(This article was first reported in the February 2018, Local Newsletter)
Written by: Robert Armentani, President of APWU, SJAL #0526
Let me start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. As President of the South Jersey Area Local I am looking forward to working with each and every one of you to confront the challenges we will face throughout the year. It is imperative that we all stay informed about the goings on in both our National and Local Union. I know it isn’t always easy to make time to attend a General Membership Meeting but I truly feel that every member should at least try to attend one meeting at some point throughout the year. Get to know your representatives, let us know who you are. We are a big local and many of you have never met me or the other members of our Executive Board. I have been making an attempt to get out to some of the local offices just to meet our members in the office. I walked into one office and spoke to the clerk for a little about basic postal business and she had no idea who I was. I finally identified myself as the President of the Local and she smiled and said “You are Rob. I know your name”. She had many questions after that and it was nice to have that opportunity to talk to her. So please try to come to at least one meeting so you don’t have to wait for me to wander into your office to get your questions answered.
Voluntary Early Retirement (VER)
As you are well aware management has offered a VER to the clerk craft employees. This was not previously discussed with the APWU before being offered. The National APWU has posted a Q & A on their website with over 90 questions regarding the VER. They can be accessed at the following link: http://www.apwu.org/sites/apwu/files/resource-files/2018-VER-Q-and-As.pdf. Prior to making any decisions I highly suggest you review these Q & As along with the updates posted by our National Officers on our National website APWU.org.
Abolishments, Reversions and Excessing, Oh My!
Management in the South Jersey District continues to attack our jobs through Abolishment, Reversion and Excessing Notices. We have been successful in fending off many of these attacks but not all of them. We recently resolved an abolishment grievance in Sewell and had that job reinstated. We received a Consent Award by Arbitrator Kelly on a Voorhees Reversion. This job will be posted. We also settled three reversion cases out of Camden with agreements to post those jobs as well. On January 22, 2018 Eastern Region Coordinator Mike Gallagher, NBA Vince Tarducci and I held a telecom with Area Level Management regarding the pending excessing event in the SJ P&DC. The number of employees identified for excessing was down to 24. Eventually an agreement was worked out to offer the jobs that were being held for excessing in the South Jersey District along with several custodial jobs being held in the Philadelphia District to all the clerk craft employees in the South Jersey Plant. After this voluntary process is completed the excessing event in the Plant will be considered closed and no one will be involuntarily excessed.
Despite our successes mentioned above we were unable to put a hold on the excessing from Glassboro, Mt. Holly and Mantua. The effective date for this excessing to take place is February 5, 2018. We will be addressing these events through the grievance procedure. Although I do not agree with any of the excessing, the decision to excess out of Glassboro still has me baffled. The community is growing and we are cutting our service. I asked my son to stop in Glassboro to pick up some paperwork from the clerk in the office. He said that he had to wait behind seven people before he had an opportunity to speak to the clerk to get the paperwork. When he dropped the paperwork off to me he said “Dad, they’re crazy if they take him, (the clerk), out of that office. The line will be out the door”. I told him I have worked for this company for thirty years and I still don’t understand Postal Logic and probably never will.
Continuing with the Wizard of Oz theme; The Wicked witch of the South Jersey District, (Terry Dean), still has his flying monkeys, (postmasters), attacking our jobs as I continue to receive reversion notices from many of our Function Four offices. Offices such as Medford, where they have custodians throwing parcels and Columbus, where they state in the reversion notice that they want to have two PTFs rather than one Full Time employee, are actually trying to do away with jobs when there are obviously work hours available. As long as they continue to attack our jobs I will continue down the Yellow Brick Road with my Pitbull Toto, (Mike Wright) until we get to Oz. Hopefully one day soon someone will throw some water on the Wicked Witch and we’ll get to watch him melt away!!