, if not most pushcarts are in hazardous condition. Wheels are broken or missing, brakes are not functional or even equipped, and the frames are often compromised and collapsing. This is a major safety issue. When I inquire about the status of the pushcarts with the Station Managers, I am often told that they recently ordered three new ones. This is usually in stations with twenty plus routes and in need of much more than three new pushcarts.

Other pieces of letter carrier equipment have also deteriorated in varying degrees, ranging from poor to horrible. Broken down pushcarts with faded, shredded Saratoga’s can be seen throughout the streets of Manhattan and the Bronx. Besides the obvious safety concern, these pushcarts and satchels are symbols of the Postal Service. We must do better.

Postal Service management is quick to address letter carriers’ responsibilities. The Postal Service, too, has responsibilities. It must provide a safe work environment for all employees. The Postal Service must also provide the tools and equipment necessary to get the job done.

The NALC is an ardent advocate for a thriving, robust Postal Service. Our many joint ventures, especially Customer Connect, continue to demonstrate it.

Letter Carriers are historically recognized as the most trusted public servants of the American people. Letter Carriers are proud of this status. I am sure every Letter Carrier will say that being out with the people is the best part of their day. Letter Carriers are the ambassadors of the USPS. Management must do their part to perpetuate this success.

Outlook March / April 2015
Looking Ahead to a Brighter Future
It is beyond conceivable, it is an accepted fact that the U.S.P.S. is emerging from the devastating economic effects of the Great Recession. First class mail has rebounded nicely, but will never be what it once was. The current volume and revenue generated by first class letters alone can no longer sustain the Postal Service. Ironically, the mechanism that derailed first class mail has spawned a new product with even greater economic potential. E-commerce, which is a new phenomenon of shopping from home with your computer, is putting millions of parcels of all sizes in the mail stream.
Electronic communications combined with the Great Recession appeared to signal the death knell of the Postal Service. Electronic shopping, which requires home delivery, is transforming the Postal Service.

The volume of parcels is so great that alternate delivery services, including our competitors, cannot meet the demand. Perhaps you’ve noticed UPS and FedEx dropping shipments of parcels at the Post Office loading docks. Unlike our competitors we deliver every address six and seven days a week.

In addition to the traditional Parcel Post that Letter Carriers deliver, another enormous parcel customer has emerged. Amazon, an electronic market place, is using the U.S.P.S. exclusively to deliver their packages, which number in the hundreds of thousands weekly.

From a financial standpoint, Postal Service operations are generating significant profits. There remains, however, the political albatross of prefunding. The NALC must convince the U.S. Congress that this unfair, unrealistic legislation can potentially destroy the Postal Service. You are the NALC; as an E-Activist and a COLCPE contributor you should be working to fix this injustice.

The NALC is preparing for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement (Contract). At present the other Postal Unions are already negotiating their next contracts.

It is safe to assume that NALC leadership can and will wrest a contract that recognizes the letter carrier contribution to the turnaround of the profit margin of the Postal Service. The NALC has always done an outstanding job at the negotiating table. You must deliver in the grass roots effort to fix the legislative wrong. This will enable the U.S.P.S. to grow and share its prosperity with the letter carriers who made all this possible.

It seems there are questions on the workroom floor regarding the crediting of mail counts for small parcels. There is no provision in DOIS (not my word) to count parcels. Local management agrees SPRs can be counted as flats. Flats are credited 8 pieces a minute in the office. There is no standard in the street and oftentimes these small parcels require personal delivery, as they do not fit in the mailbox. Understandably, given the volume of SPRs and the delivery requirements, it could take carriers more time in the street to complete the delivery of their mail routes.

There is light up ahead, it looks like a brighter future.

Outlook January / February 2015
Welcome to the Land of Opportunity
There has been a tremendous influx of new letter carriers in the past year. New hires are called City Carrier Assistants or CCA’s. A great many of these CCA’s were Transitional Employees or TE’s at one time. The Postal Service loves acronyms; can you say USPS?

The new hires have a profound advantage over the previous supplemental workforce, the TE’s. The CCA’s have a straight path to career employment. That is something the TE’s never had. Clearly, it’s an outstanding opportunity. Many former TE’s have already become “Regulars” (career employees). As a career employee, you get to enjoy all of the benefits a postal career has to offer. You become eligible to enroll in FEHB Health Insurance, with the major portion of the premium paid for by the USPS, and entitled to FEGLI Life Insurance. It is extremely important that you sign up for these benefits within 60 days of becoming a Regular. In addition, you will receive pro-rated Annual Leave, begin to accrue Sick Leave, and enjoy paid Holidays.

All letter carriers, CCA’s and Regulars are governed and protected by the “CBA” Collective Bargaining Agreement or “Contract”. The contract contains language pertaining to every aspect of your job, such as: overtime rules, bidding rights and procedures, due process in the disciplinary procedure, and a myriad of other topics pertinent and important to letter carriers.

Letter carriers share the advantages of a legendary legacy from the birth of the National Association of Letter Carriers in 1889, up to and including the most recent interest arbitration for the current CBA. The struggles of the decades past, along with the actions of activist letter carriers of the past, have enabled today’s letter carriers to enjoy middle class status. Many of the postal employees that I speak with on the work floor are very happy to recite to me, the rewards their hard work as letter carriers has given them. They are proud homeowners, proud parents of children in college, and proud public servants welcomed and respected by the public they serve.

To those letter carriers just starting out, you may find this to be a tough job and it is. To those of you who have been carrying the nation’s mail for some time, take a breath and carry on. To all letter carriers, welcome to the land of opportunity.

Outlook November / December 2014
‘Tis the Season
If this holiday season reflects a rebounding economy, as reported, then letter carriers are in for an extraordinary workload for the next month. Mail, catalogs, SPRs and parcels will come in waves and the volume of mail can become quite overwhelming.

The Postal Service is declaring, “This is our time.” I agree; this is our time. The U.S. Postal Service is second to none. Other delivery services failed miserably during the holiday season last year. Not the U.S. Postal Service Letter Carriers. The U.S. Postal Service Letter Carriers met the challenge last year, same as they do every year.

We can and will get the job done. We will work safe and work smart. Though the mail may be extraordinary; letter carriers do not have to do anything extraordinary. Work safe and work smart. The huge workload may take more than the usual eight hour workday. Work safe, work smart; you cannot do ten hours work in eight hours. Do not run, rush or hurry; these are unsafe practices. Do not work through your breaks or your lunch. When you do this, you are working for free, not smart.

The holiday season is notorious for the stress it generates. The workplace, as mentioned, will present extreme conditions. The home front will have its own extreme demands. Where will you get the time and money you need for the holidays? As wonderful as the holidays are, it is actually a great relief when it’s all over.

When the day is done and you finally get to go home to your family; you will be able to appreciate the most important things that matter to you. Enjoy them.

Tis the Season, the most wonderful time of the year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to all. And to all a good night.

Outlook September / October 2014
Learn From The Past, Protect Your Future
Recent conversations with carriers throughout the branch have shown a need for education and enlightenment.

There is an age old theory, “If you do not learn your history, you may be doomed to repeat it.” That may be a little extreme and perhaps not. The NALC has a publication,
Carriers in a Common Cause. This booklet tells the one hundred and twenty-five year history of the NALC. All letter carriers should be aware of this history.

The post office played an integral part in the birth of our nation, in 1776. The post office is part of the United States Constitution and continues today as that government entity.

In considering our progress over these past 125 years, be mindful of the fact, that 1889 is when letter carriers first organized and formed a union. The birth of the NALC in 1889 introduced letter carriers to the world of organized labor.

The accomplishments of organized letter carriers can fill a book, Carriers in a Common Cause is that book and it provides every detail, step by step. The very basic rights of letter carriers are documented throughout these pages. When you read this booklet, you will see the difficulty and value of things that most of today’s letter carriers take for granted.

Letter carriers continue to strive for a better standard of living. It has been a tumultuous struggle to rise to “middle-class” status. The struggle is constant. We must use all of our resources in the constant battle to preserve and advance our profession, our livelihood.

