Taken From: THE FLASH REPORT
Madison Wisconsin Area Local APWU
By: Martin J. Mater
Delivery Unit Relocation (DUR) is the unpleasant flavor of the day. Actually, DUR started in our area in December 2008. Our employer, the USPS, is bleeding red ink and looking to cut expenses wherever possible. Right, wrong, or otherwise, the carrier operations in one Post Office are relocated to another Post Office. The immediate impact (savings) comes from the pocketbook of the clerk(s) in the losing office as most of the work the clerks used to perform disappears along with the carriers. The ultimate goal, once the carriers are relocated, is to move the clerk(s) out (voluntarily or involuntarily), downgrade the office (and eventually the postmaster’s rate of pay), and hire a Postmaster Relief (PMR). A PMR is a non-bargaining unit position and essentially a glorified casual with low wages, no benefits, and the right to quit or be fired.
So far it appears DUR has impacted at least nine (9) offices represented by the Madison WI Area Local, with five (5) additional offices slated for DUR, and I have heard of two (2) other offices on the chopping block but not yet on any officially approved DUR list. The clerks in these small offices have seen their hours reduced over the course of the past several years, from 20-30 hours per week, down to 14-20 hours per week, and now only a few hours on Saturday. Additional hours only come about when the postmaster is gone and the clerk fills in, or if the clerk can be loaned out to another post office. It is not an easy life for the PTF clerk in a small office but we make ever effort to ensure their rights under the CBA are protected.
There are no PTFs in the Madison WI installation as we are a 200 work year office. The vast majority of employees are full-time, with only about a dozen part-time regular clerks. Surprisingly, management in Processing and Distribution (the ‘Plant’), has decided to crack down on what is perceived to be attendance deficiencies. Several months back an Attendance Control Supervisor (ACS) was appointed to monitor attendance and address attendance issues. The method being employed to ‘correct’ attendance problems is to issue discipline. Discipline is intended to be corrective in nature rather than punitive. If you don’t come to work, and lack FMLA protection, you may expect to be called on the carpet regarding your attendance. If you are issued discipline for your attendance, immediately request to see your steward and have a grievance initiated. Even more importantly, do what it takes to prevent the next step of discipline being issued to you, i.e., come to work. Make no mistake about it, management is serious about attendance and, if you insist upon assisting management in the building of a solid foundation upon which they can support your removal from the employ of the Postal Service as a result of you not reporting for duty, you do so at your own peril. Don’t be the next one to utter ‘I thought I’d get another chance.’ As stated earlier, management is looking to cut expenses in any way possible. Removing employees from the rolls is but one method of reducing expenses.
If you are not in the habit of checking your pay stub, it might be a good idea to start. Sometimes mistakes happen. Some mistakes may be totally innocent and others not so innocent. These ‘mistakes’ could result in you not being properly compensated for hours worked, or the wrong category of leave charged if you were away from work for any reason. Keep an eye on your pay stub and check out any suspected irregularities. While on the subject of checking things, it is important you check the information on any PS Form 3971 (leave slip) presented to you for signature. If the information is incorrect, do not sign the 3971. Either correct the information or fill out a new 3971 with the correct information. It is not ever a bad idea to complete your own 3971 to be submitted for management action. Far too often employees are handed a stack of old 3971’s, told to sign them, and then they are all used to support the discipline proposed based on the 3971’s just signed. The paycheck and job you protect are your own. Take responsibility.
Last month I wrote:
“I ask that each of you contact your representatives in Washington DC to ask for their support for HR 22. This can be done by letter, email or phone. Here’s a quick and easy way:
Go to www.apwu.org, scroll down under Departments and Divisions to Legislative and Political. On the left click on Contact Your Legislators. You’re there, and while you’re there you can view the entire Legislative Priorities for the APWU brochure. Thanks in advance for doing your small part to try to save the USPS. The job you help save is your own.”
If you have not already contacted your representatives about this most important issue, please do so as soon as possible. At least one reader pointed out that my ‘quick and easy way’ at www.apwu.org was more complicated than it needed to be in that once at the APWU home page one can just scroll down to ‘Contact Your Legislators’ under SHORT CUTS on the right side of the page, click, and you are there. Once there, check out the other issues important to us as APWU members and postal employees.
I would be remiss if I did not extend a heartfelt thank you to former editor Sandy Braunschweig for all her hard work as editor of the Flash Report. Sandy resigned her position as editor and Jacque Childs has been appointed as the new editor. I have already tried Jacque’s patience by being a bit tardy with this article. I will try to do better next month. The hurrier I go the behinder I get.
See you at a membership meeting? Sign up that member-eligible you work with today.
(Webmeister Note: You can also search and contact your Representatives by using the feature on the right side of the APWU of WI webpage under: “Write to Congress”. All you need to know is your zip code. )