February 2019 - Article by VP Mark Beach

The NALC is one of the strongest union’s in the world bar none. However, the union might not survive without your help and without continued active involvement from the membership at the grass roots level, which means you the carrier. In April members of Branch 78 will make a trip to Washington to speak to leaders of Congress. The delegation does this on their own dime to inform our congressional representative on how letter carriers view current Postal regulation and which bills we support. You can help out by picking up a pen now and writing your Congressional representative and inform them of the branch delegations pending trip and your support of the agenda they present.

Recently, I represented the branch in several special inspections. It amazed me how little the managers at these stations knew about the contract and proper mail handling procedures. In one of the offices the clerks just piled up parcels at cases and the middle of the floor creating a safety hazard. One of the carriers involved in the inspection cased off the clock for 20 minutes. When the inspection team approached the supervisor about the matter he confirmed that she did it all the time and he hasn’t bothered to address it. I was shocked at how uninvolved and misinformed these managers were in their daily operations. In another office CCA’s were scared to fill out LLV repair tags. When I asked why they told me that management would require them to either take the LLV’s (even if locks or turn signals were not working properly) or drive their own personal vehicle. These new employees could not believe that management had misled them to think they were required to use their own personnel vehicle or worse yet take out an unsafe LLV. One of the CCA’s quit the very next day stating they could not work for management that put their lives at risk or tricked them into using their own vehicle. As a result when I go out to stations I’m asking our veteran carriers to watch out for our younger carriers and keep them from being taken advantage of by management. This is what unionism is about.

Last I would like to clear up a misconception about the union that many of our members have related to me while I have been out visiting offices. We are here to represent all letter carriers and enforce the contract. We have a job to do and our legally bound to represent all carriers to the best of our abilities. Management in cases of discipline has the burden of proof and it is often a failure by management in the discipline cases that allows these employees to continue to get away with behavior that is less than appropriate. Remember this failure is that of management’s and the individual carrier and not that of the union. We are here to represent all carriers good, bad, right or wrong and even though we a extremely successful in this representation we do not relish in defeating management in cases in which the craft employee was clearly and knowingly in the wrong and it effects other employees. However one of the most important things and principals of union’s is that the employee’s we represent have due process rights. These rights must not be violated regardless of the action of the employee. Each and every employee deserves and should get their day in court regardless of the employee’s alleged charges. Remember someday it may be your right’s the union is defending and wouldn’t you want the best defense possible. United we stand.