January 2019 - Article by VP Mark Beach

I would like to wish all the letter carriers and their family a Happy New Year from my family and NALC Branch 78 family. The last year has been a huge struggle for letter carriers, especially in the understaffed Columbus Installation. The Columbus Postmaster and staff have allowed the Columbus Installation to fall more than 40 city carrier assistants. Although we are hiring every other week in Columbus the turnover rate for CCA’s is absolutely horrendous. Columbus clearly needs a cultural change which only the Post Office higher ups can enact. The Postmaster always wants to focus on the handful of employees that call in frequently or get caught sitting or staying in one spot too long. These employees are few and far between and clearly would not have a significant impact if the Installation was properly staffed.

Congratulations to new Region 11 Business Agent, Mark Camilli who officially took over for Dan Toth January 1st. We have already been in discussions with Mr. Camilli and he has admitted that Columbus needs some major attention and he is looking forward to helping us fix the problem. Outgoing Region 11 Business Agent and new National Director of Retiree’s Dan Toth got the ball rolling on this issue by helping implement several processes to help curb management timecard theft and failure to provide information. This process was agreed upon with the District Manager, Melvin Anderson. Shortly after having the intervention, Mr. Anderson went out on detail. The process was very effective for a long period of time but, is clearly still needed as some stations again are failing to provide daily packets. Furthermore, the union is still finding on average two dozen hours a week that supervision is failing to provide. Mr. Camilli’s first visit is much anticipated and he has big shoes to fill from his predecessor.

I would like to thank Yana Miller and Tom Wilson for their many years of service to Branch 78 and the One New Toy program. We had an interim program this year and I’m glad to say that Branch 78 and its membership donated $3,700 dollars in gift cards and several thousand dollars more in books and toys. Next year Hilltop retiree Mary Robinson will be helping with the toy drive and she will be looking to recruit other members to help out as well.

Branch 78 finished the year just shy of 3,000 grievances appealed at the formal step A. A vast majority of these grievances were related to the issue of forced overtime and result in monetary awards to the membership. We are finding out that management never input many of these “agreed to resolves”. The end of the year is a good time to go back and check your grievance settlements versus your end of the year adjustments. If there is a discrepancy with what you received and what you were owed, contact your steward with the documentation and a statement.

I would also like to thank the Columbus Formal A Representatives (in no particular order) Charles Sanders, Allan Moore, Ramon Lawson, Jackie Mitchell, Jeff Stiverson, Jeremy Hirschfelt and Dean Peruzzi. The tremendous amount of cases these people have handled along with a learning curve that was super accelerated made for a rocky path at times for all of us. However, they all showed dedication and pride in learning how to get along while improving their communication skills and improving their formal A skills as well. Hope everyone has a great start to the New year.