As a United States government entity, the Postal Service is subject to the will and whim of Congress. While the NALC was organized in 1889, letter carriers did not achieve collective bargaining until 1970. The changes that arose from the Great Postal Strike of 1970 have been outlined here frequently. In today’s world of organized labor, things are quite different than they were in 1970. There are many obstacles confronting workers in all fields. There are workers just beginning to form unions to improve their wages and benefits. There are unions of various sizes struggling
to compete with corporate greed and market conditions.

As was shown in the Arbitration case to elevate letter carriers to level six, we have a very demanding, difficult profession. That Arbitration victory was but one step, albeit monumental, in the constant struggle to improve compensation for letter carriers.

All letter carriers, but especially young newcomers, must realize that all of the benefits that you currently enjoy are subject to modification or elimination. With the stroke of a pen any of the gains we’ve enjoyed can disappear. Among some of the benefits we must protect are Collective Bargaining, the COLA, the No Layoff clause and many others

In addition to collective bargaining, letter carriers have a somewhat unique existence. The letter carrier benefit package and the very existence of the Postal Service are at the mercy of the United States Congress.

Two key examples of “the stroke of a pen” would be the suspension of the COLA for two years by then President Reagan. The burdensome tax that shows up on your paystub as “Medicare” was passed in Congress by one vote. This “tax” which provides nothing to letter carriers costs letter carriers over two percent per day, every day.

There are many ways organized labor works to accomplish the goals of their members. There are “grass roots” activities, such as union members manning telephone banks making calls to get out the vote for their candidates. Union members, in numbers, are going door to door to encourage citizens to get out the vote for their candidate. Although this process may predate your career as a letter carrier, as in any democracy, your contribution is vital.

Every election cycle produces a different result, you win some, and you lose some. It never ends; it is a work in progress.

The NALC takes great pride in the fact that we are a democratic organization; one man, one vote. Your vote counts. As in any true democracy, you vote counts. Use it or lose it. Realizing what’s at stake, every letter carrier must VOTE.

Speaking of democracy, currently there is a national election taking place within the NALC. All members should have received their ballots the first week in October. This is your opportunity to be heard. If you don’t vote, you have surrendered your voice. VOTE.

Another extremely important election will take place on November 4th. Once again, you can exercise your preferences.

All of these elections are extremely important. Do not be so shortsighted, as to not protect your future. VOTE.

Outlook July / August 2014
Some Notes and News
The branch officers and Branch 36 convention delegates have recently returned from the 69th Biennial NALC National Convention in Philadelphia

I will never forget the thrill and exhilaration I experienced attending my first National Convention. I continue to be amazed and inspired at each new convention I attend.

It is especially gratifying to observe the “first timers” at each convention. I recognize that they are awed and spell bound by the sheer number of letter carrier delegates gathered together in one huge hall. I can appreciate that they encounter letter carriers from across this great nation (Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, California, Puerto Rico and on and on), with whom they share similar daily experiences. Surely, this is striking, tantamount to a virtual reality. How can a letter carrier in “anywhere USA” hear and

experience the same words you are hearing from a supervisor or a customer as you toil on your route every day? The social and professional similarities on such a grand scale are astounding.
Newcomers and veterans alike are eager to consume the information being shared at the myriad of NALC classes being given by experts from every field. There is something for everyone. Union reps, CCA’s and retirees all have something of interest and importance to absorb.

First timers and veterans alike meet new friends and see old friends adding a tremendous personal camaraderie to the experience. It is a great time and an excellent learning experience. Most folks who attend one convention usually become “regulars.” Six union membership meetings for active Branch 36 members, or three union membership meetings for Branch 36 retirees, make you eligible to become a “convention delegate.”

Branch 36 again was the host branch for another exceptional event: The 2nd Annual “Vinny’s Walk.” It is the brainchild of Region 15 RAA and Branch 36’s own, Orlando Gonzalez. “Vinny’s Walk” is a fundraiser for MDA. It is a block party of sorts in lower Manhattan, in the shadow of the Freedom Tower at Vesey St. in Battery Park City. Once again, the Sombrotto family joined us to help those less fortunate in Vince’s name.

Participating branches from Region 15 set up booths selling food, beverages, hats and t-shirts. There were games and activities for the kids. There was a DJ. The highlight this year was a “Dunk Tank.” NBA Larry Cirelli volunteered to be the prime target in the “Dunk Tank,” and yes he’s all wet. This is a special event for a good cause. Next year come on out.

The persistence of the NALC, starting with CDL Carmen Flores, has paid a huge dividend. H.R. 2291, a bill to name Grand Central Post Office the Vincent R. Sombrotto Post Office has been passed by Congress and has been signed by President Obama. What a success! Imagine that this Congress could come together and do this for Vince.

As a letter carrier, I am familiar with our ability to make things work. No matter how dysfunctional the work method or the equipment, letter carriers can make things work. Be warned that a current practice of stopping the clock on parcels is not for you to indulge. It is a crime; it is fraud. Postal employees have been arrested for this crime. Recently, a supervisor in Manhattan was taken out in handcuffs by the OIG. You must only scan with the proper code, scan the piece attempted or delivered accordingly. Protect yourself; work smart.

This has been quite an eventful Summer. The Fall promises to be even more intense. I look forward to all those wonderful, exciting things we will do together. See you soon.

Outlook May / June 2014
Know Who We Are
These past few weeks the Officers of Branch 36 and I have visited virtually every station in Manhattan and the Bronx. Each of us spoke of information and activities of interest to the letter carriers of Branch 36.

I shared a success story regarding the pending legislation that will rename Grand Central Post Office the Vincent R. Sombrotto Post Office. The varied reactions from many of the letter carriers listening to me caused me to question if, in fact, these letter carriers know who Vincent R. Sombrotto was.

You should know that this is the Vincent R. Sombrotto, Branch 36, National Association of Letter Carriers. You are a member of the Vincent R. Sombrotto, Branch 36, National Association of Letter Carriers.

Vince was a letter carrier at Grand Central Post Office in 1970. Letter carrier was not a lucrative occupation in 1970. Letter carriers qualified for food stamps and welfare, the wages were pathetic. There was no “collective bargaining”. Congress controlled the finances and were prone to increase their own compensation while giving Post Office employees empty promises.

There was widespread discontent amongst postal employees, something needed to be done. The union leadership, locally and in Washington, were fearful and incapable of calling for a work stoppage. The Post Office Department was part of the Federal Government. A work stoppage by Postal workers would be a strike against the United States Government. Such a strike would be unprecedented.

Vince Sombrotto had had enough. Vince held no union position, he was neither a shop steward nor a branch officer, but Vince took charge of the moment. Vince had come to the conclusion that the only way to get the attention that would resolve the workers discontent was a strike.

At a historic union meeting on March 17, 1970, the letter carriers of Branch 36 gathered at the Manhattan Center on W. 34th St. the purpose of the meeting was to hold a strike vote. The branch officers failed to attend the meeting. Thousands of letter carriers from Manhattan and the Bronx crowded into the Manhattan Center to voice their decision. By a historic count of 1555 to 1055 the members of Branch 36 voted to strike. Having heard the voice of the membership Branch 36 President “Gus” Johnson declared to the membership, “There will be no mail delivery tomorrow”. The strike spread nationwide and lasted eight days. New York letter carriers were the first to walk out and the last to return to work.

A myriad of changes were set in motion by the conclusion of this massive walkout. Chief among the changes affecting letter carrier wages and benefits was “collective bargaining”.

The leadership of the union was also going to change. In the next Branch 36 election, December 2, 1970, Vincent R. Sombrotto was elected President of Branch 36 along with his “Rank and File” slate.

Vince had taken charge of New York’s Branch 36 with a commitment to have a democratic union entertaining and encouraging the voice of the membership.

In 1978 Vince R. Sombrotto was elected National President of the National Association of Letter Carriers. Vince’s successes had propelled him to the top of the letter carriers national organization.

For the next twenty-four years, 1978 to 2002, Vince led the NALC through numerous contract negotiations and arbitrations. It is truly Vince’s legacy that among the many improvements in wages, benefits and working conditions he won for letter carriers, his greatest achievement is that he made the letter carrier profession “middle class”.

