(This article was first reported in the September 2017, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Tony Rodriguez Editor of AWPU, SJAL #0526
Union. An organization of workers, formed for the purpose of negotiating with employers on matters of wages, seniority, working conditions and the like. (Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., pg. 1374)
Member. One of the persons constituting a family, partnership, association, corporation, guild, court, legislature, or the like. (Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., pg. 887)
Steward. A man [or woman] appointed in the place or stead of another. A union official who represents other union employees in grievances with management and who oversees the carrying out of the union contract. (Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., pg. 1268)
Bargaining unit. Labor union or group of jobs authorized to carry on collective bargaining in behalf of employees. A particular group of employees with a similar community of interest appropriate for bargaining. (Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., pg. 136)
“Tony… what the hell is this all about?”
When workers join a union, they come not as an individual, but as a group. A union is you and your co-workers coming together as a team to make improvements at your workplace. This means:
- knowing and understanding your contract
- knowing and understanding any and all local agreements and memos
- knowing and understanding your Union Constitution
- attending all General Membership Meetings
- watching out for your co-workers in the event of management violations
Bottom line: YOU ARE THE UNION!!!
If your breaks/lunch are being missed or overlooked by management, that’s a violation.
If your are being instructed to work in an unsafe manner or unsafe conditions, that’s a violation.
If management is performing your work, that’s a violation.
You (the members) need to be reporting ALL VIOLATIONS to your local steward(s). It’s as simple as, “I would like to see a Union steward.”
PTRs/PTFs/NTFTs/PSEs… are you not paying Union dues? You too are members! YOU TOO ARE THE UNION!!! Your voices and statements are needed and valued just the same. ALL MEMBERS are equal. Your job position, title or seniority only applies to the work and/or assignment and scheduling of management. Sometimes, it applies to the type of grievance being filed. As a Union, we are all one in solidarity!
Management wants to discuss with you behind closed doors, “I would like to see a Union steward.”
Management is discussing work productivity to you on an individual basis, “I would like to see a Union steward.”
If you are not requesting to see your local Union steward(s), issues are never known or discovered, and nothing can or will be done about them.
“ARTICLE 3 – MANAGEMENT RIGHTS
The Employer shall have the exclusive right, subject to the provisions of this Agreement and consistent with applicable laws and regulations:
- To direct employees of the Employer in the performance of official duties;
- To hire, promote, transfer, assign, and retain employees in positions within the Postal Service and to suspend, demote, discharge, or take other disciplinary action against such employees;
- To maintain the efficiency of the operations entrusted to it;
- To determine the methods, means, and personnel by which such operations are to be conducted;
- To prescribe a uniform dress to be worn by designated employees; and
- To take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out its mission in emergency situations, i.e., an unforeseen circumstance or a combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action in a situation which is not expected to be of a recurring nature.
(The preceding Article, Article 3, shall apply to PSEs)” (CBA: Article 3, pgs. 5-6)
In a simplified understanding, this merely means:
“While management has the basic power to “manage” the Postal Service, it must do so in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, contract provisions, arbitration awards, letters of intent and memoranda of understanding. Consequently, many of the management rights enumerated in Article 3 are limited by negotiated contract provisions.
Article 3.F gives management the right to take whatever actions may be necessary to carry out its mission in emergency situations. An emergency is defined as “an unforeseen circumstance or a combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action in a situation which is not expected to be of a recurring nature.”” (JCIM: Article 3, pg. 26)
With management’s attempts (from all angles) to slim down our workforce and take away jobs, don’t you think it’s time to stand up for your rights. You are dues paying union members – An organization of persons or workers constituting a partnership, association, or the like, formed for the purpose of negotiating with employers on matters of wages, seniority, working conditions and the like.
Zero Tolerance Policy
This policy works both ways.
“Our policy is that there will be ZERO tolerance of acts or threats of violence
in our workplace by anyone, craft and management alike. This is not a new
policy. The Postal Service with many of the employee organizations,
initiated a joint statement on violence in the workplace –
“…there is no excuse for r and will be no tolerance of violence or any threats of violence by anyone at any level of the Postal Service; and that there is no excuse for and will be no tolerance of harassment, intimidation, threats, or bullying by anyone.”
This Zero Tolerance Policy means that each and every act or threat of violence from this day forward, regardless of people involved and/or circumstances, will elicit a prompt investigation of facts and an appropriate response to those findings. While certain behaviors can lead to discipline or removal, our emphasis is on providing a safe and healthful workplace environment or each and every employee.” (Zero Tolerance Policy dtd 6March2013)
It is understood that there seems to be no relevance to this policy and it seems that things have intensified. Understand, this fight is not over nor has it been brushed to the side! There is a process and unfortunately, this process takes time. As all other processes have taken time, resolutions have come and became final. Just because the resolution didn’t happen when we wanted it, didn’t mean we gave up. Stop being intimidated to request a steward for fear of retaliation or just not to be bothered by the hassle. If you continue to let these reasons stop you, the treatment that you so much complain about, only continues and it will get worse. It is your right to participate both contractually and by Federal Law.
EVERYBODY!!! Get familiar and READ the contract
Download it from our local website @: https://apwusjal0526.org
- It’s located under the menu link: APWU-SJAL: CBA, JCIM, JCAM and LMOUs
- Read Articles: 1, 3, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, and 17. Also read the same Articles in the JCIM as it breaks down the understanding of each Article.
- PSEs, you must also read the PSE MOU located in the Appendix, page 246 of the CBA
- Also, ALL MEMBERS, read the LMOU of your location. It is located on the bottom of that same web page for every location in the South Jersey Area Local
In solidarity and unity!