The Local Line
“A PPA Award Winning Publication”
The Official Voice Of The
Phone: 630-833-0088 Fax: 630-833-0248
Jackie Engelhart – President Dave Baskin – Vice President
Walter Elerby, Jr. - News Director
April 24, 2012
USPS puts Optimization Plans on "Hold"
Employees are by now aware that the staffing changes planned for 5-19-12 are on hold. Carol Stream In-Plant Manager John Colao stopped canvassing for tour 2 retreat rights and has not issued any abolishment letters at CS. CS will continue to get Fox Valley LO-11 mail. Palatine Plant Manager Chuck Sciurba called me on 4-19-12 to confirm that the changes are on hold per Headquarters and no staffing changes will occur on 5-19-12. He confirmed that all Palatine abolishment letters will be rescinded. The consolidation of Chicago PARS mail to Palatine is also on hold. The reason that USPS has placed optimization plans on hold is because the Senate is discussing S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act. The 79 amendments submitted as of 4-19-12 have been reduced to 39. There is talk of an early out being offered but no official announcement.
Some of the Proposed Amendments to S.1789
On the negative side are: 1. Senator John McCain would eliminate the no lay-off clauses in union contracts, immediately end 6-day delivery, set up a commission to close post offices, and increase employee costs for life and health insurance. 2. Senator Rand Paul would end the monopoly on the mailbox and on first-class mail, and end collective bargaining. 3. Senator Jim DeMint would diminish union representation. 4. Senator Tom Coburn would require retirement eligible employees to go and allow USPS to close unprofitable post offices. Ask your senators to support these amendments: 1. #2034 Senator Akaka would prevent major cuts to OWCP benefits for injured postal workers. 2. #2056 Senator Tester would modify the process for closing/consolidating post offices and facilities. 3. #2042 Senator Casey would maintain current delivery standards for four years.
PMG Visits Rockford
PMG Donahoe was at the Rockford P&DC on 4-19 at the request of Congressman Dou Manzullo. He met with Manzullo and held a Town Hal meeting with Rockford employees. The fate of Rockford and many other facilities on the closing list depends on what the Senate is able to do in the next few weeks.
Unions (and Members) Must Continue to Fight
Management has said all along that optimization plans for closing facilities could change depending on what Congress does. We must stay informed on S. 1789 and be prepared to contact our Senators when needed. The Senate proceedings are being televised on C-SPAN. The APWU and NPMHU have been running TV ads to inform the public on the facts regarding the USPS financial predicament. "When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk." Is a quote I recently read and that statement is very true. It would be nice to have tour 2 back at Palatine and CS but not at the expense of closing other facilities.
As the only full-time officer I work extra hours for the Union to make sure the work gets done. All other officers are part-time and work 40 hours for the Post Office and then work their "office" hours for the Union. Most of the grievance handling officers regularly work over their required office hours and many of those hours are worked without compensation. Maintenance Craft Director Joe Golden has consistently worked many unpaid hours since being elected four years ago. That is because of the numerous violations within the Maintenance Department at Palatine P&DC and particularly on tour 1. Recently Joe was sent ten Step 2 Denials and then denied Union time by the same Manager (Randy Scott) who sent him the ten Step 2 denials. Management requires him to give them a written list of his workload but often denies him Union time in spite of his heavy workload. Joe should not have to process Palatine grievances off the clock (on union time and his own time). This is what he gets for trying to work with Palatine management. He should be able to use his office hours to go to Carol Stream and Chicago Metro Surface Hub, etc. Palatine-domiciled officers, VP Dave Baskin and 600 CCD Olivia Norman, have also had to work extra unpaid hours when they are not released based on workload. 601 CCD Calvin Taylor routinely works many hours off the clock to perform his job for Carol Stream and the 601 Associate Offices. Associate Office Director Kathy Stokes spent part of her recent "vacation" at the Union Hall and in the Associate Offices dealing with some discipline grievances.
Advice for Employees...
If you are called in for a meeting with a Supervisor and/or Manager you have a right to have a Steward present if you ask for one, and you should always ask for a Steward when meeting with management. Management may say you do not need a Steward but when they call you in for anything but the VOE there's a good chance that meeting could result in the issuance of discipline and you need a Steward. For employees reporting an injury you need to get a copy of your Form CA-l or CA-2 after management completes their part. Management does not always give you a copy so you need to ask.
APWU Wins National Dispute on APWU FMLA Forms...
The APWU won this arbitration case on 4-18- I2 when Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that USPS cannot require employees to use Department of Labor (DOL) forms when they submit certification under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Das ruling overturned the USPS policy made of 7-6-10 requiring employees to use the DOL forms. USPS filed the national grievance on 10-4-10. The Union's three contentions were 1) employees are not required to use a specific form or format for FMLA certification; 2) employees may use APWU forms for FMLA certification or any other format that contains the information required by 29 CFR 825.306; and 3) the submission of FMLA certification using DOL-WH-380 forms is optional. We will contact APWU Headquarters to find out if the APWU FMLA forms need to be changed and when they will be available and will provide that information in the next Local Line.
There is Anger at Chicago Metro Surface Hub...
I have heard this but I don't know how true it is. I do have concerns about one or two supervisors in particular and have raised those concerns in Labor-Management meetings and in discussions with the Senior MDO Bernie Hudson. Plant Manager Melvin Anderson is on a detail to Chicago and will not be back until June but I will address these problems with him when he returns from his detail. Management has yet to follow up with the Union on employee complaints regarding how the Leave Control Supervisor speaks to them when they are called in for pre-disciplinary interviews. Employees should always request a Union Steward when called for any "interview" with any supervisor. Recently the Chief Steward spoke to the LC Supervisor on the phone regarding her FMLA when the SDO accused her of yelling and said "do I need to get a witness?" The Supervisor was not the one who needed the witness and she reported this "incident" to the Senior MDO in another attempt to harass and retaliate against this employee for being proactive in performing her Steward duties. Last week a Clerk came to us and complained that when she asked her supervisor for more help in the Racks he took a Clerk away and then stayed in the unit to watch. She does not mind working but felt they needed more help and did not understand why he took one clerk away and then stood over the unit after she asked for help. We tell management that some complaints seem minor to them but are not minor to employees. Most employees want to work but they also want to be treated fairly.