In June of 2013, Vince’s birth month and six months after his passing, the membership of Branch 36 voted unanimously to rename the branch The Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36. That’s who we are. You should know this and be proud of it.

Outlook March / April 2014
A Bright Spot
There is a new reality in the letter carrier craft. The path to career employment has been realized. The Das Award, despite its many flaws, did provide a clear opportunity for non-career employees, City Carrier Assistants – CCAs, to achieve full-time career status.

The ridiculous staffing problems that have plagued Manhattan and the Bronx have ultimately created opportunities for hundreds of PTFS and CCAs. The NALC and the USPS have generated numerous Memorandums of Understanding addressing promotions and staffing. One MOU dictated, where residual vacancies were identified, PTFS in the installation were converted to Full-Time Regular to fill those vacancies.

Further, where residual vacancies were identified and there were no more PTFS in the installation CCAs, by Relative Standing, they were converted to Full- Time Regular to fill those vacancies.
As a result of this process more than one hundred PTFS in Manhattan and the Bronx were converted to Regular. In the beginning of April, 13 CCAs were converted to Full-Time Regulars in the Bronx. Presently, there are still a handful of PTFS in Manhattan. The attrition rate has been rather rapid and the expectation is that all PTFS in Manhattan will soon be Full-Time Regulars. Once this has been accomplished, future residual vacancies in Manhattan and the Bronx will qualify for CCA promotions.

This is a tremendous improvement for new letter carriers. Formerly Transitional Employees, TEs, had no expectation of achieving career status. New employees can now look forward to a secure future with a solid wage and benefi t package.

Despite the daily trials and tribulations the newly hired letter carriers of Branch 36 dealing with this certainly has become a bright spot.

Outlook January / February 2014
Celebrating Our Past,
Protecting Our Future
On Saturday January 11th, 2014 the NALC held a gala celebration honoring the legacy of the late NALC President Emeritus Vincent R. Sombrotto. A memorial Mass was celebrated at Saint Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street in Manhattan. Vince’s family and extended family were in attendance as were dozens of NALC members and officers from across the nation.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Branch 36 invited celebrants to an open house at the Vincent R. Sombrotto building at 347 W. 41st Street. Many of the guests were from out of town. For many of the visitors it was their first trip to New York City. Everyone was quite impressed with the city sites and the Branch 36 headquarters.

The remarkable accoutrements in the Vincent R. Sombrotto building were genuinely embraced by the many visitors. The memorial display and bronze plaque, in memory of Vince, at the building entrance was astonishing. The picture boxes that tell the story of the Great Postal Strike of 1970 was a revelation to some and source of pride and appreciation to all. The photos adorning the walls of the Meeting Hall that depict Branch 36 delegations in attendance at decades of NALC rallies, celebrations and National Conventions were admired by the guests.

That evening a gala dinner and dance was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Joining Vince’s family in honoring and remembering this great man were hundreds of letter carriers and a multitude of NALC Officers. NALC President Frederic V. Rolando brought all of the NALC national officers and numerous NALC Business Agents. Among the honored guests was Retired Postmaster General Jack Potter.

Make note of the significance of the Hammerstein Ballroom, it was here on March 17th 1970 that Vincent R. Sombrotto, letter carrier, orchestrated the historical strike vote that culminated in the Great Postal Strike.

It was a great event honoring a great man.

Vince sparked the event that changed the lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Postal workers. Vince was just getting started. Soon after the strike Vince became President of New York’s Branch 36. At that time Branch 36 was the largest branch in the nation. A few short years later Vince became National President of the NALC. During his nearly quarter of a century at the helm of the NALC Vince presided over many contract negotiations and arbitrations. Vince’s leadership took letter carriers from desperation to the middle class. In addition to wages and benefits under Vince’s leadership there was improvement in work rules for letter carriers as well.

There were a significant number of accomplishments attributed to Vince but Vince would be the first to tell you he didn’t do it alone. In 1970 it took men and women of courage to join him in the walkout. Vince and the letter carriers who walked out were on strike against the U.S. Government. These letter carriers could have been arrested for this illegal, unprecedented action. Thereafter when the cry went out for letter carriers to rally, to amass, to demonstrate, thousands of letter carriers again would joined Vince, This was Vince’s model for success, strength in numbers.

In these tough times all workers are facing declining wages and benefits. Today the struggle for letter carriers continues. Letter carriers have the tools necessary to confront any obstacle; letter carriers still have strength in numbers. Today’s letter carriers must stand up and be counted as letter carriers have done since 1970. The risk for today’s letter carriers is not as treacherous as it was in 1970. How demanding and risky is it to contribute to COLCPE? What could possibly hinder you from being an e-Activist? Won’t you stand up and join in with the Carrier Corps?

Frederic V. Rolando is the National President of the NALC. He was elected by you. Fred is leading letter carriers in their struggle to preserve their middle class livelihood. Fred excels as a labor leader but he cannot win this struggle alone. Let’s join him. What are you waiting for?

Outlook November / December 2013
Frank Orapello passed away this weekend, November 14, 2013. Frank had been retired since April, 2007. Frank had developed serious health issues and sadly his well-deserved retirement was cut short.

Frank was a letter carrier at Grand Central Post Office in Manhattan. Frank began his Postal career as a letter carrier in 1951. Frank was an activist who was very prominent during the Great Postal Strike of 1970. Frank took a path to leadership in the interest of all letter carriers. Frank became a Shop Steward at Grand Central and soon became a full time officer in Branch 36. Frank was the Recording Secretary for Branch 36, then Executive Vice President and ultimately President of Branch 36.

Frank’s activities with the NALC saw him travel the country attending numerous functions such as the National Conventions, New York State Congressional breakfasts, Health Benefits Training seminars and the Committee of Presidents meetings to name just a few. Frank made hundreds of friends across the country and was liked and respected by most. I say most because Frank spoke his mind. He was not loud. He was not boisterous; he was firm in his beliefs and convictions.

I was involved with many Branch 36 activities as a Shop Steward, a Branch 36 Trustee and an E.I. Facilitator. During that time I did not have much direct involvement with Frank. I served the branch. Frank led the branch. There came a time where a full time vacancy was opening. I sought that position. I had the support of Executive Vice President Charlie Heege. Frank wanted someone else. Fortunately for me, a compromise was reached and both Frank’s and Charlie’s choices became full time Branch 36 officers.

became Branch 36 First Vice President. I had no job description per se. I served the branch and the President as needed. One day in my first year as an officer Frank and I were having a conversation and Frank said to me “You know I chose someone with more experience than you, but I did promote you also, and I am glad I did.” I think I’ve been on blood pressure medication ever since. I would never want to let Frank down.

As the years went by I became closer with Frank. Most mornings many of us would arrive early and talk shop over coffee; Frank, Ruben Santiago, Al Marino, Pat Lucus and myself. Frank and I would discuss things we were working on for the branch or upcoming NALC business. These were wonderful times for me. I enjoyed a great friendship with Frank.

Frank was a presence, he was an awesome negotiator. He was low-key and a gentleman but he did have a temper. It took a lot to upset Frank but he could and did get angry.

After more than half a century of service as a letter carrier and a labor leader Frank turned over the reins of Branch 36 to Charlie Heege. Frank retired in 2007 with plans of enjoying more time with his lovely wife, Rosemary, and their family. Frank wanted to travel and also relax in the sun at his Florida home. He did these things as much ashe could; I hope he loved every minute of his retirement. He earned it.
Rest in peace Frank. You will be missed.

Letter Carriers Are the Postal Service
The American public continues to recognize the USPS Letter Carrier as the most trusted government employee. This honor has been bestowed upon Postal employees for a number of years now.

Letter carriers are the visible ambassadors of the Postal Service. Letter carriers are known, trusted and respected by members of every community. It is, after all, the letter carrier who delivers to every address in the nation six days a week, and now with the new Sunday Parcel Post initiative, make that seven days a week.

The letter carrier uniform and the Postal vehicle are an integral part of the community, easily recognizable, and readily welcomed. The men and women who proudly wear the letter carrier uniform often have more than a passing relationship with those folks they encounter along their routes.

