(This article was first reported in the November 2017, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Rob Armentani President of APWU, SJAL #0526
Continued Attacks on Our Jobs!
As of the writing of this article the Union continues to deal with excessing events, reversions and abolishments in our offices. We recently had an excessing event meeting where three of our local offices were discussed, Glassboro, Mantua and Magnolia. Unfortunately it appears that we are going to have a PTF excessed from both Mantua and Magnolia. The discussion on Glassboro went on for a while. Management is proposing to excess one FTR and keep one FTR and two PTFs. A review of the hours, by management’s own reports shows that there are approximately 38 hours of work between the proposed hours for the PTFs. This would require them to at the very least create a NTFT position. We have taken the position that this must be done prior to any excessing taking place. We also suggested that the Postmaster work on Saturday then there would be no need to excess a FTR. Management’s quick response was, “That’s not gonna happen!” Another argument that I brought up was the fact that the Glassboro office is in the middle of Rowan University and the community continues to expand which would mean more customers and more revenue. Management’s (Terry Dean) response to that was “College kids really don’t use our services. I have two college age kids and they have never seen the inside of a Post Office.” Wow! Really? My kids are college age as well and I completely disagree with such a statement. It is unfortunate that some management people will say anything just to try to be right.
We have open reversion grievances in several offices including Camden, Sewell, Blackwood, Cherry Hill and Voorhees. We are in the process of filing grievances on reversions in Clementon, Willingboro (Custodial Position), Camden (again) and Voorhees (again). As fast as we file them, that’s how fast we receive new notices.
We have a grievance filed in Cherry Hill under Art. 37.3.A.1. After running the PSE and NTFT hours through MDAT it clearly shows the need for at a minimum of 3, possibly 4, full time traditional positions. This is currently at Step 2. We also have shown the need for a full time position in Maple Shade but management has denied this grievance. This grievance is currently pending arbitration.
We will continue to combat these unwarranted attacks on our jobs based on “earned” hours as opposed to actual work hours as per the contract. After attending the class at the All Craft Conference we have learned additional ways to counter these attacks. The class headed by Lamont Brooks may have been the most informative and educational class that I have been in, in all my years as a Union representative. We will continue to apply what we have learned and fight for our jobs!
On October 3rd a new Plant Manager, Mark Wilson, started at the P&DC. Executive Vice President Ed Lafferty and myself met with him briefly on October 12th. We conveyed our concerns about several issues in the Plant which included: the recent abolishments that occurred without regard to seniority, the hostile work climate that still exists on T-1 and the recent discrimination experienced by three pregnant women who had requested light duty and had their hours cut while no other light duty employees experienced the same treatment. His initial response seemed to be one of concern about each issue and he stated that he would look into each of them and get back to us. As of the writing of this article we have not heard back. I am keeping an open mind and hoping that it will not be business as usual as it was with the previous two Plant Managers who turned a blind eye to their employees’ concerns. Only time will tell.
Here we go again. In less than a year our current contract will expire. Negotiations for a new contract will begin in June of 2018. Considering what we are currently experiencing, I’m almost certain that management’s attack on our jobs will be more persistent than ever. There will be a Contract Campaign Teleconference on October 27th. National Officers will give an update on the preparations for the 2018 Contract Campaign, provide tools, and get input from the membership. I will report on this teleconference at our General membership Meeting on November 19th.
Open Season for the Federal Employees Health benefits will from November 13th and to December 11th. This will be your opportunity to change your Health Plan if you are interested in making a change. Please be diligent in researching the health plan you may be interested in prior to changing. Once you make a change you will not be able to change it again until next years’ open season or if there is a qualifying life event that allows you to make a change.
Penalty Exclusion Period
This year, the December period for the exclusion of penalty overtime begins December 2, 2017 (Pay Period 25-17- Week 2) and ends December 29, 2017 (Pay Period 01-18 – Week 1).
In closing this article I will again plead with each of you to speak up when you observe a violation of our contract. Management should not be doing your work! Employees from other crafts should not be doing your work! It is imperative that you contact your steward or the Blackwood Union office when you observe this happening. If we are unaware of the violation we cannot address it. Speak up, let your voice be heard, let management know that you will not stand by while they give your work away and try to take your jobs!
The Struggle Continues!