The “mailman” or “mail person” quite often is a friend who brings a variety of expected and unexpected envelopes, newspapers, magazines and packages. In a business environment the letter carrier is delivering important material necessary for commerce. Businesses rely on their letter carriers bringing their mail everyday, six days a week. In residential communities there is a diverse array of information delivered by the letter carrier. The letter carrier is filling the mailbox with checks, bills, birthday cards, credit cards, statements, the list can go on and each and every piece is important to our customers. Six days a week at home and business
there is an expectation and anticipation of what the letter carier has in the mailbag today.

The men and women who wear the uniform of the USPS Letter Carrier are once again hailed as an American favorite. It is an honor letter carriers have deservedly earned. It is an honor to serve the community. Wear your letter carrier uniform with pride, you are special and it shows.

All CCA’s who have passed their 90/120 day probation period are entitled to a uniform allowance. Currently all eligible CCA’s uniform allowances are set to expire on November 21, 2013. If you did not purchase a uniform or if your uniform purchase was declined by a vendor you must act NOW. If you cannot rectify this problem by Friday, November 21st, you must file a grievance to continue to have access to the current uniform allowance. The rule is if you do not use your uniform allowance within the allotted time frame you lose that allowance.

All regular carriers who are having difficulties with vendors should ask the vendor the reason. If the vendor tells you that the Postal Service is not paying the bill ask the Station Manager what the problem is. If you do not get a satisfactory answer contact the Union and the Postmaster.

Outlook September / October 2013
Know These Rights
This was supposed to be a primer for CCA's. The Postal Service was scheduled to begin a "test" project delivering parcels on Sundays using CCA's exclusively. This was intended to remind or inform our newer members of some of the guaranteed entitlements of the Letter Carriers' contract provisions.

In fact, this is a great opportunity to remind ALL letter carriers of these guaranteed provisions.

Let's start with the basic principle; a fair day's work, for a fair day's pay. A day's work consists of eight hours. When a letter carrier does not take the morning or afternoon ten minute rest break they will have worked for free for that time. When a letter carrier does not take thirty minutes for lunch and the additional ten minutes wash up time, that letter carrier has worked for free. When a letter carrier does not take a twelve minute wash up at the end of the tour, that letter carrier has worked for free.

There are two good reasons to share this valuable information with you. First, you may not be aware of these negotiated rights. Second, you may have run through your workday and missed these opportunities. Neither of these scenarios is acceptable.

It is paramount that you know your contract. Knowledge is power. Just as when you drive, knowing the rules of the road will keep you safe and out of trouble. You know what can happen if you drive 75 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.

The letter carriers' contract is negotiated by the Union and the Postal Service. The Union will try to get the best benefit package it can. The Union will also try to level the playing field by negotiating for fair work rules. Each letter carrier has his/her own daily assignment and must assess the workload and concur with the supervisor on that workload. Oftentimes there are disagreements between the carrier and the supervisor regarding the workload. This is where some carriers are inclined to "run". Letter carriers do not get paid to "run". Work safe, work smart. Do not be intimidated into working for free.

If a letter carrier has determined that the workload for the day exceeds what can be done in eight hours, that letter carrier should submit form PS 3996. This is a request for assistance or overtime to complete the assignment. You cannot be denied this form. The supervisor may, however, decline the request on the form. The supervisor should then give you further instructions to fulfill the assignment. If you find these instructions unrealistic, you should respond "I'll do the best I can" and proceed about your assignment. Do not sacrifice your guaranteed time. If you cannot complete the work call or return to the station for management's instructions for the completion of your workday.

While doing your job to the best of your abilities and taking full advantage of any and all of your contractual rights, be a professional. You are a professional letter carrier whose mission is to serve Postal customers. There seems to be some confusion regarding the delivery of accountable items or parcels. These items must be attempted. It is not the responsibility of the customer to come to the lobby or mailbox to accept delivery. When you ring the bell if there is a bell, you can ask the customer to come and get the delivery. The customer does not have to come for the piece. The letter carrier must, however, deliver the piece to the customer. If there are no bells or intercom you should bring the piece to the customer's door to attempt delivery. This is the service the customer paid for. The letter carrier's instructions as per the M-41 are:
631 Delivery of Parcel Post
631.1 Determine if someone is available at the address by ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door.

Do not take shortcuts and scan the piece "attempted" and leave a 3849 (Delivery Notice) without having tried to see if the customer is available. Letter carriers are paid to provide the delivery. Do not let management's instructions result in inferior service to our customers.

Hopefully this reminder will guide you to a better work experience.

Outlook July / August 2013
Out of Service
As NALC activists we are shocked and incredulous with the refusal of Congress and the leadership of the USPS to build a business model that will prosper and grow in the twenty-first century.

Sadly, the same theme is now playing on the local level. Recent meetings were held in Manhattan and the Bronx regarding Begin Tour changes. Postal management is determined to start letter carriers later in the morning. As usual Postal management cites problems and difficulties with mail processing and transportation issues for the reasons behind the changes. Why can't they ever fix those problems? Where does prompt, quality service to Postal customers factor into such strategies?

Shop stewards from the affected stations attended the tour change meetings to share their input. Some excellent points were raised.

The shop stewards from Lenox Hill North and South raised some very valid issues and were able to stall the change for now. Sam Davis and Alberto Torres explained that carriers returning from as far away as 80th St. to 55th St. would encounter traffic difficulties due to the 59th St. Bridge, which would surely result in late returning carriers from the street. Postal management will examine the factors involved and proceed accordingly by September.

Shop steward Charlene Edwards, Lenox Hill Main, cited the chaos involving access to the loading dock at 70th St. and transportation problems throughout the zone due to construction on the 2nd Ave. Subway. Charlene's issues were dismissed; Lenox Hill Main will start later.

Times Square shop stewards Ralph Fradera and John Barone expressed concerns over security, particularly in the Diamond District. Eight o'clock starting times will have letter carriers that deliver valuables out in the dark come the Fall. They cited how the hundreds of businesses served in the area require a timely delivery of mail in order to conduct their business. Prompt, early delivery of mail constitutes good service; shouldn't good service be our goal? Good reasoning, but not good enough to change Postal management's plan.

Jimmy Ligori, Parkchester shop steward, also cited a goal of quality service. Jimmy reminded Postal management of Parkchester's outstanding performance in Customer Connect and questioned how inferior service could encourage continued customer participation. Despite this valid feedback, Parkchester letter carriers will soon start at 8:30 AM.

All of these shop stewards were concerned that falling service standards could drive our customers to our competitors.

Not all shop stewards were available to share their input. The inability of Postal management to coordinate meetings of the affected parties in many cases resulted in no individual feedback. It is quite likely your station never had an opportunity to make a case. Postal management went forward as planned anyway.

Typically, due to the potential disruption to letter carriers personal lives, Postal management would afford 30 days prior notice to those impacted. In this instance, the notice was less than 30 days. Management eagerly reminded the Union that contractually they could do this. Historically, a more cooperative climate existed. Postal management implemented their plans while showing adequate concern for the employees.

Staffing of letter carriers is also an issue affecting delivery service. Everyday stations across Manhattan and the Bronx are opening their operations with multiple open assignments. This "plan" often results in forced overtime and Article 8 grievances. Letter carriers delivering to more than one route are working into the evening. This is not a plan for success. The short staffing also has placed extreme pressure on new employees, CCAs. The new employees need more training, more "hands on" training. This is a recipe for failure. The turnover rate is quite high. This high turnover rate does have a cost factor. The USPS must do better.

The Postal Service must show greater care for its employees and its customers or the USPS just might find itself Out of Service.

Outlook May / June 2013
Welcome Newcomers
The economic news, as reported by various sources, has been improving. Unemployment is down, the housing market is rebounding and the financial industryVis stable.

While continuing its massive downsizing the U.S. Postal Service is hiring. As a result of Arbitrator Das' Award finalizing the NALC new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the USPS a new position, City Carrier Assistant, has been created. A newly hired CCA has a direct path to career employment as a USPS City Letter Carrier.

The new contract was hard fought by both parties. Given the effects of the ongoing economic recovery the stakes were high. Moving forward, we now have incoming letter carriers who will have a future in the Postal Service. CCAs can assimilate into the career workforce, a middle class workforce. The CCAs will have a future with a decent wage and benefits.

Most of the new hires (CCAs) are often shocked and overwhelmed by the totality of a letter carrier's duties. It does take an adjustment period. The variety of a letter carrier's activities makes quite a contrast. Letter carriers work for hours in the P.O. preparing the mail for delivery. Then they take the mail to the streets, delivering mail for hours, in all types of neighborhoods and in all kinds of weather, either of which can be treacherous.

Once the new carriers acclimate to the reality of being a letter carrier, they will be just fine. It might be like riding a bicycle, it's not exactly easy, and not everyone can do it.

Spring, Summer and Fall are wonderful times to be a letter carrier. The nice weather seems to bring out the best in everyone.

No matter the season, Branch 36 has a multitude of exciting and interesting activities for members and their families to participate in and enjoy. On June 13th, Branch 36 will unveil and commemorate our new designation as the Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 NALC. The event will feature invited NALC officials and guests and, of course, the Sombrotto family.

June 16th is the annual Branch 36 Day at the Mets. These events are just a sampling of the good times Branch 36 letter carriers have together. I would also advise any letter carrier who has not attended the Annual Branch 36 Dinner and Dance at the Marina Del Rey each November in the Bronx to check it out.

Welcome and good luck to all new letter carriers.

To all Branch 36 letter carriers and their families, have a special and a safe summer.

Outlook March / April 2013
Thank You For Your Continued Support
The members of the Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 have re-elected me, by acclamation, to another three year term as their Executive Vice President. I thank you all for the opportunity to represent and serve the membership of this great branch for another three years. The entire leadership of the branch is enthusiastic and appreciative of the confidence and support shown us by the members. One officer of the Executive Council, Director of Education, Mike Kelly, had to survive a challenge. Survive he did. Mike won convincingly by a margin of 772 to 60. No doubt the membership likes Mike.
The official installation of officers isn't until April 11 but we hit the ground running already. On Sunday, March 24, President Charlie Heege organized and hosted a massive rally to save six-day mail delivery for America. Charlie invited the leaders and the members of neighboring NALC branches and sister unions of clerks and mailhandlers to send a message to our legislators that they must save America's Postal Service, especially six-day mail delivery. The Postmaster General has stated he will cease Saturday mail delivery August 5, 2013.

Speakers at the rally included community activists and local representatives. Congressman Gerald Nadler declared to the crowd that the PMG's plan is an attack on working families, an attack on the poor and the elderly and an affront to one prominent founding father, Benjamin Franklin, who included mail service in the U.S. Constitution. Congressman Nadler is a cosponsor of past and pending legislation that would benefit and preserve the Postal Service. Congressman Elliot Engel told the gathering he too is a supporter and cosponsor of legislation favoring preserving six-day mail service. Congressman Engel was presented with a special NALC rally tee shirt which the Congressman said he would wear on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Many local activists hailed the role of the letter carriers in their communities. The acts of heroism displayed by letter carriers in all sorts of emergencies are valued in every community. The assortment of letter carrier commitments such as the nation's largest single day food drive is a tremendous benefit to every community. The Carrier Alert program, to keep an eye on the elderly on their routes, is still another letter carrier contribution. A common reference was the valued friendship and reliability of the letter carrier on the route.

NALC Vice President George Mignosi told how the misguided plans of the PMG are undermining the confidence of mailers. The mailers rely on six-day access to the nation's mail boxes. The loss of revenue due to the fear and uncertainty of the mailers is already being felt. George referenced the U.S. Postal Service as a major employer of U.S. veterans. The impending loss of the sixth day will further shrink the Postal workforce leaving less opportunity for vets returning from Afghanistan.

Speaker after speaker deplored the debacle proposed by the PMG and the mass of humanity gathered on Eighth Ave. echoed and amplified those sentiments. An apropos chant of, "Donohoe Must Go" was the theme song of the day.

The leadership of the Vincent R. Sombrotto Branch 36 is roaring off to a fresh start. What a wonderful start it was, President Charlie Heege and his Branch 36 officers and the hundreds of Branch 36 members and hundreds of neighboring NALC brothers and sisters and the hundreds of invited guests and the hundreds of concerned citizens culminating in more than three thousand voices calling for "Six Days the Only Way."
Thanks again for your continued support.

Outlook January / February 2013
I am not a veteran of the Great Postal Strike of 1970. I would not take this job prior to 1970. I made more money pumping gas than my Dad earned. He was a letter carrier working for the U.S. Post Office in the Bronx.

An historic event occurred in March of 1970 that forever changed the lives
of letter carriers. Mr. Vincent R. Sombrotto, a letter carrier at Grand Central Station in Manhattan, defied the union, both local and national, and spearheaded a wildcat strike against the United States Post Office.

Vince was not a union officer. He was not a union shop steward. Vince was a letter carrier who saw a need for a change. Vince was an engaging, convincing man who decided to step up and demand change. What Vince did was previously unthinkable. Vince was the catalyst of a labor stoppage against the U.S. government.

Vince was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II. He was a letter carrier since 1947. Vince was just a hardworking family man who found himself leading an unprecedented movement. Vince had become the unexpected leader of a nationwide Postal strike.

After the strike there were myriad changes. The whole structure of wages and benefits improved dramatically for letter carriers. Vince, now prominent in the postal labor movement, soon after the strike became the President of New York Letter Carriers Branch 36.

The man who played such a key role in that nationwide work stoppage was gathering notoriety outside of New York as well. It would not be long until Vincent Sombrotto was vying for the top leadership position in the NALC.

In 1978 Vincent R. Sombrotto was elected President of the National Association of Letter Carriers. When Vincent Sombrotto took over the National Association of Letter Carriers, the organization was virtually insolvent. The organization was deficient in many aspects. Vince set about rebuilding the NALC with every letter carrier in mind.

Vince believed in democracy. Every letter carrier had a vote and every letter carrier had a voice. National conventions would be the forum for the NALC platform and the letter carriers in attendance, representing every letter carrier in the nation, would decide that platform.

Vince made the NALC more democratic. Vince also made the NALC more transparent. The Postal Record printed all the vital information, financial and labor, letter carriers needed.

Vince never shied away from any question in any forum. Many a controversial query was directed at Vince at the National Conventions but they never went unanswered. Vince knew his business and he knew his audience. His audience was of course letter carriers. Outside of Vince's family, Vince was most fond of letter carriers.

If you ever talked shop with Vince his face would light up as he recalled his days on the workroom floor, especially the swing room. The conversation would surely evolve into sports and coworkers. Among Vince's multitude of skills was his acumen for any game involving a deck of cards, a Postal skill no doubt.

As President of the NALC Vince held numerous conversations and discussions with Congressmen and Senators, but Vince loved talking with letter carriers. If you are a letter carrier, be it from Wyoming, Hawaii, Nevada or New York, Vince enjoyed talking with you.

Vince mentored his successors, Bill Young and Fred Rolando. Vince had high regard for these men. Vince was right again, Bill and Fred have kept the NALC a premier labor organization.

If you had the opportunity to spend a moment or two with Vincent Sombrotto, l am sure it was memorable. Maybe you talked about yesterday's game or maybe you talked shop, but Vince was happy to be amongst letter carriers.

Sadly, Vince has left us. He passed away after a long illness on January 10, 2013. He has left an indelible mark on the world he inhabited and it's a good thing for letter carriers that he did. Rest in Peace Vince.

Outlook November / December 2012
Together We Can, Together We Did
Another nasty, acrimonious national election has come and gone. We, the letter carriers of America's Postal Service stepped up to give the push necessary to elect those proven friends of letter carriers. In many election races we were able to dispose of those who stood in the way of legislation that would secure a fair, progressive future for America's Post Office
We can celebrate our victory, we did reelect President Obama, and we
did retain the majority in the Senate. We did, unfortunately, come up short in our efforts to retake the House of Representatives. This was still a tremendous victory for working families. This was a tremendous victory for the middle class. This was a tremendous victory for letter carrier's cumulative efforts. Letter carriers made a concerted effort to elect candidates whose records and values represented working families.Letter carriers were out in the community handing out leaflets, knocking on doors and manning telephone banks to "Get Out The Vote" for our candidates.

NALC National President Fred Rolando, New York State President George Mangold and Branch 36 President Charlie Heege were relentless in their urging the membership to unite behind friends of letter carriers. Their message was embraced by concerned letter carriers who set out to get the job done. Together in unity letter carriers got the job done. There were many tight races right here in the metropolitan area that letter carriers can claim it was their enthusiastic efforts that wrought victory. What a thrilling foray into democracy this was for the letter carrier volunteers who made the sacrifice and extra effort for our cause. Congratulations to all those letter carriers who made this victory a reality.

There were many Branch 36 letter carriers who answered the call to help NALC candidates. Undoubtedly, it was letter carriers like Donna Thompkins of Manhattanville and a cadre of volunteers that returned Congressman Charles Rangel to Washington. Mike Kelly of Cooper once again gave his time and enthusiasm to his Congressional race and succeeded in ousting a Tea Party rubber stamp. Natan Sheyer, Shop Steward from Village Station, reminding the membership at every opportunity of the importance of their participation in the political process. Carmen Flores has shown what charm can accomplish. Carmen is on a first name basis with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. Donna, Carmen and Natan have had their representatives personally attend Branch 36 functions. The work of these individuals and the work of the many not named here won the day, Election Day 2012.

Together we did what needed to be done. A call went out for letter carriers to make a difference and together we did.

Outlook September / October 2012
Tough Times
My message here is usually focused on the struggle in the political arena. Every battle is one we must win. Perhaps we do not always win, but we must always be diligent to further our cause. If we don't stand up for ourselves who will? The legislative process is a work in progress, it never ends. No loss is devastating, no victory is a conquest. Letter carriers must always have a horse in the race, and back that horse.
There is quite an extensive menu of problems confronting letter carriers on a daily basis, none of which are trivial. Everyday issues must be addressed and remedied. Letter carriers must have the equipment to do the job. Letter carriers must be treated with dignity and respect and treated as the professionals they are. Everyone should respect each other. We are all Postal employees with a job to do.

As I walk among the letter carriers of the Bronx and Manhattan I become aware of the everyday struggles on the workroom floor. Staffing issues are extremely contentious; there are not enough bodies to cover the assignments every day. Pivoting is required on most days. Days off are frequently cancelled, often at the last minute. Complaints of constant management harassment to be back before 5, ignoring obvious workloads is prevalent. Some supervisors are refusing to provide 3996 upon request. Failure to pay carriers who call in sick is another constant complaint. Disrespect from supervisors/managers also is often a complaint of carriers.

Letter carriers are facing pressures on many fronts. There are, however, many methods and resources available for letter carriers to use. The key is communication. Letter carriers have their Shop Stewards to represent and advise them on contract related issues. Shop Stewards should be involved in regular (monthly) Labor/Management meetings. These meetings establish the goals and expectations of all the parties: management and letter carriers. Shop Stewards should share what they have gained from their meetings with management and the various Union meetings. Knowledge and information are key. If everyone knows the rules and expectations there should be no confusion or conflict. Letter carriers can contact their Union officers for information and guidance if necessary. Through communication there should be no anger and frustration. We have many tools available to make our workplace pleasant and productive. Let us utilize these tools so that each of us can appreciate our accomplishments and go home at the end of the day at which time we can reflect on a job well-done.

Each of you, rather each of us, has a full plate to manage. The daily work floor activities and the union/political activities are quite a handful but proactive, positive attention to these obligations will provide substantial rewards.

Having taken a hard look at the difficulties letter carriers face daily, I'd like to make a suggestion: Let's Party. The upcoming Letter Carrier Annual Dinner and Dance at the fabulous Marina del Rey is on Sunday, November 11th. I'd love to see you there.

Outlook July / August 2012
The Assault on the Middle Class
The NALC 68th Biennial Convention has recently concluded. I was there with thousands of letter carriers, including 75 Branch 36 delegates.

The activities and information available to the attending letter carriers was eagerly consumed. There was a prevailing climate of solidarity. There was a declaration by this gathering that we are the face of American labor. Letter carriers have struggled for years and persevered to claim our place in America's middle class.

The NALC produced a video of interviews with letter carriers who were participants in the Great Postal Strike of 1970. The video premiered at the previous national convention but its message is one worth repeating. NALC President Emeritus Vincent R. Sombrotto, Branch 36 First Vice-President, Harold Hillard, Branch 36 Director of Retired Members, Jose Ramos, Branch 36 Sergeant-at-Arms, Eugene Spry and 50 year active letter carrier, Anthony Puccio of Triboro Station were most prominent in the video. All of these men reminisced about the desperate actions taken in those desperate times. The video was informative and motivational. Without a doubt the majority of letter carriers present were unaware of the humble plight of letter carriers in the previous generation. It was a shocking revelation to most of the letter carriers present that prior to 1970 the average letter carrier income was below the poverty level. Prior to 1970 many letter carriers with families to feed were on Public Assistance. Without a doubt the delegation was moved and inspired.

There were numerous guests who spoke to the gathering. There were labor leaders including the National President of the AFL-CIO. There were politicians including the Governor of Minnesota, the Mayor of Minneapolis, the national leader of the Democratic National Committee and one of Minnesota's U.S. Senators.

Dozens of resolutions proposed by the various branches and state associations were voted on by the delegates. These resolutions set the tone and direction for the national leaders in NALC negotiations. The resolutions run the gamut from changes in contract language to modifications to letter carrier uniforms to political and labor movement activities. There were also NALC Constitutional amendments that were voted on. Every item under consideration, resolution and amendment were voted on with the majority deciding the outcome.

Speaking of voting, there were seven (7) AFL-CIO Delegate positions to be filled. The previous five year term had expired. Once again, Branch 36's own President Charlie Heege was elected to the position of AFL-CIO Delegate.

In total, the week-long activities were intense. There was much to do and learn. Newcomers were overwhelmed and exhilarated by the experience. Veterans were bolstered by a renewed enthusiasm and vigor. Every attending delegate left Minneapolis eager to take on the challenges confronting the NALC, the U.S. Postal Service and the American middle class.

What has been outlined here is a snapshot of the national convention experience. I hope every member of Branch 36 will get to participate and enjoy this tremendous experience. What has been borne of this 68th Biennial Convention is a call to duty. All of the convention attendees are eager and anxious to stand up for America's Post Office and America's middle class. Present day letter carriers have numerous tools available to help in the struggle to save America's Post Office. COLCPE, e-Activists and Carrier Corps are the key tools today's letter carriers can employ. Letter carriers do not have to take the draconian actions of the previous generation but every letter carrier MUST get involved just as the video declared, every letter carrier stood together in 1970. It is imperative that ALL letter carriers join the cause to stop the assault on America's middle class.

Outlook May / June 2012
The Power of One
All active letter carriers are aware that the contract has expired. Letter carriers are patiently awaiting the outcome of the negotiation / arbitration process. Letter carriers have full faith and confidence in our NALC leadership team to deliver the best possible new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Overshadowing the prospects of any collective bargaining agreement is the specter of what can and will happen in Congress. Unlike the negotiating process, this is an area in which every individual letter carrier MUST get involved. Our NALC leaders continue to endeavor to achieve a collective bargaining settlement. Every letter carrier must be involved in the legislative arena. Every letter carrier must contact their representative seeking their support for fair, positive Postal reform.

Our NALC legislative coordinators are our scouts in Washington, D.C. They regularly monitor the action in Washington and via the NALC e-Activist network every participating letter carrier can heed their call to action.

In case you haven't noticed, the references here are to EVERY letter carrier. The recent rallies and demonstrations the NALC called for were well attended by Branch 36. Those in attendance are essentially the same union members that can always be counted on. Where were the other 4,000 Manhattan and Bronx letter carriers? I am sure that each of those 4,000 missing letter carriers hopes for a good contract with wages and benefits. I am sure that those 4,000 missing letter carriers expect there to be a U.S. Postal Service in the years ahead, a U.S. Postal Service that delivers to every address in America six days a week.

Every letter carrier must grasp the union concept. There is strength in numbers. Every successful struggle in history was accomplished by the efforts of every individual participant, not just the leadership.

If every letter carrier intends to share in the successes of the NALC then every letter carrier MUST contribute to COLCPE, every letter carrier MUST become an e-Activist, every letter carrier and their families MUST register to vote and vote in the elections. Finally, every letter carrier MUST show up when the call goes out. The NALC is EVERY letter carrier.

In these difficult times it is vital that working men and women protect what they have, namely their good jobs. These good jobs became good jobs by the actions of the union members that preceded the present membership. I am hopeful that every Branch 36 member is aware of our history. Did you know that letter carriers with twenty and thirty years seniority walked off the job in solidarity in 1970? Not only could these letter carriers have lost their jobs, they could have been arrested. The letter carriers of 1970 had a purpose and a mission and NO letter carrier delivered mail during the Great Postal Strike of 1970.

The Great Postal Strike of 1970 is a landmark work stoppage that defines the NALC. There have been other struggles, less profound, in which the NALC has accomplished victory through solidarity. Every letter carrier must realize their individual power, the power of ONE. Every letter carrier must realize the power of solidarity.

The future of the U.S. Postal Service, and the letter carriers who deliver for the Postal Service, is an issue before Congress right now. The NALC is marshaling all of its resources to achieve legislation that will enable the Postal Service to remain the leading network in the field of communications for the American people. Congress is presiding over the very existence of the Postal Service. This is your time to affect history. You MUST be an active union member. This is your chance to protect tomorrow.

Outlook March / April 2012
Get the Message
The questions continue to hang over working Americans. Where are the jobs? Where are the jobs with benefits? Do American workers still have an expectation of collective bargaining?

Letter carriers have stood by patiently as the NALC conducted contract negotiations with the U.S. Postal Service. The 2006-2011 collective bargaining agreement expiration date came and went, negotiations were extended. The extension date arrived with no agreement. The parties took steps for mediation/arbitration, as provided for under the provisions of collective bargaining. It is now four months since our contract expired. Letter carriers want a new contract. Letter carriers know the process and remain confident the NALC and the USPS will eventually have a resolve.

Letter carriers have another, more formidable concern. The legislative process is more precarious than contract negotiations. The financial health of the Postal Service appears to be dismal. These are extremely difficult economic times for American businesses and the Postal Service is no exception. The horrific recession that almost bankrupted the United States has had a tremendous impact on mailers and mail volume. This reality has caused the Postal Service to adjust rapidly to dropping volumes and revenues. With the help of the NALC the necessary changes were accomplished. This joint effort greatly diminished the potential devastating impact that would otherwise have occurred.

There are many misleading details claiming the USPS is insolvent, obsolete and worse. Congress has placed an untenable mandate on the USPS hidden in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. There is an absurd provision in this law that calls for billions of dollars to be prepaid for some future benefits. There are pension fund overpayments in the billions that the USPS has made to the U.S. Treasury. These infringements can be rectified by Congress. The actions of Congress supersede collective bargaining; in fact Congress can alter or even dismiss collective bargaining.

Branch 36 has been very proactive in the legislative arena. We have four outstanding Legislative Liaisons in Branch 36, Donna Thompkins, Carmen Flores, Natan Sheyer and Jose Rarnos, Our Legislative Liaisons communicate with their respective Congressional representatives encouraging their support on letter carrier issues governed by Congress, specifically, legislation such as H.R.1351. H.R.1351 is an updated law governing the Postal Service's responsibilities, particularly the prefunding requirement. Branch 36 has persistently encouraged the membership to become e-Activists, to become payroll deduction contributors to COLCPE, the NALC political action committee, to register to vote, to register their families to vote and for all to vote on Election Day.

Letter carriers and working families have many friends in Congress. The proactive efforts of the NALC must win the day. U.S. Senator Kristin Gillibrand from N.Y. State spearheaded a moratorium on closing Postal facilities. This has provided temporary relief from the draconian measures the Postal Service plans to enact.

There are detractors in Washington who are deliberately attempting to hasten the demise of the USPS. There are individuals with an anti-worker agenda permeating the nation. Letter carriers must stop them. Letter carriers must resist the forces that are attempting to end collective bargaining.

Letter carriers support our organized brothers and sisters in their struggle to continue collective bargaining. Letter carriers support our brothers and sisters who are yet to be organized.

Our rallies of September 27, 2011 were to Save America's Post Office, Our focus remains clear. Our mission remains. Our message has not changed. Letter carriers are committed to: Save America's Post Offices

Outlook January / February 2012
The Winter of Our Discontent
I prefer to be the bearer of good news. It is always better to view the glass as half full as opposed to the glass being half empty. Sometimes, however, we must get real. Events of the recent past leave us no choice but to shiver in the cold of this winter upon us.

This winter saw the expiration of our Collective Bargaining Agreement, our
"contract." The NALC leadership and the USPS mutually agreed to extend the expiration deadline, not once but twice. This was an encouraging sign. How cool was this? In the era of the Union busters of Wisconsin and Ohio, the NALC could secure a negotiated collective bargaining agreement with the USPS.

Certainly our negotiated agreement would be superior to those agreements reached with other Postal organizations. The NALC was, after all, the cooperative entity. The NALC through its "Customer Connect" initiative had empowered letter carriers to procure over one billion dollars in new Postal revenue. The NALC was the "partner" of the Postal Service in MIARAP and JARAP, the streamlined route evaluation process that saved the Postal Service millions of dollars in operational costs to accomplish vital evaluations rapidly. These expedited evaluations and adjustments resulted in additional savings for the Postal Service in the millions of dollars. Surely there was a payback coming our way.

At the close of business on January 20, 2012 the NALC and the USPS ceased their contract talks having failed to reach an agreement. The NALC and its letter carriers were left out in the cold.

Our NALC leadership has the experience and the expertise to persevere and prevail in the collective bargaining arena. This winter, however, there is a very different nemesis in the mix. It is political in nature. This winter there is a dysfunctional Congress. There is a big snow job coming out of Washington, D.C.

The middle class, letter carriers, teachers, police, firefighters and all hardworking folks had hopes of a brighter tomorrow. The middle class was a huge portion of the majority that elected the Champion of Change, President Obama. Having survived a government of aggression and avarice led by the Champion of Privilege, the middle class swept in a new leader with a new majority. Our new President had inherited a financial debacle. After three years in office, Main St. is still feeling the pain of a suffering economy. President Obama's failure to move the economy in a positive direction has resulted in fear and discontent on Main St. This fear, this failure has resulted in the loss of the President's majority. The failure to stabilize the nation's economic and employment crisis is the legacy of this Congress and the sitting President.

Billions of postal dollars have been consumed by the government. In many instances, billions in overpayments, and the infamous billions in prefund payments. Despite this being a known fact, the powers in Washington, D.C., Congress, the President and L'Enfant Plaza declare the U.S. Postal Service inefficient and obsolete. The President has stated he would support a reduction in Postal delivery to five days. The Congress of COLCPE has become silent. It is true that some positive legislation has garnered impressive support but relief from the shackles of the Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act has not been realized. The billions in pension overpayments have been dismissed.

The process of dismantling the USPS network had begun but New York Senator Gillebrand led the call for a moratorium. The moratorium has postponed many draconian Postal closings.

The U.S. Postal Service has recently been cited as the most cost effective and efficient universal mail delivery service in the world, again. The employees of the U.S. Postal Service have been recognized as the most trusted government employee in the nation, again. Why don't more leaders like Senator Gillebrand step up and prevent the potential demise of America's Post Office? Hopefully the real leaders in Congress will preserve this American institution. The real leaders in Washington must put down those ideological agendas that are obstructing America's return to prosperity.

At this moment there is no new "contract." There are no contract talks. Right now Washington continues to squabble and posture. Presently, there is no relief from PAEA of 2006. 2011-2012; this is the winter of our discontent.

Outlook November / December 2011
Remember the Carrier Pigeon
There once was a species of bird known as the Carrier Pigeon. Its numbers were so vast that oftentimes flocks of these birds in flight would darken the sky turning day into night. By twentieth century standards these birds were very annoying. The Carrier Pigeons were considered pests and they were hunted and pursued into extinction.
The twenty-first century version of carrier, to the contrary, is one of the most respected and appreciated aspects of American life. The twenty-first century carrier is the most trusted public servant the American people have come to regard, for many years running. How is it then, that this carrier too now faces extinction? How is it that a carrier who brings news from afar, documents of extreme value and importance and catalogs and brochures which generate vast commerce is no longer necessary? How is it that a carrier, who is a constant, vigilant monitor of the community, is no longer appreciated? Is it possible that carriers who unite to gather and collect food for the less fortunate of the community in the nation's largest food drive can be disbanded? Carriers who have conjured up varied interactive events to inspire the community to contribute to research the treatment and cure of one of the most debilitating childhood maladies, Muscular Dystrophy, are expendable? Can this now be the fate of the twenty-first century carrier?

It is inconceivable that anyone would target for extinction such a valuable resource as the U.S. Postal Service. The Post Office was created by Benjamin Franklin and incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Post Office has been an integral part of the United States since day one. It is inconceivable that there are powerful forces in Congress who would create a false crisis to destroy this heralded institution.

Yes, this is a false crisis created by Congress. In 2006 the Congress of a Republican majority created a mandate incorporated into the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requiring the U.S.P.S. to prefund retiree health benefits seventy five years into the future. This prefunding would have to be accomplished over the next ten years: 2006-2016. This prefunding created a five to ten billion dollar liability annually for the U.S.P.S. This is a false crisis because the prefunding requirement does not exist for any other government entity. The Postal Service is on the verge of "insolvency". An "insolvency" caused by a ludicrous, politically motivated, mandate. "Insolvency" caused by miscalculations and overpayments to the government retirement systems. Billions of dollars have been siphoned from postal revenue resulting in U.S.P.S. "insolvency". In recent Senate hearings not one of the Republican senators recognized these facts. The Republicans senators of the subcommittee ignored the contributing factors of the worst economic conditions in generations. The Republican senators of the subcommittee are perpetuating the false crisis.

The path Congress is on, as demonstrated by the Senate subcommittee hearings, is one of ultimate "insolvency" for the U.S.P.S.

You can do your best to stop this impending, destructive action by Congress by urging your Congressional Representative to oppose H.R. 2309.

We cannot allow Congress to cause the extinction of the twenty-first century carrier.

Outlook October / November 2011
Tell the Hill To Pass The Bill
The word is spreading throughout the land, "Save America's Postal Service." Letter carriers participated in a nationwide rally on Tuesday, September 27th at the offices of every Congressional District in the nation.

The rally, orchestrated by all four Postal Unions, encourages the people of America to sign petitions to Congress calling for the passage of H.R. 1351, legislation which will empower and mandate the U.S. Treasury to restore billions of dollars in Postal revenue to the U.S. Postal Service, H.R. 1351 will also mandate the continuance of six-day mail delivery and the maintenance of its vast network of retail outlets in all corners of the nation.

Postal employees recognize that they must save America's Postal Service. Congress must recognize H.R. 1351 is a win-win solution. The salvation of the Postal Service perpetuates the communication system borne by Ben Franklin in 1775. The services the American people have come to expect and appreciate: six-day delivery to every address and a postal facility conveniently located in their community, will be preserved. Postal employees provide a vital and necessary service for America. H.R. 1351 will protect over 100,000 postal jobs at a time when the nation is in the midst of a jobs crisis.

Branch 36 officers brought the message of the rally to all the stations throughout the Bronx and Manhattan. On the day of the rally there was a Shop Stewards meeting. There were guest speakers at the meeting, Congressman Jerrold Nadler representing N.Y. Congressional District 8, NBA Larry Cirelli, Region 15, and NYSALC President George Mangold. The message delivered by the guest speakers and the officers was emphatic: get out to the rally, get your members out to the rally, inform the public about H.R. 1351 at the rally, and let's pass H.R. 1351.

Natan Sheyer, Village station shop steward and N.Y. Congressional District 8 Congressional liaison, obtained the necessary permits and organized the rally in front of the offices of Congressman Nadler at 201 Varick St., in lower Manhattan. Natan did an outstanding job and the event was a huge success. Congressman Nadler spoke to the gathering at the rally on Varick St. declaring his support for H.R. 1351.

Farther uptown, Congressional liaisons Carmen Flores and Donna Tomkins spearheaded "Save America's Postal Service" rallies at the offices of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Congressman Charles Rangel. Each representative declared their support for America's Postal Service and the passage of H,R. 1351 to the delight of the gathering of workers of the four postal unions and their legions of public supporters.

In the Bronx, Jose Ramos, the Congressional liaison for Congressman Jose Serrano also obtained the permits necessary and organized a rally at the Lafayette Ave. offices of Congressman Serrano. Congressman Serrano too stated his support for H.R. 1351 and America's Postal Service.

Up in the north Bronx in Co-Op City a rally at the offices of Congressman Joseph Crowley was well attended, although the Congressman was unable to be present. Postal Workers and concerned postal patrons called out for the passage of H.R. 1351 and the need to save America's Postal Service.

The message to "Save America's Postal Service" was delivered. Hundreds of thousands of signatures supporting H.R. 1351 were collected nationwide, and hundreds of thousands of people were educated as to the true facts of the Postal Service "crisis".

This is one step we have actively taken to save America's Postal Service, 2011. It is not the last. If you were among us, good job. If you weren't there, what are you waiting for?

Tell your family members the facts. Get their support to pass the bill. Speak with your customers. Tell them the facts. Get their support to pass the bill. Most importantly, Tell The Hill To Pass The Bill.

Outlook July / August 2011
Not A Pretty Picture
There are an awful lot of disturbing factors that letter carriers have to concern themselves with right now.

It is very difficult for letter carriers to contend with the most recent round of JARAP route adjustments. Most letter carriers are not too enamored with the fall out due to the drastic drop off in mail volume. Extreme route adjustments and route eliminations are routine. The rate of attrition of letter carriers is greater than it has ever been, but those leaving are not being replaced. The reduction in letter carrier routes and assignments has to be absorbed by those remaining letter carriers. These are very trying times on the workroom floor. The changes and adjustments letter carriers are enduring can be a tough pill to swallow. These truly are harsh developments but let's look at the bigger picture.

The information being disbursed by the media portrays the Postal Service as an obsolete entity, an entity that is losing billions of dollars. Postal employees have to be disturbed by that message. If the U.S. Postal Service is not viable, what is the future of its employees? Will there be a Postal Service tomorrow? Will letter carriers have a job tomorrow? Does anyone outside of the Postal Service know that billions of dollars have been siphoned away from Postal revenues? Do the American people know that they do not subsidize the Postal Service? Do the American people know that none of their tax dollars go towards the operation of the U.S. Postal Service? Will Congress admit the overpayment and restore the billions of dollars to the Postal Service?

The battling ideologies in Washington D.C. might appear to be beyond the comprehension of average American citizens but nothing could be further from the truth. The spending cuts being called for would take bread right out of the mouths of retired and working Americans. The tax increases so vehemently opposed are shielding the wealthiest people in the nation from paying their fair share. Working families are unable to protect their homes. Working families are struggling with the rising costs of food and energy. Working families are paying the price of the nation's failed economic policies. Working families are stretched to their limits, yet the highest tax brackets in the nation have been continuously dramatically reduced to historic low levels

The NALC / USPS collective bargaining agreement will expire in a few short months. The Postal Service' fiscal year is coming to a close. H.R. 1351 is languishing in Congress. Therein lies the letter carrier future. Will any or all of these vital issues be resolved? When?

All of the issues mentioned here are in the forefront of the NALC pro-activist's struggles. Hopefully, you are one of the thousands of NALC COLCPE contributors. Hopefully, you are one the thousands of NALC Carrier Corps and eActivists. You might be one of the too many thousands of letter carriers who aren't committed to a better future for letter carriers. Failure is not an option and there is no acceptable excuse for not being involved. If you want a secure future, if you want an eight hour assignment, if you want middle class wages and benefits, then the NALC wants you. Letter carriers have fared better than most American workers but this is not a pretty picture.

The NALC wants ALL letter carriers to be part of the solution. You must do this or you can't complain. Let's do something to fix the picture.




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